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CBRN Program Consolidation, Emergency Management Training, Bomb Tech Health

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CBRNE Particles News Scan

Topics in this issue include shortcomings in plans to consolidate DHS CBRN programs, FBI training with state and local emergency managers, and bomb technician emotional health resources.

Cows in Fukushima Radiation Zone Find New Purpose: Science

The animals are about to be measured for how they’re affected by living in radiation — radioactivity that is 15 times the safe benchmark. For these cows’ pasture sits near Fukushima, a name now synonymous with nuclear disaster. The area was once a haven for agriculture with more than 3,500 cattle and other livestock. Ranchers who refused a government order to kill their cows continue to feed and tend about 200 of them. The herds won’t be used as food; now science is their mission. Seattle Times >>

Turning the Page of History on Chemical Weapons

Horrendous stories emerged from World War I’s battlefields of young men choking to death as their blistered lungs filled with fluid and of soldiers’ bodies covered in painful chemical burns — the tell-tale injuries inflicted by a foul-smelling brownish gas that would creep over the trenches, penetrate through clothing, pollute the ground for many days and, even among survivors, cause cancer and genetic illnesses. Denver Post >>

GAO Finds DHS Plans to Consolidate CBRNE Programs Not Thorough

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday released a report saying that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed consolidation of its chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives (CBRNE) programs into a new office lacks a thorough analysis of the benefits and consequences of the reorganization. Defense Daily >>

Soldiers Learn Japanese Decon Despite Language Barriers

U.S. Soldiers participating in Orient Shield 2016 went through the Japanese chemical decontamination process Sept. 14-15 by following the direction of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members. The Soldiers navigated through and completed several decon stations following the directions of the SDF members without the aid of translators. “The hand and arm signals I got a hang of,” said Pfc. Kemper Baker of the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. “They were really good at dumbing it down for you, pointing at what they want you to do and where they want you to do it.” Stripes Okinawa >>

New York ‘Bomber’ Faces Five Attempted Murder Charges

A terror suspect detained over the Manhattan and New Jersey bombings faces being charged with five counts of attempted murder. Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized US citizen from Afghanistan who had been described as “armed and dangerous” by the FBI, is in custody after he was injured in a gun battle with police. Sky News >>

Chemical Battalion Moves to Fort Bliss

The Army has been restructuring its chemical battalions, and Fort Bliss is a big beneficiary of this move. The 22nd Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Battalion moved to Fort Bliss this summer after spending more than 70 years at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. El Paso Times >>

Military Bomb Tech Suicides at Crisis Level

Among the highly skilled and elite ranks of military explosive ordnance disposal technicians — the men and women who have been on the front line of the war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001 — suicide is a growing concern. Since 9/11, 131 EOD technicians have died in combat and another 250 have sustained major physical injuries including lost eyesight, lost limbs, paralysis and major burns, but it is the numbers that aren’t tallied that are now most alarming to Falke and many others. PNJ >>

Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Receives 1.3M Grant

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense this week announced it has received a $1.3 million grant from the Open Philanthropy Project. The grant will allow the Study Panel to continue its leadership role in assessing our nation’s biodefense systems, issuing recommendations and advocating for their implementation, and informing policymakers and lawmakers on viable avenues for needed change. Global Biodefense >>

South Korea, US to Simulate Attack on Nuclear Facility

South Korea and the United States will conduct a mock attack on a nuclear facility next month, an official with the South Korean Defense Department told CNN. Though the official said the drills are not aimed particularly at North Korea, the announcement comes less than two weeks after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead — its second nuclear test this year and fifth one ever. CNN >>

FBI, Arizona First Responders Team Up to Spot Weapons of Mass Destruction

Valley first responders got together with the FBI in Phoenix Tuesday to talk weapons of mass destruction. The training sessions are designed to familiarize our partners with potential WMD threats that they could come across in their day-to-day work, said Phillip Bates, FBI special agent and W.M.D. coordinator for Arizona. KTAR >>

Arson at Belgian Forensic Lab May Set Back Terrorism Cases

The whole operation took less than 10 minutes. Three people drove a van up to Belgium’s main forensic storehouse at 2 a.m., cut through a perimeter fence, smashed the ground-floor windows, and placed bottles of accelerant inside. The fire they set destroyed much of the nation’s chief forensic laboratory, including its entire cache of hair samples and thousands of other pieces of evidence critical to the prosecution of hundreds of criminal and terrorism suspects. NY Times >>

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