CBRNe News February 2010
In further Anthrax treatment news – following last month’s $143 million award to Elusys – Pharmathene announced that they have received $78 million from DHHS for their SparVAx – which is to work before and after exposure. With Emergent BioSolutions, Elusys and Pharmathene all chasing anthrax, and being well funded to do so, the question has to be asked how big a threat is it?
Cristanini launched their new Large Scale Decon Solution, or Large Scale DDMAS system – an integrated family of systems. They feel that it is the most advanced solution for tactical transportability and logistic advantages. Sadly we have no opinion as the FTP site the file was residing in no longer retains it...
I for Improved
Chempro 100i was launched by Environics, boasting an improved number of chemicals detected thanks to an additional six sensors. They now include pressure, flow, FE and MOS-1/2/3, which means, with their expanded TICs library, they can detect things like ammonia and chlorine. Also for the
I’ve been a wild rover for many a year...
Qinetiq North America and Brewer Science and Applied Systems Intelligence are collaborating on an autonomous, self-deploying sensor for that would be a roving bio detector. Work on the program is being undertaken at Jordan Valley Innovation Centre and is funded by the US Army Research Office as part of the DoD requirement for a tactical CB defence and intelligent network.
Because you’re worth it...
CBI Polymers have won a DOE award for their beryllium decon gel. The gel ‘mitigates and abates’ hazardous chemicals and toxins, the testing of decon gel found that their it reduced labour costs by 70% when applied to beryllium and also minimised the amount of waste.
Bioprepwatch stated that a ‘Mushroom Researcher,’ had found that mycelium, the ‘fruit’ of the mushroom that breaks down the debris - animal and plant – might also work on industrial toxins and some bio agents. The mycelium works on the hydrocarbons, one of the bases for many pollutants and TICs.
First bees, now cockroaches... what about moths or spiders?
Texas A&M researchers have found the answer to the question that has been plaguing all of us – how do you do radiation survey in an area that is too hot for human life. Remote control cockroaches. Yes, all you people that said UGVs - and so WRONG - it’s cockroaches. Attaching three different radiation sensors and a communication device allows them to send their reports back up to a kilometre away. Just when I thought that I couldn’t get any angrier about bees another insect comes along...
DHS has selected the
A new little Gobain
Saint-Gobain, manufacturer of the impermeable One Suit has expanded their product development team with a new engineer – Ray Hirschey. This comes at a time when Saint Gobain is looking to expand in the US, and is also looking at new markets in Asia and Europe – such as opening a new Support and Repair centre in Japan.
The Philippine Star alleged that Communist rebels in the Sumisip town had been targeting government soldiers with landmines filled with biological weapons. Apparently ten soldiers were wounded when the landmine went off, they then reported high fevers and were hospitalised. The chances of this being what we would consider to be a BWA is slim to none, yet the possibility of there being ball-bearings, nails etc, that have been soaked in some form of effluent is good. Does this count as a bio attack? If you are attack by indigenous people with poisoned arrows is that a chemical attack?
Iranian would-be chemical terrorists executed
The US Quadrennial Defence Review was launched - http://www.defense.gov/QDR/images/QDR_as_of_12Feb10_1000.pdf - and retained a high degree of CBRN focus. The most pressing change is the re-organisation of the CCMRFs, the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, these large organisations that were to deal with 10kt nuclear attacks will now be ‘re-jiggered’ (that’s a technical term), so that there is one CCMRF and the National Guard will now form ten HRFs (Homeland Response Force) within the FEMA regions, in addition to their CST role.
In addition to this the QDR has enshrined: the establishment of a Joint Task force Elimination HQ, to better plan, train and execute WMD elimination; to research countermeasures and defence against non-traditional chemical agents; to enhance nuclear forensics; secure nuclear materials; expand the biological threat reduction program; to develop new verification technology to ensure foreign State compliance. The whole CCMRF/HRF thing will, no doubt, take a while to bed down, and it is interesting to ask whether the publication of Mirzayanov’s State Secrets had an impact on the QDR – would novichoks have been there without him?
20th SUPCOM exercise NDTs.
20th Support Command sent their Nuclear Disablement Teams to
To be sure, to be sure...
LA gets technical
National Public Radio announced that the LA Sheriff’s Department had launched a new $3 million vessel to detect ‘chemical and biological’ weapons. The boat is staffed by explosive experts to screen the vessel before it enters the port, it is accompanied by a helicopter to scan for radiological material and the sonar examines under the ship for any underwater threats. Meanwhile CBS announced that not only did the ship have cutting edge detectors but also... wait for it... a dog that ‘could detect chemical and biological weapons!’ Yowza! Presumably it has been trained to pick up some chemical agents and the rest it does purely on morbidity (the dog it was that died...).
I rest my case... Sorry I thought that was just a figure of speech... Case closed (Lionel Hutz)
The FBI formally closed the case on the Amerithrax case and released a huge body of investigative work – to some consternation. The FBI findings and supporting documents come in a ninety and two thousand five hundred page versions, and represent a large body of scientific and investigative work – more information on http://www.justice.gov/amerithrax/ . It is unlikely to please those that are determined that Dr Ivins was not guilty – but without a day in court (and even with that) they are unlikely to have been content anyway.
A mark of that discontent came with a request from Representatives, from
In a delightful show of ignorance Global Security Newswire – usually a solid source of information - brought the devastating news that
Damned with the faintest of praise
UK Fire and Rescue Service launch operational guidelines.
Bob Hark of Dorset Fire and Rescue announced at the NCEC Hazmat event in
It is to offer operational, tactical and technical advice, but sees the two disciplines being closely linked. Ron Dobson, the UK Fire lead on CBRN, has said that he wanted to see a coming together of fire and hazmat and Bob Hark agrees, stating that ‘A CBRN incident is a hazmat incident.’ The Guidelines will offer technical guidelines for PPE and decon, for example, but only be advice - the various forces do not have to follow them. If, however, they choose not to then they would have to follow their own internal processes - which would most likely be legally tested by the Health and Safety Executive in a court of law, and examined as to why they did not follow the approved guidelines.
It is too early to offer definitive opinions on this, but it does seem worrying at the moment, there is little oversight of military learning, little to no agent fate work, a generic risk assessment for bio, and all of the guidelines have to be evidenced by the UK Fire Service College - so it sounds worrying. Interested individuals, and those that would either like a review copy, or to make comment, should contact Bob Hark at Dorset Fire.