CBRNE Particles – Trace Detection, Veterans Exposed to Chemicals, NuThrax Vaccine

Topics in this issue include explosive trace detection technologies; veterans exposed to chemical agents; CBRNE Leaders Course; NuThrax vaccine and more.

Advances in Explosive Trace Detection Technology

Current intelligence processes and security measures have halted most terrorist bomb attacks on the aviation industry before they progress to anywhere near execution, with some obvious exceptions. This prompts the question, “How are terrorists such as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 ‘underwear bomber,’ able to move explosives through airport security screening undetected?” HDIAC >>

Trainers in Iraq Focus on IED Detection

US forces in Iraq are training Iraqi troops to perform complex combined arms maneuvers involving armor, air and artillery support along with critical IED detection techniques, a senior enlisted soldier just back from Iraq says. Defense News >>

Biosecurity: DHS Seeks RFID Tracking of Select Agents

DHS is seeking proposals to develop, integrate and implement a standardized Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-capable, user-friendly, inventory tracking system that ensures the safety of Select Agents within select public health laboratory facilities nationwide. Global Biodefense >>

First Radioactive Waste Removed from Magnox Storage Pond

Constructed in the 1950s to store, cool and prepare used Magnox nuclear fuel for recycling into new fuel, the FGMSP “urgently” needs to be emptied of 1500 cubic metres of radioactive sludge lying at the bottom of the pond which is equivalent to more than half an Olympic sized swimming pool. The FGMSP is “one of the most hazardous nuclear plants in Europe”. World Nuclear News >>

Pakistan Wants Short-Range Nuclear Weapons

Pakistan needs short-range “tactical” nuclear weapons to deter arch-rival India, a top adviser to its government said Monday, dismissing concerns it could increase the risk of a nuclear war. Pakistan’s development of smaller warheads built for use on battlefields, in addition to longer-range weapons, has increased international concerns that they could get into rogue hands because of the pervasive threat of Islamic militants in the country. CBS News >>

Sharing Data to Improve Disaster Response and Recovery Programs

Panelists from the White House’s Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative, Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the MITRE Corporation, Center for Organizational Excellence, Office of Personnel Management, and GAO discuss 4 ways in which sharing data could improve disaster response and recovery. GAO WatchBlog >>

The Dangerous Disregard of Nuclear Experts for One Another

On one hand, as the United States telegraphs its commitment to modernize its nuclear weapons and retain them as instruments of statecraft, it is clear that US national security elites, together with their cousins in Moscow, London, Paris, and Beijing, have an outlook that makes it impossible for them to imagine a world without nuclear weapons. Thus, the impetus for a nuclear weapons ban today comes from nongovernmental organizations and European and developing-country diplomats.  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Syrian President Assad Denies Using Chemical Weapons in CBS Interview

In a rare one-on-one interview with CBS News, Syrian President Bashar Assad denied reports that his regime has been using chlorine gas in barrel bomb attacks against civilians.”This is part of the malicious propaganda against Syria,” he says in a clip from the interview, which was broadcast Friday on CBS This Morning and will air in full on Sunday’s 60 Minutes program. “First of all, the chlorine gas is not military gas. You can buy it anywhere.” Newsweek >>

RFI – Chemical Agent Fate Modeling

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies section is seeking information from respondents who possess the capability to address modeling and simulation of contact hazard and long-term environmental fate of chemical agents. Global Biodefense >>

Getting a Critical Edge on Plutonium Identification

A collaboration between NIST scientists and colleagues at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has resulted in a new kind of sensor that can be used to investigate the telltale isotopic composition of plutonium samples – a critical measurement for nuclear non-proliferation efforts and related forensics, as well as environmental monitoring, medical assays, and industrial safety. >>

Heinrich, Udall Introduce Bills to Increase Funding for New Mexico Labs

Two U.S. Senators have introduced a bill to increase the maximum percentage each laboratory director from Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratory may set aside for Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) from 6 to 10 percent of the lab’s budget. KRWG >>

House HS Committee Freshmen Announce Initiative to Curb DHS Waste, Fraud, Abuse

The freshmen Republican members of the House Committee on Homeland Security Friday announced a sweeping legislative initiative to curb waste, fraud, abuse and increased transparency at the Department of Homeland Security. HS Today >>

Perry Refuels its Nuclear Reactor, Critics Concerned About Storage

FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. is switching to a new type of fuel rod at its Perry nuclear reactor, one that is more simply designed, more robust and more efficient. But the switch-over has some anti-nuclear groups worried. One reason is that the rods contain slightly more enriched uranium, up to 5 percent rather than the traditional 3 percent. >>

Head of U.S. Chemical Safety Board Resigns

The chairman of the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has resigned at the request of the White House. Members of Congress had called on President Barack Obama to fire Rafael Moure-Eraso, charging that he mismanaged the small independent agency that investigates accidents at chemical facilities and refineries. Scientific American >>

UK Works With France to Defeat Threat of Underwater Mines

A contract has been signed today by the international organization OCCAR on behalf of the MOD and France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), with a Thales–led consortium that includes BAE Systems. The project will involve the design of a Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) demonstrator, which includes an unmanned surface vehicle. ASDNews >>

Iowa’s Statewide Notification System Provides Emergency Info in New Ways

In an effort to keep citizens informed in the event of severe weather or other emergencies, the state of Iowa has rolled out a new Alert Iowa system free to each of the state’s 99 counties. Emergency Management >>

Fast-Paced Technologies Passing by Military’s Acquisition Culture

U.S. military leadership has known the Pentagon is falling quickly behind the technological curve and opening itself to new and developing threats, but military brass still don’t know how to fix it. Fingers are often pointed at the military’s acquisition system that has failed to adapt to the increasingly fast pace of innovation and business development. DoD Buzz >>

BARDA Backs Emergent Biosolutions’ NuThrax Vaccine

Advanced development is underway on an improved anthrax vaccine that could provide protection in fewer doses than the currently licensed anthrax vaccine and so may be more cost-effective to stockpile. The development work will be done through a 30-month, $31 million agreement between HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Emergent BioSolutions Inc. of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Global Biodefense >>

Editorial: Invest in Nuclear Capability

Over the past few years, Russia has increasingly been spouting nuclear rhetoric to scare America and Europe into getting its way. Vladimir Putin recently said he considered mobilizing his nuclear forces as he seized Ukrainian territory. Since then, Russia has threatened to target NATO ally Denmark with nuclear weapons if Copenhagen joins the alliance’s missile defense program. Moscow has made the same threat against Poland and Romania, which have already agreed to host NATO missile defense sites. Defense News >>

Inaugural CBRNE Leaders Course held in Maryland

Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 20th CBRNE Command are participating in the first CBRNE Leaders Course here March 24 – April 2. The command’s senior enlisted leader said the course is designed to mold adaptable leaders capable of effectively combating weaponized, environmental and industrial CBRNE threats around the world. DVIDS >>

Deterring Conflict, Getting To Zero

Op-ed focuses on the grave risks of relying on nuclear weapons as a deterrent, and what is actually being done—and could be done—about those risks. While it can be imagined that a “safer” weapon could be switched out for nuclear weapons in our strategy of deterrence, in practice this will not happen. The myriad challenges of reducing nuclear weapons numbers across the globe would remain. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Vets Hurt by Chemical Weapons in Iraq Get Apology, Promise of Awards

The undersecretary of the Army apologized for the military’s treatment of servicemembers exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq, and he announced new steps to provide medical support to those with lingering health effects and to recognize veterans who had been denied awards. Undersecretary Brad Carson acknowledged Wednesday that the military had not followed its own policies for caring for troops exposed to old and abandoned chemical munitions scattered around Iraq and vowed improvement. >>

The Future of US-ROK Nuclear Cooperation

Korean and American negotiators are on the verge of concluding a new bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement to replace the current outdated one, which has been in place since 1974. This new agreement undoubtedly will be criticized by some in Korea because it does not give Seoul unconditional approval to enrich uranium or reprocess spent fuel. But such narrowly-focused criticism is misplaced, for it overlooks the importance of the agreement to Korea’s energy security and the future of its nuclear program.  Carnegie Endowment >>

FBI Must ‘Urgently’ Upgrade Intelligence on Terror Threats, Panel Says

The FBI has made “measurable progress” in keeping the U.S. homeland safe since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the bureau should expand its intelligence-gathering efforts to match an ever-changing threat from abroad and so-called lone wolves in this country, a special review commission said Wednesday. Emergency Management >>

Smiths Detection Awarded 23M for Chemical Agent Detectors

Smiths Detection, Edgewood, Maryland, was awarded a contract modification to purchase 5,001 M4A1 joint chemical agent detectors; 1,879 communication adapters; and 2,501 Stryker communication adapters. Global Biodefense >>

IBC Threat Assessment March 2015

This month’s Threat Assessment from IB Consultancy includes: New claims about the use of chlorine bomb attacks by Daesh in Iraq; The threat of terrorist exploitation of deadly pathogens, including Ebola; Long-term health effects on the Iraqi population due to the use of DU munitions; Renewed attention for humanitarian aspects of nuclear warfare as the risk of an accidental nuclear exchange increases. CBRNe Portal >>

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