Pandemic Countermeasure Manufacturing, AJAX Chemical Detectors

Topics in this issue include U.S. investments in a new nuclear delivery system, high-speed manufacturing for pandemic preparedness, and modifications at Blue Grass Army Depot.

Obama Backs Biggest Nuclear Arms Buildup Since Cold War

There is one facet of national security — arguably the most important one — where President Obama is turning out to be a real hardliner.  That area is nuclear weapons.  Obama has backed investment in new nuclear delivery systems, upgraded warheads, resilient command networks, and industrial sites for fabricating nuclear hardware that, when added to the expense of maintaining the existing arsenal, will cost $348 billion between 2015 and 2024. Forbes >>

Chemical and Biological Defense SBIR 2016

The Department of Defense has announced topics for Fiscal Year 2016 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding in support of the Chemical and Biological Defense (CBD) Program, including: Dual-Purpose Biocidal and Chemical Warfare Agent/Reactive Textile Finish; Chemical and Biological Aerosol and Liquid Repellent Coatings; and Smartphone Application for CBRN Mask Sizing and Projecting Quantitative Fit. Global Biodefense >>

$700 Million Mine-Hunting Drone Can’t Find Explosives

The Remote Minehunting System (RMS), which the U.S. Navy invested nearly $700 million and 16 years in developing, can’t complete its most basic functions according to the Pentagon’s weapon-testing office. CNN >>

U.S. Backs High-Speed Manufacturing of Masks for Pandemics

Halyard Health Inc., formerly Kimberly-Clark Health Care, has been awarded a contract by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of HHS/ASPR, to develop a one-of-a-kind, high-speed machine for rapid manufacture of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFRs). Global Biodefense >>

Tony Blair: ‘Gaddafi Deal Prevented Isis Getting Chemical Weapons’

Tony Blair has defended his so-called “deal in the desert” with Muammar Gaddafi in 2004, saying his decision to bring the Libyan dictator in from the cold may have prevented chemical weapons falling into the hands of Islamic State. The Guardian >>

Mighty Ajax

Smiths Detection has been awarded a contract worth almost GBP6 million from General Dynamics UK to supply chemical agent detectors for the next generation UK military reconnaissance vehicle called AJAX . Production of up to 589 vehicles is planned under the UK MOD programme, with deliveries scheduled to start in 2017. CBRNe World >>

How US Shootings Have Informed Global Police Responses to Mass Casualty Events

As police forces around the world steel themselves for more mass-casualty attacks like the assaults on Beirut, Paris and Bamako, they are turning to the experience gleaned from dozens of school shootings in the United States which have upended tactical thinking over the past 15 years and dramatically raised the stakes for rank-and-file patrol officers who first arrive on the scene. The Guardian >>

With Its Focus on Air Travel, U.S. Leaves Trains Vulnerable to Attack, Experts Say

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to protect transportation systems, mostly at airports. But security experts say the overwhelming focus on aviation leaves security gaps in other modes of transportation. NY Times >>

Navy to Spend $4M on Tossable, Versatile Robots

During the bloody battle for Fallujah in 2004, Marines took heavy casualties clearing the Iraqi city house by house, room by room, never knowing where a deadly ambush might be waiting. Now there’s a small robot capable of reducing that risk. The key advance is durability: It can be tossed from behind cover, around corners, through windows and up onto balconies and still send real-time images. Stars & Stripes >>

Vote at Atomic Agency Officially Ends Inquiry Into Iran’s Nuclear Past

The nations controlling the world’s nuclear inspection agency voted on Tuesday to close its decade-long investigation into the work it suspected Iran of conducting to design a nuclear weapon, and instead to move ahead with fulfilling the deal signed in July to limit Iran’s production of atomic material for at least 15 years. NY Times >>

Milrem to Exhibit Their Unmanned Ground Vehicle at Robotex

The UGV can carry a payload of 500 kg, making it possible to use the UGV as a weapons platform, a base platform for surveillance devices, a transport platform for the injured or several other such applications. CBRNe World >>

North Korean Leader Kim’s H-Bomb Claim Draws Skepticism

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday appeared to say his country has developed a hydrogen bomb, a step up from the less powerful atomic bomb, but the United States and outside experts were skeptical. Reuters >>

Los Angeles and New York Differ in Their Responses to a Terrorism Threat

The nation’s two largest school systems confronted threats of a terrorist attack on Tuesday and reacted in sharply different ways: New York City reviewed the warning and dismissed it as a hoax, but officials in LA abruptly shut down all public schools, upending the lives of parents, students and teachers. NY Times >>

Give Atomic Regulator Legal Teeth: IAEA

In a report after an IAEA team recently visited India to review the country’s regulatory framework for nuclear safety, the agency recommended that the AERB review the implementation of its policies and existing arrangements to ensure its independence as a regulator. Business Standard >>

Chemical Weapons Proposals to Be Addressed in Madison County Public Hearing

The public meeting will provide information and an opportunity to comment on planned activities at the Blue Grass Army Depot for facility modifications to addresses the destruction of hydrogen cyanide. Another proposed change would remove the so-called “washout process” from the plant. A third request seeks regulatory approval to move and sample mustard munitions using personnel and equipment from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. Lexington Herald-Leader >>

Sheriff Lands 42-Foot Boat to Help with Port Tampa Protection

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has a big new boat but it’s just the right size, officials say, for the big jobs ahead — including protection for the growing Port Tampa Bay. The new 42-foot vessel, the biggest in the sheriff’s fleet, was designed and built by Largo-based Intrepid Powerboats Inc. and purchased — at a cost of some $700,000 — with grants to the port by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Tampa Tribune >>

Close Encounters of the Drone Kind: Near-Collisions with UAVs Increasing

Close encounters of the drone kind are becoming more frequent according to a Bard College study that uncovered some 90 “incidents” with commercial jets in the last two years alone, and hundreds more with other manned aircraft. The Guardian >>

Japanese Island, Used to Make Chemical Weapons During WWII, Now a Paradise for Rabbits

Hidden away in a once secret location in Japan, lies a dark, frightening place. Roaming the halls, you can almost sense its sinister past. During World War II, it was a laboratory, and the scientists were chemical weapons specialists — experts at human suffering. To get here, I took a ferry to a tiny island called Okunoshima, the perfect location for a secret operation. ABC 7 >>

The Wisdom of a Grand Nuclear Bargain with Pakistan

Speaking at an event held by the Atlantic Council, Carnegie’s Toby Dalton explained that nuclear dangers in South Asia are increasing, particularly as a result of advances in Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. He said that a nuclear deal may be one way to encourage Pakistan to constrain its nuclear developments in ways that reduce the chances of conflict, if Pakistan were willing to entertain such steps in return for opening a path to joining nuclear regimes. Carnegie >>

Kuwait Recce Vehicles Field Bruker Detectors

Bruker announced that it has delivered a major contract comprising Chemical and Radiological Detection Systems to Saab, Sweden. These Bruker detection systems form an integral part of the Saab Automatic Warning and Reporting (AWR) system that has been delivered to a client in Kuwait. The Saab AWR is a proprietary solution for the detection, identification, warning, monitoring and reporting of CBRN hazards. CBRNe World >>

Da’esh as a Hybrid Threat to European Security – the CBRNe Dimension

Only one week after the attacks in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “We must not rule anything out. I say it with all the precautions needed. But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons.” The statement was followed by news that chemical and biological protection suits had been stolen from a Paris children’s hospital, and warnings that water supplies in the French capital could be a target for future attacks. CBRNe Portal >>

Upcoming Events

Severe Nuclear Plant Accident Research

Research on Severe Accidents in Nuclear Power Plants

Camp Lejeune Firefighters Chemical Terrorism Drill

In Pictures: Shelter-In-Place During Chemical Emergency