Having worked for three years at the level of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at what now is called the National Military Joint Intelligence Center (NMJIC), I can tell you with near certainty that in early January (and arguably in December), when the medical intelligence analysts sent out their warnings, the commanders of the Unified and Specified Commands worldwide (under the Secretary of Defense) got the message and pulled out their contingency plans for facing a pandemic. These commanders cannot afford to wait because the military forces must be protected. Anything less is dereliction of duty. This quiet planning would have taken place irrespective of the actions at the White House.
The National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) is directly charged with providing intelligence on biological threats such as COVID-19, and certainly would have distributed indications of a pandemic to the military and also to civilian agencies such as Health and Human Services, the Office of the Surgeon General, Treasury Department, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and State Department, all of which would have received this information (certainly highly classified) and would have started contingency planning quietly.
Any department requiring information about pandemics would have routine distribution of intelligence reports on topics affecting their agencies. All these agencies would annually review their needs for intelligence information, usually by creating a subject matter list and keywords such as virus, pandemic, infection, disease, etc. Reporting that contained these keywords or topics would automatically be distributed to the requesting agencies through proper, secure channels into special offices created to receive such information. That could be just the office of the individual agency head or a larger research organization such as the Bureau of Intelligence and Research office within the State Department.
Similarly, all 24-hour watch centers would receive information on a possible pandemic. Such watch centers include the White House, the NSC, the FBI, the CIA, NSA, Army, Navy, Air Force, etc. Their China/Asia desks would have been set to collect information on biological threats of any sort. Highly classified morning summaries from various intelligence reports received during the night would be placed on the desks of senior managers daily in dozens of agencies and offices throughout the government. Daily threat summaries are sent throughout the world by various intelligence agencies. I wrote and edited hundreds of these summaries while in the Office of Counter-Terrorism at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Moreover, the daily morning briefings to the Joint Chiefs of Staff by DIA, to which I contributed on dozens of occasions, would have highlighted a pandemic threat even in its earliest stages.
Any problems in the chain of dissemination or action would have stemmed from improper planning, lack of planning, or suppression of planning, by political hacks in positions of authority at the highest levels of these agencies. Excerpt: “Various intelligence agencies had been including information about the coronavirus in briefing materials since early January, according to the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to confirm details about the alert.” This quote, from an article in the Star Advertiser, serves as confirmation to me that U.S. intelligence had knowledge of the virus breakout most likely in December, at which time they would have begun preparations of assessments for the National Command Authority.
The above points to a massive failure at the White House to take early action to combat what is now called the COVID-19 threat. We know who hit that OK button.
[Note: I have purposely avoided discussion here of the origins of COVID -19 be it from a “wet market” in Wuhan vs a deliberate or accidental escape from a nearby biologic laboratory as some have begun to argue. In either case, the threat to the U.S. public, and our reaction to it, would have been essentially the same.]