“You build a fire department ahead of time. You don’t wait for a fire,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “There is an underappreciation for the amount of time and resources required to build a prepared system.”…

The global health security team continued to operate during Trump’s first year in office, before John Bolton dismantled the unit when he took over as national security adviser in 2018. That led to the abrupt departure of its leader, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, who had led the White House’s anti-malaria efforts under Obama and President George W. Bush. Ziemer is the senior deputy assistant administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at USAID…

“It was a clear loss, and now we are behind the ball,” said a former White House official familiar with Ziemer’s team, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. “They had the contacts and the relationships and knew who to talk to. Now they are trying to re-create a lot of those relationships and knowledge within the executive branch.”