April 1, 2004

DHS selects small businesses from 23 states for first SBIR awards

Officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) Science and Technology division have announced that 66 small businesses in 23 states have been selected for contract negotiations. Leaders at the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA) chose the businesses from applicants to the Department's first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program solicitation late last year. The 66 firms will receive a total of $6.5 million, with individual firms each receiving as much as $100,000 for a period of six months. In Phase I, awardees will define the scientific, technical, and commercial merit of a particular concept. Firms, whose concepts prove successful in Phase I, may be invited to apply for a two-year Phase II award not to exceed $750,000 to further develop the concept, usually to the prototype stage. Participation in the HSARPA SBIR Program is restricted to for-profit small businesses in the United States with 500 or fewer employees, including all affiliated firms. For a full list of the firms go online at interweb/assetlibrary/ HSARPA_SBIR_Firms_Selected_Negotiation_021104.pdf.

RAE Systems selected by central U.S. National Medical Response Team

Officials at the Central U.S. National Medical Response Team in Washington recently chose AreaRAE detection equipment from RAE Systems in Sunnyvale, Calif., to supply wide area toxic gas detection, decontamination, perimeter monitoring, indoor air quality, and security screening equipment. The Central U.S. Medical Response Team is a specialized force designed to provide medical care following nuclear, biological, and chemical incidents. "Since almost all weapons-of-mass-destruction incidents occur or begin at the local level, rapid response is critical," says Phil Currance, deputy commander of the Central U.S. National Medical Response Team for Weapons of Mass Destruction. "We chose AreaRAEs because of their ruggedness, sensitivity, and wireless capabilities. They will be deployed to monitor the air quality in our field hospital tents and to establish fence-line monitoring around secured triage and care areas." RAE Systems' line of AreaRAE monitors enables a wirelessly networked system of units to communicate on a real-time basis with mobile incident commanders or remotely located tactical experts.

Nonlethal 'electric' bullets to be commercialized by MDM Group

Leaders at the MDM Group, Inc. in Dallas are commercializing the ShockRounds nonlethal electric bullet technology from Harrington Group Limited of Australia. Harrington will absorb all ShockRounds development and commercialization costs. MDM officials claim ShockRounds are positioned for the law enforcement industry, the military and border control and antiterrorism initiatives, due to their versatility and multiple applications. The ammunition consists of specialized bullets and/or nonlethal munitions that generate a high-voltage charge and are fully compatible with standard ammunition calibers. This voltage discharges upon impact causing immediate target incapacitation. ShockRounds rubber bullets can totally incapacitate a target at 100 meters, whereas traditional rubber bullets are largely ineffective at their maximum range of about 40 meters. ShockRounds technology was developed by experts at Technosis, a member of the Girvan Business Venture Acceleration Network, located at the NASA Research Park, Moffett Field, Calif. For more information go online at

DHS secretary approves incident management system

U. S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Tom Ridge recently approved the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which is a management plan to unify federal, state, and local lines of government for incident response. "NIMS gives all of our Nation's responders the same framework for incident management and fully puts into practice the concept of one mission, one team, one fight," Ridge says. NIMS strengthens response capabilities by identifying and integrating core elements and best practices for all responders and incident managers. It basically puts federal, state, and local agencies on the same page with regard to common doctrine, terminology, concepts, principles, and processes, so that execution during a real incident will be consistent and seamless, DHS officials say. Responders will be able to focus more on response, instead of organizing the response, and teamwork and assignments among all authorities will be clearly enhanced. Key elements and features of NIMS include an Incident Command System, Preparedness, Communications and Information Management, a Joint Information System, and a NIMS Integration Center (NIC). The NIC will provide strategic direction and oversight of the NIMS, supporting both routine maintenance and continuous refinement of the system and its components over the long term. For more information go online at

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