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CBRNE Particles – Bioterrorism Clinical Symptoms, Syrian Chemical Facility Destruction

Topics in this issue include Syrian chemical facility destruction; clinical management of potential bioterrorism symptoms; and chem-bio protective gear.

Lack of Evidence-Based Terrorism Research Hobbles Counterterrorism Strategies

Would more experimental evaluations of anti-terrorism strategies help counterterrorism efforts? Scientists have used this methodology to identify interventions which effectively prevent problems including antisocial behavior, depression, schizophrenia, cigarette smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, academic failure, teenage pregnancy, marital discord, and poverty. Researchers studying terrorism could identify key risk factors, develop interventions to modify those risk factors, and test those interventions through randomized trials. HSNW >>

Outcry and Fear as Pakistan Builds New Nuclear Reactors in Dangerous Karachi

World leaders have fretted for years that terrorists may try to steal one of Pakistan’s nuclear bombs and detonate it in a foreign country. But some Karachi residents say the real nuclear nightmare is unfolding here in Pakistan’s largest and most volatile city. On the edge of Karachi, on an earthquake-prone seafront vulnerable to tsunamis and not far from where al-Qaeda militants nearly hijacked a Pakistan navy vessel last fall, China is constructing two large nuclear reactors for energy-starved Pakistan. Washington Post >>

Chemical and Biological Decontamination Tech Assessments

The U.S. Department of Defense is conducting a market survey to identify contractors that can provide technical evaluations and assessments for utility and efficacy of chemical and biological hazard mitigation and protection equipment and technologies. Global Biodefense >>

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb? With a Money Crunch

The Pentagon is unsure where it will find the money to upgrade its nukes, as costs are expected to double over the next 10 years — and not because such warheads are expected to play a bigger role in military strategy. U.S. nukes are getting old and need to be modernized if they’re going to stay safe and reliable in America’s arsenal. Foreign Policy >>

Readings on the Islamic State

A provocative and interesting article, Wood suggests that while much of what the Islamic State does makes no sense to a Western mind, their actions are, largely, sensible “in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.” Pandora Report >>

The Fiscal Threat to Nuclear Strategy

In the year since the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies estimated that the cost of modernizing the US nuclear arsenal could reach $1 trillion over 30 years, the budgetary problem has grown worse rather than better. As the military services gear up to rebuild nearly every aircraft, submarine, missile, and warhead in the arsenal, acute fiscal pressures are causing irresponsible behavior in Washington. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

DHS Offers 20K Prize for Ideas to Better Track First Responders

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is sponsoring an idea-generating InnoPrize Program competition to facilitate innovative solutions that can help track first responders while they are inside of a structure without having to set up towers or other devices. Global Biodefense >>

Terrorists Shift Focus of Attacks from Air Transportation to Rail Systems

Terrorists have shifted their focus in recent years away from attacking airlines to attacking subway and rail systems, according to an analysis of terrorist attacks over a 30-year period from 1982 to 2011. The author of the new study notes that in a previous analysis, for the period 1968 to 10 September 2001, he concluded that air travel within the United States entailed a greater risk of a terrorist attack than “virtually any other activity.” Statistically significant evidence, however, points to a growing focus of terrorist attacks against ground mass transit. HSNW >>

OSU Nuclear Forensics Program to Help Fight Terrorism

Oregon State University is helping to bolster U.S. anti-terrorism and nuclear security efforts through a new graduate student training initiative in nuclear forensics. A new option in an existing degree program will train the next generation of nuclear forensics professionals, giving them the technical expertise needed to identify pre- or post-detonation nuclear and radiological materials, and determine how and where they were created. KTVZ Oregon >>

Netanyahu Warns That Nuclear Deal ‘Paves Iran’s Path’ to a Bomb

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forcefully argued against a nuclear deal with Iran, telling a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday that such an agreement would have the opposite effect of what the international community intends because it would effectively supply Iran with the means to produce a nuclear weapon. Washington Post >>

25 Teams in Finals for DARPA’s High-Risk Robotics Challenge

The field is set for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotics Challenge, which has now grown to 25 teams from seven countries in what has become perhaps the most anticipated robotics competition ever. Although the focus from the start has been on developing robots that could respond to areas too dangerous for humans—inspired by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in Japan—an underlying goal also is to improve the state-of-the-art in robotics. Defense Systems >>

Navy Awards Contract to Battelle for Chem-Bio Protective Clothing Efforts

The Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) this week announced intentions to award a sole-source contract to Battelle Memorial Institute for research and development services in the area of protective clothing and equipment. Global Biodefense >>

Clinical Management of Potential Bioterrorism-Related Conditions

A review highlighting clinically useful issues related to CDC category A pathogens. Because most of these conditions can occur naturally, suspicion for bioterrorism depends on clinicians being alert to unusual patterns, such as unexplained clusters of infection. NEJM >>

29M DHS IT Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Task Order Awarded

A Task Order 2A under Phase 1 of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Program worth $29 million to integrate tools, sensors and Continuous Monitoring as a Service (CMaaS) capabilities has been awarded to Knowledge Consulting Group, a privately held US cybersecurity services firm. HS Today >>

Buckybomb Shows Potential Power of Nanoscale Explosives

Scientists have simulated the explosion of a modified buckminsterfullerene molecule (C60), better known as a buckyball, and shown that the reaction produces a tremendous increase in temperature and pressure within a fraction of a second. The nanoscale explosive, which the scientists nickname a “buckybomb,” belongs to the emerging field of high-energy nanomaterials that could have a variety of military and industrial applications. Phys.Org >>

Two of 12 Syrian Chemical Weapons Facilities Destroyed: Watchdog

The global chemical weapons watchdog said in a new report that it has destroyed two Syrian chemical weapons facilities and expects the destruction of all 12 facilities to be completed this summer. Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that he expects the five underground facilities to be destroyed before June 30, and the destruction of seven aircraft hangars where deadly chemicals were also made “to be fully completed shortly thereafter.” CTV News >>

Smiths Detection Now Manufacturing RadSeeker in Edgewood

Smiths Detection Inc. today announced the successful transfer of RadSeeker manufacturing from Danbury, CT, to its U.S. headquarters in Edgewood, Md. The move is part of the company’s strategy to integrate its core technologies and centrally grow its product and engineering expertise. Global Biodefense >>

Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress: A Wedge Between Two Allies

In a controversial joint session of Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently argued against the pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu strongly laid out how this deal would be bad for the international community, as this agreement would give Iran the impetus to produce a nuclear weapon. In Homeland Security >>

Crisis Looms for Central Maine Volunteer Fire Departments

Across Maine, a dramatic decline in the number of volunteer firefighters, particularly young ones, threatens the ability of small departments to provide essential public service. And while the number of on-call firefighters is decreasing, the demand for fire and rescue services is increasing. Two or three decades ago, there were waiting lists for the volunteer roster. Emergency Management >>

Russia Orders Surprise Test of Central Nuclear Base

The Russian armed forces’ strategic missile command (RVSN) have ordered a snap inspection of the state of the nuclear arsenal in one of the country’s central military bases near the city of Yoshkar-Ola. The surprise test, announced today by RVSN, will assess the condition of the intercontinental ballistic and nuclear missile units, as well as test the readiness of the nuclear facilities near Yoshkar-Ola in hypothetical emergency situations. Newsweek >>

NATO, EUMS to Structure CBRN Reach-Back Together

NATO’s centre of excellence in the Czech Republic will soon structure its information exchanges and other activities on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) reach-back with the EU Military Staff for the first time. It also plans to complete its CBRN reach-back capability for allied commands by the end of 2015. Both developments will be steered by the NATO-affiliated Joint CBRN Centre of Excellence in Vyskov. Janes 360 >>

New Handheld Analyzer Combines FTIR and Raman for Military Explosives and Hazmat Responders

Military personnel, bomb technicians, hazmat teams and first responders tasked with identifying unknown chemicals and explosives in the field can now employ a new portable analyzer combining both FTIR and Raman spectroscopy in a single handheld instrument for a faster response. CBRNe World >>

‘Heroic’ Giant Rats Sniff Out Landmines in Tanzania

Watched over by men and women clutching bananas and the small clickers used to train puppies, dozens of African giant pouched rats shuttle across taped-off alleyways trying to catch the lingering scent of TNT from some of the 1,500 deactivated landmines that have been sown in the red earth. The Guardian >>

Disasters Have Same Human Impact as Tuberculosis: U.N.

Deaths, economic damage and other negative impacts from disasters have caused losses equivalent to 42 million life years annually since 1980, a measure that is comparable to the burden of tuberculosis worldwide, the United Nations said. Reuters >>

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