By J.R. Wilson
While efforts are in progress to improve the ability to detect and deter intruders at military installations, a separate set of programs is tackling how to detect and respond to an attack involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) or explosive agents.
"CBR is being done independently from a joint standpoint," explains Lt. Col. Don Wussler, program manager for Force Protection Command and Control Systems at the Air Force Electronic Systems Command at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.
"We're obviously going to work with the Guardian program office, for example, so they understand what we are putting into place and that what they and we are doing will all work with a single C2 station on the base."
Guardian is a five-year, billion-dollar joint program to provide an integrated medical and nonmedical CBRN protection and response capability to 200 critical U.S. military bases (185 in the continental U.S. and 15 overseas). The system will consist of detection, identification, warning, information management, installation restoration and capabilities for medical response, surveillance and diagnostics in the event of an attack.
A similar effort under the management of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Chemical-Biological Defense Directorate in Alexandria, Va., is the Joint Service Installation Pilot Program (JSIPP), designed to enhance emergency response capabilities for CBRNE events.
Under the two-year program, nine U.S. military installations (three each from the Air Force and Army, two from the Navy, and one Marine) will receive federal money for training and equipping base emergency responders as well as integration of chemical and biological detection systems into their emergency operations centers. It also will involve refining concepts of operation (CONOPS) — how to use the new capability — and providing recommendations up the chain of command for requirements for future installations.
"As originally conceived, our recommendations were due at the end of FY04," says DTRA JSIPP program manager John Connell. "Pressure to provide those earlier has increased, so we are providing what we call quick-look reports as we go for CONOPS .— our lessons learned as we install and go through training and exercise. Our quick look will be delivered in December 2003, but we won't have a complete final report until September 2004.
Exercises are stressing the capabilities of first responders, including command, control, and communications (C3), and see how well the new equipment they have been provided under JSIPP is used.
The Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is working with DTRA on JSIPP. Although much of its previous work has been with the Navy and Coast Guard . such as the WMD Installation Preparedness program . it will be dealing with all the services on this effort. WMD stands for weapons of mass destruction.
"You get out of these programs what you put into them and they do require a lot of effort," notes Karen Quinn-Doggett, ECBC's WMD installation preparedness team leader. "For the majority of bases, we've seen dramatic improvement. Actually, most installations did not have a WMD response plan and would have been making it up as they went along had they been attacked. Now at least they have a plan in place and know where to go and what to do if they have mass casualties, how to deal with the medical issues, decontamination, and so on. That is a major step forward."