Terror Attacks in Baghdad, Low-Cost Spectroscopy, Bomb Disposal Training

Topics in this issue of CBRNE Particles include suicide bombings in Baghdad and Syria; planning for the Dragon Fire CBRN exercise; reasons why EMT-Basics and Paramedics leave the EMS workforce; and a low-cost spectroscopy technique.

In This Article


Integrated System for Enhanced Response Management in CBRN Related Contamination Events of Drinking Water

SAFEWATER is an EU-funded project that aims at developing a comprehensive event detection and event management solution for drinking water security management. In SAFEWATER, a number of innovative software components enable event detection and evaluation of the contamination spread, and provide the response tools for dealing with the event. In this paper, the developed integrated system, which combines and coordinates the operation of such tools is described. ResearchGate >>

Why Late-Stage Testing with Threat Simulants Isn’t Good Enough

Historically, defense manufacturers relied on chemical and biological simulants to validate product design and performance. Often, they wait until the end stages of product development to test their material against the actual threat because they believe that these tests present logistical challenges or high costs. Here are three reasons that testing with simulant agents could be putting your products, and your business, at unnecessary risk. Inside Battelle >>

Low-Cost Spectroscopy Technique Allows Detection of Microscopic Amounts of Chemicals

A microscope to chemically identify individual micron-sized particles has been developed by a team of researchers. This new approach could be used in airports or various other high-security venues as a highly sensitive and inexpensive way to rapidly screen people for microscopic amounts of potentially hazardous materials. AZO Optics >>

A Navigation and Control System for a Mobile Robot for Patrolling Buildings

This paper presents the work completed under a research project titled “Design of a mobile platform for the support of forensic testing of scenes with potential CBRN hazards”. The study focuses on operation of the mobile platform control algorithm, determination of the mobile platform position and preparation of the mobile platform system for integration with a video navigation system. BazTech >>

Real-Time Nanogravimetric Monitoring of Corrosion in Radioactive Decontamination Systems

Monitoring and understanding of corrosion on nuclear sites is key to safe asset management (predicting plant life, assessing efficacy of corrosion inhibitors for plant lifetime extension) and supporting informed choice of decontamination methods for steels due for decommissioning. Recent advances in Quartz Crystal Nanobalance (QCN) technology offer a means to monitor corrosion in-situ in radiologically harsh environments, in real time and with high sensitivity. Materials Research Society >>

Achieving Actionable Intelligence: Legacy Systems and the IED Global Threat

The expanding use of the IEDs around the globe requires DoD government and military organizational leaders and associated support staff to focus on achieving actionable intelligence aimed at successfully countering this enduring and evolving threat. This annotated bibliography focuses on literature published between 2012 and 2016 and discusses the use of decentralized legacy information technologies by the DoD and the impact on gathering, analyzing and sharing of critical IED exploitation data. ScholarBank >>


ISIS Would Use Chemical Weapons in Attack on UK, Says Minister

Security minister Ben Wallace said there were reports of Isis using chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq, where it controls large areas, and that Moroccan authorities had apprehended a cell in February which was harbouring substances that could be used to make either a bomb or a “deadly toxin”. The Guardian >>

Mental Tests Set in Chemical Weapon Case

An Oxnard man accused of placing a chemical weapon inside a Walmart store in June will be sent to a state mental hospital for evaluation and treatment before his criminal case can continue. Martin Reyes, 31, has pleaded not guilty to felony possession/manufacture of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted assault with a deadly weapon. Ventura County Star >>

After Years of Construction, When Will Chemical Weapons Be Destroyed?

After years of design and construction, the plant that will destroy chemical weapons in Madison County now enters a long phase of testing to verify that its complex systems do what they’re supposed to. The government had planned to start destroying blister or mustard agent in 2017, but unexpected costs at the Madison County plant and another in Pueblo, Colo., shifted priorities. The mustard munitions would have been destroyed in a smaller building behind the main plant south of Richmond where nerve agents will be destroyed. Lexington Herald >>

Israel’s Coming Chemical Weapons Crisis

One of the more iconic and sobering elements of Israeli reality were the gas masks distributed on the street or at post offices to every citizen after Saddam Hussein fired SCUD missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. They continued to be distributed until early 2014, when the Israeli government decided to end the practice in the wake of an international deal to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons stockpiles. Homeland Security News Wire >>

Chemical Weapon for Sale: China’s Unregulated Narcotic

For a few thousand dollars, Chinese companies offer to export a powerful chemical that has been killing unsuspecting drug users and is so lethal that it presents a potential terrorism threat. The AP identified 12 Chinese businesses that said they would export the chemical – a synthetic opioid known as carfentanil – to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia for as little as $2,750 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), no questions asked. WMUR New Hampshire >>

Jury Orders Dupont to Pay $10.5 Million Over Leaked Chemical

A U.S. jury in Ohio ordered DuPont on Jan. 5 to pay $10.5 million in punitive damages to a man who said he developed testicular cancer from exposure to a toxic chemical leaked from a Dupont plant, the plaintiff’s lawyer Robert Bilott said. The federal jury had awarded Kenneth Vigneron $2 million in compensatory damages in December. Bilott said the jury also awarded attorneys’ fees, to be determined at a later date. Reuters >>


National Guard Looks Back on Busy 2016, Prepares for 2017

he National Guard saw a busy 201 6, meeting challenges both at home and abroad, deploying overseas, responding to large-scale emergencies and natural disasters at home while also taking part in a number of milestone events and transitioning to new roles. For the first time since the Korean War, two Army National Guard division headquarters were deployed to a forward location concurrently. National Guard >>

US, German CBRN Planning Commences for Dragon Fire

This spring, the 48th Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Brigade, out of Fort Hood, and the Bundeswehr CBRN Defense Command, out Bruchsal, Germany, will execute the partnering exercise Dragon Fire in Washington, Oregon and Utah. Elements from the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, will also provide forces to the exercise. Fort Hood Sentinel >>

Rural Volunteer Fire Departments Face Specific Challenges

Lack of appropriate funding continues to be a core issue for rural volunteer fire departments. They struggle to afford new vehicles and equipment or even repair and maintain old equipment, several are having trouble just keeping the firehouse lights on and their trucks fueled. More than one termed their situation “desperate” and recommended rural utility companies be approached to provide qualifying small community firehouses with free or discounted electricity, water, cable and telephone services. Homeland Security >>

Georgian Troops Equipped by Germany to Deal with Mass Hazards

Ahead of the Year of Friendship between Georgia and Germany in 2017, German Armed Forces granted 24 specially equipped CBRN trucks to Georgia’s Ministry of Defence. The trucks are worth €400,000. Apart from military usage, the vehicles could also be used during natural disasters in peacetime. Agenda.GE >

Teledyne wins US DoD contract for SeaBotix vLBV300 ROVs

Under the multi-million dollar contract, Teledyne will supply 60 units of SeaBotix vLBV300 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems for explosive ordnance disposal mobile units worldwide. Army >>


ISIS Claims 2 Suicide Bombings in Baghdad; 16 People Killed

ISIS has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings at crowded Baghdad markets on Sunday, killing 16 people. The attacks happened the same day anti-ISIS forces advanced on the terror group’s stronghold in Mosul. CNN >>

Massive Tanker Bomb Kills 48 in Syria Border Town

A massive tanker truck bomb ripped through a market by a courthouse on Jan. 7 in the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz, killing 48 people and wounding dozens near the Turkish border. The attack appeared to be the deadliest yet in the town in northern Aleppo province, which has been regularly hit by bombings targeting rebels and civilians. Yahoo News >>

Blast Response of Centrally and Eccentrically Loaded Flat-, U-, And V-Shaped Armored Plates

Light armored vehicles (LAVs) can be exposed to blast loading by landmines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during their lifetime. The bottom hull of these vehicles is usually made of a few millimeters of thin armored plate that is the vehicle’s weak point in a blast-loading scenario. Therefore, blast resistance and blast load redirection are very important characteristics in providing adequate vehicle as well as occupant protection. Springer >>

Editorial: Families of Vets Must Be Wary of Souvenirs

As World War II and Korean War veterans grow older and leave their longtime homes, police say family members should be alert to the dangers of handling wartime souvenirs that can kill or maim the unwary. These decades-old munitions include hand grenades, rifle cartridges, mortar shells and portable land mines that soldiers carried or shipped home as souvenirs, despite military regulations to the contrary. Morehead News >>

Local Responders Train for Bombs, Explosives at State Center

In May, members of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office responded to an emergency call in Floyd that was the first of its kind for the office: a suspected bombing. As deputies carried out their investigation as the case’s lead agency – assisted by members of local and federal law enforcement – Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said the organization was aided by training it received at the nearby New York State Preparedness Training Center, which is devoted to preparing the state’s first responders for a variety of scenarios. Observer-Dispatch >>

Sniffing Like a Dog Can Improve Trace Detection of Explosives

“The dog is an active aerodynamic sampling system that literally reaches out and grabs odorants,” explained Matthew Staymates, a mechanical engineer and fluid dynamicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “It uses fluid dynamics and entrainment to increase its aerodynamic reach to sample vapors at increasingly large distances. Applying this bio-inspired design principle could lead to significantly improved vapor samplers for detecting explosives, narcotics, pathogens—even cancer.” Lab Manager >>


Preparedness in Long-Term Care: A Novel Approach to Address Gaps in Evacuation Tracking

With an aging population, the number of elderly individuals residing in long-term care (LTC) facilities will continue to grow and pose unique challenges to disaster preparedness and response. With this rapidly growing vulnerable population, it becomes imperative to identify enhanced and novel preparedness strategies and measures. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness >>

Time to Shake Up Emergency Response

Unlike other medical disciplines, charity, rather than results, traditionally drives disaster response, with teams working to variable standards and little accountability. When a disaster occurs, uncoordinated responders flooding in pose a substantial burden and can exact a great deal of harm. Global Health Now >

A Year in Review: The Best of NACCHO Preparedness

From the onset of Zika virus disease to international acts of violence related to terrorism, to the worst global migrant crisis since World War II, the year 2016 brought a whole new meaning to the importance of public health emergency preparedness. National Association of County & City Health Officials >>


Rise in First-Responder Suicides Leads to Calls for Better Worksafe BC Coverage

Jennings, a former paramedic, began tracking suicides by B.C. first responders last year after a fire chief called to tell her about one at his hall. Before that, the Victoria woman maintained her website, You Are Not Alone PTSD BC, to provide support and resources to first responders, as well as to draw attention to what she sees as inadequate workers’ compensation laws that make it tough to get help. Vancouver Sun >>

EOD Marine Battles Enemy Within; Credits Colleagues for Saving His Life

Master Sgt. Clifford Farmer is one tough Marine. As an explosive ordnance disposal technician with four combat tours under his belt, he has years of experience neutralizing and disposing of deadly explosives, including improvised explosive devices, the signature weapon of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.  When this battle-hardened senior non-commissioned officer transitioned from serving in operational environments to a support role at Marine Corps Systems Command it was hard. >>

Why Do Emergency Medical Services Professionals Leave EMS?

The objective was to determine why EMT-Basics and Paramedics leave the EMS workforce. Data were collected through annual surveys of nationally registered EMT-Basics and Paramedics from 1999 to 2008. Although overall satisfaction levels with the profession were high, EMT-Basics were significantly more satisfied than Paramedics. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine >>

Eight ME Firefighters Taken to Hospital for Decon after Fire

The Biddeford Fire Department and neighboring departments responded to a fire at Soleras Advanced Coatings. The fire started in a container holding 60 pounds of lithium in the center of the building. The firefighting effort was complicated because the department did not have enough soda ash and other materials to extinguish the chemical fire and had to call in support from neighboring towns. Eight firefighters who were in the building were taken to Southern Maine Health Center for decontamination because of exposure to chemicals. Firehouse >>

Bomb Squad Vet Owen Jenkins Speaks of Post-Traumatic Stress

A bomb squad disposal soldier who worked in a similar role to fallen Sapper Elijah Bond has spoken out about his experiences coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), being medically discharged from the Army and the remarkable coincidences which led him to seek the support he needed. Owen will later this year be involved in a charity D-Day anniversary walk from Dieppe to Pegasus Bridge for Veterans Lifeline, a group he became involved with after having been on sick leave for eight months. Cornwall Live >>


Time for Nuclear Straight Talk: Words Matter, and So Do Deeds

The American people do not hold a shared understanding of the threats faced by the United States today, nor about the role nuclear weapons play in confronting those threats. That is in part because the rationale for U.S. nuclear weapons has long emphasized a deliberate diminishment of the nuclear arsenal’s role, reflecting a downturn in nuclear dangers since end of the Cold War. It is also the result of time and separation. Defense360 >>

U.S.-ROK Joint Statement for the Inaugural Meeting of the EDSCG

The United States of America and the Republic of Korea (ROK) held the inaugural meeting of the Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group (EDSCG) in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 20. The U.S. reiterated its commitment to draw on the full range of its military capabilities, including the nuclear umbrella, conventional strike, and missile defense, to provide extended deterrence for the ROK, and reaffirmed the longstanding U.S. policy that any attack on the United States or its allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an effective and overwhelming response. >>

Hacking Into Future Nuclear Weapons: The US Military’s Next Worry

Future nuclear missiles may be siloed but, unlike their predecessors, they’ll exhibit “some level of connectivity to the rest of the warfighting system,” according to Werner J.A. Dahm, the chair of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. That opens up new potential for nuclear mishaps that, until now, have never been a part of Pentagon planning. In 2017, the board will undertake a study to see how to meet those concerns. “Obviously the Air Force doesn’t conceptualize systems like that without ideas for how they would address those surety concerns,” said Dahm. Defense One >>

A New Pathway to Enhance the Nuclear Security Regime

The paper investigates the approach used by a new set of regional institutions, the Disaster Preparedness and Risk Management Organizations (DPRMOs), in strengthening regional governance and cooperation. It also inquires in what ways these new institutions might indirectly contribute to the establishment of a more cohesive global nuclear security framework. More specifically, through the examination of the case of Southeast Asia, the paper argues that these institutions, albeit without a specific and direct mandate to operate in the nuclear security domain, are fundamentally strengthening states’ capacity to assess risks and threats and to map vulnerabilities in timely fashion. International Journal of Nuclear Security >>


Lawmakers Want to Know More About Ricin Mix-Up

Members of the Committee on Homeland Security sent a letter on 23 December to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, demanding answers on how many years had first responders unknowingly trained with toxic Ricin at Anniston’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP). In a three-page letter, members of the committee demanded answers for twelve questions, addressing the issue of how lethal toxin was used and the agency’s response once it found out about the mix-up. Homeland Security News Wire >>

HHS Releases 2016 PHEMCE Strategy and Implementation Plan

The 2016 Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy and Implementation Plan (SIP), released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, describes the priorities that HHS, in collaboration with its interagency partners, will implement over the next five years. Global Biodefense >>

Linking the Scientific and Regulatory Environments for PHEMCE

A presentation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration overviewing Medical Countermeasure Initiatives in support of the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE). Includes case studies on prolonging anthrax vaccine shelf life; dosing of amoxicillin for post-exposure inhalation anthrax; regulatory perspective for infectious disease diagnostics and the FDA-ARGOS database. >>


Call for Papers: Evolution of Public Health Emergency Management

CDC is sponsoring a special supplement issue of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) on “The Evolution of Public Health Emergency Management from Preparedness to Response and Recovery.” Submissions will be accepted until January 15, 2017. APJH Call for Papers >>

Preparedness: Teleconference Meeting of the NACCD and NPRSB

National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters (NACCD) and the National Preparedness and Response Science Board (NPRSB) will be holding a joint public teleconference on January 9, 2017, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST. The agenda is subject to change as priorities dictate.

Watch: Counterterrorism, Cybersecurity, and Homeland Security

Lisa O. Monaco discusses domestic security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity issues during her tenure as President Obama’s homeland security advisor. Watch livestream on January 10, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. ET Council on Foreign Relations >>

Bruins to Hold First Responder Gauntlet Challenge This Month

The Boston Bruins Foundation is holding a First Responder Challenge for the first time on Sunday, January 22 at the TD Garden in Boston for New England area first responders, families and friends. Firefighters, police and EMS professionals will take on one or all stages of the Garden Gauntlet — climbing stairs, and completing laps around the arena bowl, premium levels, and balcony levels of the Bruin’s home arena. Participants can walk or run. NFPA >>

10th Annual Polar Bear Plunge February 4 in Fredericksburg

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Warrior Foundation will hold their 10th annual Polar Bear Plunge in Fredericksburg on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017. Fredericksburg Today >>


Reagan’s Nuclear War Briefing Declassified

On 26 February 1982, one of the most nuclear-averse of Cold War presidents, Ronald Reagan, received his first full briefing on U.S. plans for waging nuclear war against the Soviet Union. Reagan would be told that primary targets for the war plans would be “nuclear threat, conventional threat, and economic/industrial targets,” but also “leadership,” indicating that Soviet political and military leaders and their offices and bomb shelters would be major targets. The detailed outline of the briefing, recently declassified from the files of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman David Jones, was  published for the first time by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University. National Security Archive >>

To Halt Ambushes, the U.S. Army Once Covered Cargo Trucks with Landmines

In 1963, as fighting in Southeast Asia began to suck in more American forces, the U.S. Army started working on a new way to protect the vehicles and their drivers. Engineers proposed covering the trucks with land mines to brush off attackers. Turns out, strapping dozens of explosive charges to the vehicles made them just as dangerous to friendly troops — and innocent bystanders — as the enemy.. War Is Boring >>


Death Star: Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

The central plot of Rogue One involves our heroes stealing the blueprints to a new secret weapon of the evil Galactic Empire: The Death Star, a moon-sized, space-based battle station equipped with a laser capable of destroying an entire planet in a single stroke. The Death Star, in Star Wars generally and particularly in Rogue One, serves as a stand-in for the nuclear weapons arsenal with all the accompanying nuclear imagery, deterrence theory, and dangers shown to the audience. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists >>

Bibliography: Islamist Terrorism in Europe

This bibliography contains journal articles, book chapters, books, edited volumes, theses, grey literature, bibliographies and other resources on Islamist terrorism in Europe. The literature has been retrieved by manually browsing more than 200 core and periphery sources in the field of Terrorism Studies. Perspectives on Terrorism >

Saving Leopards Is Hard, Especially with All the Landmines

Wilpattu, Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park, was once a warzone. The fighting between the Sri Lankan state and the militant separatist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that began in the 1980s had spilled over into these wild lands. It wasn’t until the nearly 30-year-long war came to an end in 2009, and many landmines laboriously cleared, that researchers could readily move about Wilpattu again. Motherboard >>

Man Unknowingly Uses Hand Grenade to Smash Walnuts

After recently reading a safety pamphlet about of the dangers of explosive devices, a man from Shaanxi, China, was shell-shocked when he discovered that he had been using an unexploded hand grenade as a nutcracker for the past 25 years. Daily Meal >>

Pokémon Go — Not a Go at Nuclear Plants

Recently, three teenagers pursued one of the strange looking cartoon creatures into the employee parking lot of the Perry plant, at 3 in the morning! Instead of catching the Pokémon, they were caught by security officers and escorted off the property. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission >>

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