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Posts Tagged ECBC
Soldiers stay lethal in any environment
ECBC Public Affairs
Choking, watering eyes, blistering skin and convulsions are symptoms of imminent death from a chemical weapons attack. The lethality of such attacks, most recently in August 2013 in Syria, sends tremors across the globe.
For Soldiers, chemical weapons present a real danger on the battlefield that requires advanced technology to keep them safe. The Army is investing in science and technology to enable Soldiers to operate in a chemical-biological threat environment.
Scientists and researchers at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center work to provide better protective equipment, such as the iconic protective mask. As threats evolve, ECBC engineers fielded the next-generation M50 mask to Soldiers stationed in Japan and Korea. The Army is fielding more than 1 million of these masks across the Department of Defense.
“I noticed the difference between the M50 and the old M40 mask as soon as I put it on,” said Sgt. James Tuthill, a training noncommissioned officer stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. “I train Marines to be prepared for chemical, biological and radiological hot zones, and this mask provides them with better visibility, easier breathing and greater comfort wearing it. On top of all that, it just looks cool.”
An Inflection Point in History
Bodies wrapped in white shrouds line the floor of an unknown location in Syria. Shirtless men convulsing and foaming at the mouth have eyes that are open yet unresponsive. A five-year-old boy lay limp in the arms of an older man. It is unclear whether the child is still breathing. The bodies of other children dressed in brightly colored clothing lay lifeless on a white-tiled floor. These were some of the startling images and videos that surfaced in the wake of a chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug. 21, 2013, killing more than 1,400 people. The event marked an inflection point in global history.
The tremor of this significant tragedy was felt around the world, changing the geopolitical terrain and challenging the connectedness of international relationships. The international community responded with a momentous decision to directly address the chemical weapons attack and the United States offered to work with others like the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations to eliminate the threat from occurring again.
ECBC Innovates in a New Era of Chem-Bio Defense
With an Army known for traditional “boots on the ground” defense, the Department of Defense pivoted its strategy to include a more agile, flexible approach to solve a pressing problem. It called on the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and other organizations located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., for inter-disciplinary teamwork that could solve the right problem through corrective framing: a new chemical weapons disposal capability.
“There was a recognition that something was going to happen in Syria, in all likelihood that would require us to do something with those chemical materials that were known to be there,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics during a DoD media event on Jan. 2.
ECBC has specialized expertise in chemical demilitarization and field operations. It’s Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction Business Unit is comprised of 200 highly trained and experienced scientists, technicians and operators that have been safely conducting chemical demilitarization missions for decades in an environmentally responsible manner, including the successful destruction of chemical agent stockpiles at U.S. site locations and countries around the world.
Critical mission inspire teamwork, collaboration
For nearly 100 years, the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has served the warfighter with latest protection, detection and decontamination technology and equipment. The evolution of the center, from developing the nation’s first protective mask to producing the technology set to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile in the coming months, has enabled ECBC to become the premier resource for research, engineering and operations solutions.
In December 2013, ECBC put the future first by investing in applied science proposals through its 219 Innovative Project Program. The program provides a platform for ideas that generates increased business from external customers and create a transition to the warfighter. In fiscal year 2013, the ECBC workforce submitted 34 proposals, nine of which were funded for the first Innovative Project Program.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – An exchange program participant has expanded the relationships between the U.S. and Chilean scientists and engineers.
Jasmine Serlemitsos, a U.S. Army environmental engineer, said her goal was to strengthen the countries’ connections in science and technology. At the Chilean Army’s Institute of Research and Control, or IDIC, she worked in surveillance for the safe storage of ammunition.
“I focused my goals primarily on building relations between the people in the U.S. who did work in the ammunition side and learning how to do international agreements. [The Chileans] seemed very receptive to that,” said Serlemitsos, who served in Chile from September 2012 to July 2013 as part of the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Scientists began noticing a drastic decline of bee colonies with no known cause in 2007. Many studies said that this decline of bees may put the country at risk of a food disaster. What few likely know is that a team of scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center utilized its own software to detect that a combination of both a virus and a fungi was the likely culprit.
Scientists with ECBC’s Research & Technology Directorate’s Point Detection Branch continue to enhance and expand this novel software suite of bioinformatics algorithms, which is capable of identifying biological microbes in various backgrounds without any prior knowledge of the sample. Utilizing data from a mass spectrometry-based proteomics system, the team can run any tandem mass spectral data through the software to provide statistical validation of its identity.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Oct. 10, 2013) — A group of Polish scientists traveled to U.S. Army research centers Oct. 2-3 to learn about America’s expertise in robotics and explore potential partnerships.
The delegation, led by retired Col. Jozef Wrona, of 15 scientists from Polish academia and industry will advise their government on advancing the country’s robotics program.
Dale A. Ormond, director of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, discussed his organization’s global footprint and emphasized reaching into the international scientific community for technological solutions.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 26, 2013) — There was a time when the thought of manufacturing organs in the laboratory was science fiction, but now that science is a reality.
Army Scientists at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and academia collaborators have been conducting research of “organs” on microchips. ECBC is one of a few laboratories in the world conducting this research effort, but what sets ECBC apart is that its research will directly impact the warfighter.
The center houses the only laboratories in the United States that the Chemical Weapons Convention permits to produce chemical warfare agent for testing purposes. ECBC will test the human-on-a-chip against chemical warfare agent to learn more about how the body will respond to agent exposure and explore various treatment options for exposures.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 20, 2013) — Spending two years immersed in the Australian defense science and technology community provided new perspectives for a U.S. Army engineer.
Steve Carrig said his work with the Australian military allowed tremendous access to end users — Soldiers — because of the country’s smaller size.
“Having the chance to work with Soldiers on a more routine basis gives you a sense of who you’re working for,” said Carrig, who participated in the Army’s Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program from July 2011 to June 2013 at the Defense Science and Technology Office. “Having spent two years in a more closely knit environment really drove it home.
“That’s something that I won’t forget. Even if I’m sitting here in an office every day, managing things from afar, it reminds me that’s what I’m doing.”
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Sept. 9, 2013) — The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Forensic Analytical Center continues to be a pioneer in the area of forensic analysis for monitoring the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as analysis of samples associated with possible terrorist attacks or breaches of security.
The Treaty Laboratory at ECBC received an “A” grade in the latest international proficiency test (33rd OPCW IPT). Of the 12 labs worldwide that participated in the test, only two received an “A,” and two laboratories received a “B,” the minimum grade required for a laboratory to maintain their status as a designated laboratory.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an independent organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands, administers the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Aug. 7, 2013) — The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center welcomed cadets from the United States Military Academy at West Point this summer to work on chemical and biological defense projects.
The cadets were taking part in the Academy’s Advanced Individual Academic Development program which provides cadets with an opportunity to observe and implement concepts from their course work over several weeks during the summer months.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Aspiring scientists and engineers are now exploring their future careers at a unified APG facility dedicated to education outreach.
APG ushered in a new era of partnerships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for northeast Maryland with a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 30.
The APG STEM and Education Outreach Center brings tenant organizations together to pool resources that will enhance students’ experiences in scientific and engineering disciplines. The facility accommodates up to 200 students.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Local students, military veterans and APG community members inspected and explored the Army’s latest advancements in protective masks, body armor, ballistics protection and renewable energy at Armed Forces Day May 15.
Scientists and engineers of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command displayed their work to unburden, empower and protect Soldiers at the APG-North Recreation Center.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 5, 2013) — Phil Rice tests and replaces critical filter systems at chemical laboratories at the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s chemical and biological center.
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has adopted new protective equipment for onsite filter maintenance: cut-resistant safety gloves, which dramatically decrease the number of hand injuries.
Rice, a chemical engineering technician, dresses in personnel protective equipment, or PPE, to carry out his important mission. The impermeable Tyvek coveralls, nitrile and butyl glove, tap boots, and the M40 masks are common items to protect against highly toxic chemical contamination threats; however, this type of PPE does not protect against physical hazards, such as the sharp metal edges around the filter units.
“The sharp edges of the stainless steel filters would cut right through a brand new pair of standard butyl gloves that we were using,” Rice said. “The Applications Integration Branch was looking for ways to avoid hand-cutting accidents and decided to have a trial run with the Kevlar gloves.”
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — U.S. Army science advisors are embedded with major units around the world to speed technology solutions to Soldiers’ needs.
The Field Assistance in Science and Technology program’s 30 science advisors, both uniformed officers and Army civilians, provide a link between Soldiers and the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s thousands of subject matter experts.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A portal, a duel and a kraken that springs to life. No, it’s not the latest science fiction movie. It’s an advanced technology demonstration that’s just getting started.
The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense is working with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center to introduce a new advanced technology demonstration- the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition, known as JUPITR.
The goal of the four-year program is to develop unique biological detection capabilities that will address the demand for stronger biosurveillance capabilities in the Korean Peninsula.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Maryland students will soon have a unified APG facility at which to explore the world of science and engineering with Army professionals.
The APG STEM Education and Outreach Center will be ready in late May, said Dr. Sandy Young, an Army Research Laboratory materials engineer. She is coordinating the project with ARL laboratory operations and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics outreach offices on APG.
Young said the SEOC will allow multiple APG tenant organizations to pool their resources to benefit students’ experiences in science and engineering. The facility will accommodate up to 200 students.
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Dale Ormond, director of RDECOM, stopped at Picatinny to deliver an important message. Click the link to find out what he had to say.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command presented contracting opportunities Dec. 5 as part of APG’s first installation-wide Advanced Planning Briefing for Industry, or APBI, conference.
Jill Smith, RDECOM acting deputy director, provided an overview of the command and discussed how the Army’s research and development community partners with industry during her opening remarks at the Post Theater.
“Across the command, we leverage industry for about 40 percent of applied research funding,” Smith said. “RDECOM partners with industry for about 60 percent of RDECOM’s advanced technology development budget because that process involves integration, and we want industry to be prepared if we proceed to production in quantity.”
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The year was 2008 and the on-going war in Iraq was a dangerous landscape for Soldiers on the ground, especially convoys traveling to and from base camps.
Roadside bombs and enemy ambushes were frequent occurrences for U.S. Armed Forces transporting fuel, a risk that may be reduced if camps are equipped with a Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery prototype.
“If you’re a forward-operating base, you don’t want a local contractor coming in to haul your garbage out because you don’t know if they’re good guys or bad guys,” said Dr. James Valdes, a senior technologist at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. “You also don’t want to be hauling fuel in because those convoys are targets and risk the lives of Soldiers and contractors.”
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A scene decimated by a suicide bomber or an improvised explosive device leaves little evidence of what life was like before its destruction. It does, however, leave traces of life in fingerprints that can be collected by weapons intelligence personnel and analyzed at forensic laboratories to identify the enemy behind the explosion.
“The Department of Defense has adopted battlefield forensics as a capability for future operations, primarily from the counter insurgency operations that have gone on in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Dr. Augustus W. Fountain III, a senior research scientist at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.
“When the Warfighter is confronted with an enemy that’s not wearing a uniform, they’re shadows that don’t follow the normal conventions of a Westphalian state army. So you have to be able to separate the sheep from the goats in that environment, and in many cases, forensics has been very instrumental in identifying a bad actor, or a person who has left significant evidence that builds up into a case file and then gets turn over to local authorities for prosecution.”