2002 Safety, Security and International Affairs

Dennis Baca

Developed internationally-recognized procedures to protect postal workers and customers in the aftermath of the October 2001 anthrax attacks.

Last year’s anthrax attacks spurred Dennis Baca, a manager of Environmental Management Policy for the US Postal Service, into responsive action. His work ensured such a successful response to the crisis that it has since become a model for the postal systems of over 150 nations.

In the immediate aftermath of the anthrax attacks, Baca assembled a task force within six hours of being alerted. The response focused on the skills necessary to protect postal employees, customers and the communities served. His exemplary leadership and keen sense of mission have been credited as the driving impetus that resulted in a comprehensive solution at a very uncertain time.

Notable in his approach was an ability to work closely with various organizations—including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and the Departments of Defense, Justice and State—to establish a framework of protocols and procedures that were used in addressing the situation.

Baca’s accomplishment in addressing this deadly dilemma has gained international recognition. He was called upon to share his finding with the member nations of the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (PUASP). This, in turn was submitted to the Universal Postal Union, an arm of the United Nations.

The outcome was a presentation by Baca to the Postal Security Action Group, whose primary responsibility is the safety and security of the mail systems worldwide. He has also provided guidance to several individual foreign postal administrators, including those of Germany, Switzerland, Japan and the UK. The information provided became the basis not only for the discussion of biological threats but for those of a chemical and radiological nature as well.

Baca’s excellence in service did not end with his response to the anthrax crisis. Instead, his innovative approach is continuing to change the internal culture of the organization, establishing an environmental ethic and promoting the concepts of sustainable development.