War on Terrorism

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, August 5, 2009

Defense bill provides boost for two area companies [PA]
"Two local companies could receive a total of $3 million in federal funding from a defense appropriations bill that's been passed by the U.S. House and is now headed to the Senate. ProcessProxy Corp. in Ellwood City is in line to get $2 million for a health information technology project in Lawrence County, and Koppel Fabrication Co. in Big Beaver could get $1 million to continue manufacturing gunner protection kits for the U.S. Army. […] The possible funding […] would help implement an electronic health record system used by Jameson Memorial Hospital in New Castle, Ellwood City Hospita,l and other medical providers across Lawrence County. […] The money would also fund a new robotic technology that […] will capture video and audio to allow out-of-town medical providers to diagnose patients, which could be helpful in a pandemic or bioterrorism attack if local caregivers are afflicted and unable to work. ProcessProxy['s] […] work not only addresses potential catastrophic incidents, but also the daily issue of reducing costs while providing health care to residents." (Beaver County Times; 03Aug09; J.D. Prose) http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2009/08/03/news/doc4a778cb14ea42515228831.txt

Next Safety releases advanced respirator for infectious diseases
"Next Safety, Inc. (NSI) announces advanced respirators that give people more confidence to go to work in a pandemic environment. Next Safety is releasing for sale to the public respirator products the company developed for the bird flu influenza A subtype H5N1. […] These respirators are a cross functional platform that supply highly purified air to half facemasks and air supply hoods. Next Safety designed its respirators with input from the CDC and the World Health Organization along [with input] from the US army's famed AMRIID bioterrorism warfare center. […] Next Safety respirators are rated for 30,000 hours of continuous operation [… and] are fabricated from battlefield-grade medical plastics. […] Next Safety has invested in significant capacity for pandemic stockpiling. The company expects to build approximately 5 million respirators for delivery in December 2009 and has the capacity to build 300 million respirators a month for pandemic stockpiling by March 2010." (Sun Herald; 05Aug09) http://www.sunherald.com/prnewswire/story/1517381.html

Biometrics technologies vital for combat success
"In this time of unconventional warfare, using biometric technologies is essential to combat operations, according to several experts who spoke yesterday at an event in Washington. 'IDs can be faked and bad guys can lie. You can't rely on physical attributes to identify bad guys in the field and protect warfighters,' said Army Col. Ted Jennings, biometrics program coordinator for the Defense Department's Program Executive Office. […] Jennings said using biometrics gives the military the ability to identify the 'good guys' in the local population of a combat theater so they can work and conduct business. The technology also aids with interrogation, detainee management, base access and identifying persons of interest, he said. Navy Capt. Gail Bovy, special assistant for antiterrorism at the Navy Department, said the Homeland Security Department's US-VISIT [Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology] immigration and border management program serves as a model for real-time biometric identification, tracking and accounting capabilities. She highlighted the need for physical access control." (Government Computer News; 05Aug09; Amber Corrin) http://gcn.com/articles/2009/08/04/biometrics-vital-defense-tool.aspx

Los Alamos lab works to quicken disease monitoring [NM]
"Two out of every three diseases in humans originated in animals […] and a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher believes that points to a need for better surveillance. Tony Beugelsdijk, group leader for chemical diagnostics and engineering at the lab, envisions an automated network doing animal surveillance at a scale the world has never seen - able to sample not just hundreds or thousands but millions of animals and process samples quickly at a very low cost. That would help public health officials 'determine what's coming at us next,' he said. […] 'If we had seen [H1N1] coming, we could have avoided a lot of the panic. ... So just some science-based advice is really important rather than panic-based responses,' Beugelsdijk said. His team's $1.75 million genome sequencing machine incorporates two small robots inside a 7- by 14-foot glass-sided box divided in half, each robot doing separate operations on its side. They spin around, jointed arms grabbing and moving rectangular plastic plates from station to station for testing. […] The point is to save time. Systems that allow faster gene sequencing are important for better surveillance, said Dr. Jeffery K. Taubenberger, chief of the viral pathogenesis and evolution section in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. The influence virus mutates very rapidly, so being able to do much more genetic sequencing will help identify mutations faster and make selecting vaccine strains more efficient, he said. In addition, fuller genetic sequencing could let researchers see if mutations are appearing 'that would help us identify changes or make predictions about how the virus might behave,' Taubenberger said. […] The machine at Los Alamos can do genome sequencing about 100 times faster than anything being done manually today, Beugelsdijk said. […] The project's initial funding came from the Department of Defense." (San Luis Obispo Tribune; 05Aug09; Sue Major Holmes, AP) http://www.sanluisobispo.com/348/story/806355.html

Blaze contained at Umatilla chemical weapon depot [OR]
"Hermiston Firefighters contained several lightning-caused fires at the Umatilla Chemical Depot by 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. The fires, which started about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, burned several thousand of the depot's 19,729 acres, according to preliminary estimates. […] The depot's chemical weapons stockpile of mustard agent was not involved in the fire that burned on the northern area of the depot, according to depot officials. […] The mustard agent, the only chemical weapon remaining at the depot, is stored in reinforced concrete earth-covered igloos designed to resist fire." (Tri City Herald; 05Aug09) http://www.tri-cityherald.com/945/story/671788.html

Man hospitalized after trying to clean his bathroom, hazmat called in [FL]
"44-year-old Michael Newton has been taken to hospital after his efforts to clean his bathroom turned nasty. Newton mixed an ammonia-based cleaning solution with bleach which produced mustard gas [sic]. […] While he was being treated for irritation to the respiratory system and eyes, a Hazmat team gave his bathroom a serious scrub to remove the toxic mixture." (Short News; 05Aug09)

Indian defense minister [Arackaparambil Kurian Antony] warns of terrorists laying hands on chemical weapons
"The Indian Defence Minister has warned the country of chemical weapons finding their way into the hands of terrorists. Releasing a compendium here today on disaster management during a chemical weapons attack, AK Antony noted that the terrorists are getting more fanatic and are always on the look out to cause maximum casualties. 'Terrorists are getting more and more aggressive in their activities the world over,' Antony said, releasing the national guidelines on 'Management of Chemical Terrorism Disaster,' compiled by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). 'They are adopting newer techniques and technology in their mode of operation,' he added. […] The guidelines are comprehensive and deal with several issues like counter-terrorism strategies, surveillance and environmental monitoring, prevention of illegal trafficking of hazardous waste, Human Resource Development, which includes education and training, knowledge management and community awareness. 'The Defence Ministry shall also prepare itself for the management of Chemical Terrorism Disaster,'
Antony declared." (Frontier India Defence and Strategic News; 04Aug09) http://frontierindia.net/wa/indian-defence-minister-warns-of-terrorists-laying-hands-on-chemical-weapons/402/

NYC police to board ships for possible radioactive material
"New York City police, the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies will stop and board some ships near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge today as part of an exercise to monitor boats for possible radioactive material. About 17 vessels from agencies in New York and New Jersey will take part in the exercise, which is part of 'Securing the Cities,' a Homeland Security Department-funded program started in 2006 to find ways to prevent a nuclear device or so-called dirty bomb from entering the New York City area. The exercise, which will last from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, isn't the result of a specific threat, the New York City Police Department said in a statement. The NYPD has agreements with 12 agencies representing New York, New Jersey and Connecticut under the program, with the goal of creating a 100-mile (161-kilometer) network around the city to detect and interdict a nuclear device or dirty bomb, which scatters radioactive material, the statement said. The operation will test the partners' ability to maintain a 'choke point' on the water and identify and intercept ships emitting radiological signatures as they enter the harbor." (Bloomberg News; 04Aug09; Chris Dolmetsch)

Police car maker picks Indiana city for factory [Connersville]
"A startup company that plans to build high-tech police cars announced Wednesday that it had picked a vacant auto-parts plant in eastern Indiana for its first factory. […] The company says it could potentially hire 1,550 workers after spending $350 million to refurbish the 1.8 million-square-foot factory. […] Carbon Motors has developed a prototype of its Carbon E7 squad car, which it says is the first vehicle specifically designed for police use. It includes bulletproof door and dash panels, radiation and biological threat detectors, an automatic license plate recognition system and a 3-liter diesel engine the company says can reduce fuel costs by up to 40 percent. […] Atlanta-based Carbon Motors also is applying for a loan through the U.S. Department of Energy to help finance production of the squad car." (Forbes; 29Jul09; Source: AP) http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/07/29/ap6716691.html

Weapons of Mass Destruction: Government report released on WMD response [summary]
"The US Department of Defense plays a support[ing] role in managing Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosives (CBRNE) incidents, including providing capabilities needed to save lives, alleviate hardship or suffering, and minimize property damage. The Government Accountability Office's [GAO] preliminary report on DOD's role in CBRNE management efforts addresses the extent to which DOD's plans and capabilities are integrated with other federal government plans. […] DOD has its own CBRNE consequence management plans but has not integrated them with other federal government plans because all elements of the Integrated Planning System mandated by Presidential directive in December 2007 have not been completed. The system is to develop and link planning documents at the federal, state, and local levels. […] With a goal to respond to multiple, near-simultaneous, catastrophic CBRNE incidents, DOD has plans to provide the needed capabilities, but [as] its planned response times may not meet incident requirements, it may lack sufficient capacity in some capabilities, and it faces challenges to its strategy for sourcing all three CCMRFs with available units. […] Without an overarching approach to developing requirements and providing funding and a centralized focal point to ensure that all requirements have been identified and funded, DOD's ability to ensure that its forces are prepared to carry out this high priority mission remains challenged." (Examiner; 05Aug09) http://www.examiner.com/x-2684-Law-Enforcement-Examiner~y2009m8d5-Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction-Government-report-released-on-WMD-response

Opportunities and challenges await new DTRA [Defense Threat Reduction Agency] Director [Kenneth A. Myers III]
"Myers will now oversee the CTR [Cooperative Threat Reduction] Program at DTRA [Defense Threat Reduction Agency]. […] DTRA monitors the implementation of arms control treaties and helps develop capabilities to avert and respond to WMD-related incidents. […] Access difficulties are an inherent feature of the CTR process, and along with other problems have prevented much progress in dismantling Russia's biological weapons complex. The Russian government has also blocked direct foreign involvement with securing certain sensitive nuclear sites. […] The current bilateral threat-reduction framework does not give Russian personnel the same level of access to American weapons-elimination programs and facilities. […] Fears over these intelligence asymmetries and risks have always led Russian officials to impose considerable limitations on U.S. access to certain Russian WMD sites. In addition, suspicions persist regarding the security of Russia's residual WMD materials against illicit trafficking by terrorists and other non-state actors. […] Successfully transitioning the CTR programs in Russia to eventual Russian control and funding will likely remain a major preoccupation of Meyers and other DTRA managers. […] Myers faces both challenges and opportunities in pursuing another CTR goal: working with Russia and other traditional CTR recipients as partners to reduce proliferation threats from third countries. Russian and U.S. officials sometimes disagree over the best means in specific cases to prevent third countries from pursuing WMD. But they concur in the general need to limit the number of new nuclear weapons states and to prevent the proliferation of biological and chemical weapons." (World Politics Review; 04Aug09; Richard Weitz)

CRMC [Cookeville Regional Medical Center] trains to decontaminate in case of emergency situation [TN]
"Should disaster strike, employees at Cookeville Regional Medical Center [CRMC] are now more prepared. About 10 workers volunteered their time last week to attend a special, eight-hour decontamination training course - outfitted in hazmat suits and masks, practicing their response to a variety of situations, from radiation exposure to an outbreak of small pox or anthrax. […] 'Over the course of the last several years, there's been a larger focus on decontamination, not just necessarily in the bigger cities where you think things might happen, but everywhere,' said Mary Stoltz, manager of emergency services at CRMC. […] Thousands of dollars in grants have allowed the hospital to purchase disaster equipment, practice for catastrophic events and train various staff members to respond in the event of an emergency. […] About 98 percent of hospital's emergency department staff is now trained in decontamination. The class was offered on-site by the University of Tennessee." (Herald-Citizen; 04Aug09; Liz

Exercise focuses on emergencies [Fort Leavenworth, KS]
"Hundreds of people are at the Battle Command Training Center at Fort Leavenworth this week practicing what they would do in an emergency. Specifically, they were dealing with a fictional scenario in which a nuclear explosion is detonated [sic] in Kansas City, Mo. The exercise is being used to certify headquarters elements of a chemical, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive-consequence management response force, or CCMRF, according to Navy Capt. Michael Collins, deputy commander for Joint Task Force Civil Support." (Leavenworth Times; 05Aug09; John Richmeier) http://www.leavenworthtimes.com/news/x2098088102/Exercise-focuses-on-emergencies

Regional role in nuclear traffic
"Australia should take a lead role in regional efforts to prevent nuclear smuggling amid growing concerns that rogue states or terrorists could acquire weapons-related material, the Lowy Institute says. In a paper to be released today, it says the Government should urge more countries in Asia to join a US-led plan to intercept ships or aircraft carrying illicit cargo that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction. It says the Proliferation Security Initiative has been hampered because 'key missing players' such as Indonesia and Malaysia have not joined. […] 'New actors have entered the mix: terrorists who cannot be deterred from using WMD should they acquire them, and illicit traders who gain financially from proliferation,' says the paper, by a research fellow at the the Harvard Kennedy School, Emma Belcher. 'WMD components are becoming more easily procured and dangerous technical knowledge more easily attained.' The spread of nuclear technology and materials has been exacerbated in the past decade by the expansion of North Korea's program and its apparent efforts to sell technology and hardware to countries such as Syria and Burma." (Sydney Morning Herald; 06Aug09; Jonathan Pearlman, National Security Correspondent) http://www.smh.com.au/national/regional-role-in-nuclear-traffic-20090805-ea2k.html

Romania coordinates negotiations over IAEA 2010-2011 budget
"The Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) is hailing the passage by the IAEA of the agency's budget for 2010-2011 by the Board of Governors, which convened on Monday in a special session in Vienna. […] The General Conference is scheduled to meet September 14-18. 'Amidst the ongoing global economic crisis, Monday's decision is an adequate response of the member states to the challenges of the nuclear field. The new budget consolidates the part of the IAEA in the area of non-proliferation, supports a significant increase in the activity of the organization entailed by the rekindling of the interest of countries in nuclear power, and endows the agency with additional tools to fight against nuclear terrorism,' reads the MAE release. […] The novelty this year of the budget is given by securing additional funding for nuclear security and the establishment of an investment fund. Increasing the budgetary resources of the IAEA for nuclear security translates the worries of the member states over nuclear terrorism, says the release." (Financiarul; 04Aug09) http://www.financiarul.ro/2009/08/04/romania-coordinates-negotiations-over-iaea-2010-2011-budget/

Four decontaminated after 'powder' spill [Sydney]
"Four people were being decontaminated and 50 others were evacuated after a powder was found in the mail room of the NSW [New South Wales] government's offices in central Sydney. NSW Fire Brigades officers are decontaminating the four people after the spill at Governor Macquarie Tower at 10.42am (AEST) on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said. No injuries are reported.'There has been a small spill of an unknown substance,' the spokeswoman said.'There's no details of what type of powder it was.' The four people were exposed to a brown powder that spilled from an envelope, the Daily Telegraph has reported online." (Sydney Morning Herald; 05Aug09; Source: Australian AP)

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