This publication provides instructions to law enforcement agencies requesting a mail cover as part of a criminal investigation. All conditions and procedures contained in these instructions must be met before a mail cover can be authorized.
On May 5-6, 2012, the Minneapolis-St. Paul area conducted a major test of the National Postal Model for distribution of medicine to the public in an emergency, using U.S. Postal Service assets to supplement mass dispensing sites and other strategies. The May exercise, known as Operation Medicine Delivery, was the culmination of planning efforts that began in February 2004, with a memorandum of agreement signed by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and the Postmaster General. Parties to the 2004 MOA agreed to make USPS resources available for distributing emergency medicine in response to a bioterrorist attack. A subsequent presidential executive order (December 2009) called for the development of a federal capability to distribute medical countermeasures (MCM) in response to a bioterrorist attack.
National Postal Model for the Delivery of Medical Countermeasures developed following Executive Order 13527 “Establishing Federal Capability for the Timely Provision of Medical Countermeasures Following a Biological Attack”.
Terrorists remain interested in exploiting postal and commercial shipping companies to conduct or support attacks in the United States. Publicity surrounding the more than 40,000 incidents involving unknown or suspicious substances related to the U.S. Mail since 2001 likely reinforces violent extremists’ belief that the postal sector is a useful mechanism for conducting an attack, as it demonstrates that mail containing potentially harmful substances can be delivered without arousing suspicion or being discovered until the recipient opens the letter or package.
The Postal and Shipping Sector receives, processes, transports, and distributes billions of letters and parcels annually. It consists of both private and public components. The Postal and Shipping Sector is mainly composed of four large integrated carriers. These carriers, operating 93% of the sector’s assets, systems, networks, and functions, are the United States Postal Service (USPS), United Parcel Service of America, Inc. (UPS), Federal Express (FedEx), and DHL International (DHL).