War on Terrorism

Monday, August 31, 2009

Forces in Afghanistan Capture Key Taliban Leaders

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - Afghan forces and NATO-led International Security Assistance troops captured two key Taliban leaders, including a commander, during a joint operation in the Kanday village of Chapa Dara district in Afghanistan's Kunar province Aug. 29. Qari Azimullah is a Taliban commander in the district, and has been directly linked to several roadside-bomb attacks in the province, one of which resulted in the recent death of a U.S. servicemember.

A second captured man is another suspected Taliban leader in the area who also has been linked to bombings in Kunar province, officials said.

Two additional men were detained. A large weapons cache, including a suicide vest and bomb-making materials, was seized during the operation.

Afghan and ISAF troops protected several women and children who were nearby during the operation when insurgents began firing weapons at troops in the village. No civilians, Afghan troops or ISAF soldiers were killed or injured during the operation, officials said.

(From a Combined Joint Task Force 82 news release.)

Iraqi Forces Arrest 10 Terrorism Suspects

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - Iraqi forces, with U.S. forces advisors, arrested 10 terrorism suspects in recent days, military officials reported. The operations took place in northern Iraq, Baghdad and in Iraq's Babil province.

In northern Iraq, Iraqi forces arrested four suspected terrorists under the authority of various warrants Aug. 29. A Beiji special weapons and tactics team arrested a suspected terrorist in Salahuddin province with a warrant issued by the Beiji Investigative Court for suspicion of trafficking illegal weapons throughout the country.
In Diyala province, Iraqi commandos arrested three suspected terrorists with warrants issued by a court in Khark. The three men were suspected of attacks on Iraqi and U.S. forces and of kidnapping and killing citizens of Diyala.

In Baghdad, Iraqi special operations forces arrested a suspected terrorist under authority of a warrant issued by the Central Investigative Court of Khark. The detained individual allegedly is affiliated with insurgent groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, and was wanted for conducting attacks against Iraqi government officials and security forces.

The same day in Tikrit, an element of the Emergency Response Brigade arrested a suspected terrorist on a warrant issued by a court in Tal Afar. The alleged insurgent was wanted for connections with terrorist cells responsible for attacks on Iraqi and U.S. forces and for murdering citizens in the Mosul area.

On Aug. 27 in Baghdad, Iraqi special operations forces arrested a suspected terrorist under authority of a warrant issued by the Central Investigative Court of Khark. The detained individual allegedly is affiliated with insurgent groups and was wanted for conducting attacks against Iraqi government officials and security forces.

In Babil province Aug. 27, Emergency Response Brigade elements arrested three suspected terrorists under authority of a warrant issued by the Investigative Court of Hillah. The suspects allegedly are affiliated with insurgent groups operating in the province and were wanted for assassinations and bomb attacks against Iraqi government officials, security forces and civilians.

The day before, also in Babil province, the Emergency Response Brigade arrested a suspected terrorist under authority of a warrant issued by the Investigative Court of Hillah. The suspect allegedly served as a ranking officer for numerous terrorist groups operating in the area, and also was wanted for mass murder and bomb attacks against civilians and Iraqi security forces.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Aug. 29 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when they were shot by enemy forces Aug. 28 while conducting combat operations. Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.

Killed were:

Staff Sgt. Jason S. Dahlke, 29, of Orlando, Fla.; and

Pfc. Eric W. Hario, 19, of Monroe, Mich.

For more information media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005; after hours (910) 689-6187, or visit http://news.soc.mil .

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, August 31, 2009

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, bestselling author Jim Collins to keynote RAPS [Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society] annual conference in Philadelphia [PA]
"Professionals concerned with developing and bringing safe and effective drugs, medical devices, biotechnology and other healthcare products to the worldwide market will convene in Philadelphia next month for the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society's (RAPS) 2009 Annual Conference & Exhibition. Attendees will come from around the world for what is the largest annual event of its kind exclusively for regulatory professionals in the healthcare product sector. [...] Among the topics to be examined at the conference are regulation of biosimilars; considerations for clinical trials of stem cell products; regulations governing counter-bioterrorism agents; health technology assessment and its relationship to comparative effectiveness research; global clinical trials; international regulatory considerations for drugs, devices, biotechnology and combination products; regulatory challenges in emerging markets; advertising and promotion; postmarket surveillance and more. Attendees also will receive briefings from representatives of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health
(CDRH) and Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and Health Canada." (BioResearch Online; 31Aug09) http://www.bioresearchonline.com/article.mvc/FDA-Commissioner-Margaret-Hamburg-0001?VNETCOOKIE=NO

FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] gunmen deputized to help administer vaccines
"Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are directing police chiefs nationwide to search local gun owner records to identify and train civilian deputies to secure smallpox vaccination sites. According to documents forwarded to civil rights groups by police chiefs engaged in a growing smallpox vaccination resistance movement, the plan calls for armed civilian security guards to maintain the peace in every room [in which] the vaccine will be given. The FEMA directive aim[s] to prevent violence at smallpox vaccination areas. It also effectively removes law enforcement officials who oppose vaccination. Police chiefs are now being pressured to comply, get vaccinated, [and] promote the smallpox vaccine, said one chief who requested anonymity. […] The general public may be required to take the vaccine immediately following the first reported case of smallpox, and after 10 million healthcare workers and emergency responders are vaccinated and positioned to run the mammoth civilian program." (Canada Free Press; 31Aug09)

Fire-Rescue building team to answer pandemic, bio-terror[ism] threats [Palm Beach, CA]
"Palm Beach Fire-Rescue is preparing for a worst-case scenario of a pandemic or bio-terrorism attack. [...] To cope with a large-scale health emergency, the town is preparing to act as a designated site for distribution of free preventive antibiotics and possibly other medications or vaccinations. The pharmaceuticals would be provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and funneled through the Palm Beach County Health Department. Palm Beach is one of about 45 distribution sites throughout the county that would serve its own population. South Palm Beach also is a designated site that would administer aid to its residents, town employees and business people within the community. The smaller, closed sites would all but eliminate the need for a mass, countywide distribution system in an emergency situation, health department spokesman Tim O'Connor said. The goal would be to 'dispense medication to the entire population within a 48-hour period,' he said."
(Palm Beach Daily News; 29Aug09; Margie Kacoha) http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/content/news/2009/08/29/pod0830.html

VA [Department of Veterans' Affairs] won't pay benefits to Marine [Josef Lopez] whose injuries came from vaccine
"It wasn't a bullet or roadside bomb that felled Lance Cpl. Josef Lopez three years ago after nine days in Iraq. It was an injection into his arm before his unit left the states. The then 20-year-old Marine from Springfield, MO, suffered a rare adverse reaction to the smallpox vaccine. While the vaccine isn't mandatory, the military strongly encourages troops to take it. And even though his medical problems wouldn't have occurred if he hadn't been deployed, Lopez doesn't qualify for a special government benefit of as much as $100,000 for troops who suffer traumatic injuries. [...] 'It's for traumatic injury, not disease; not illness; not preventive medicine,' said Stephen Wurtz , deputy assistant director for insurance at the VA.'It has nothing to do with not believing these people deserve some compensation for their losses.' The VA was unable to say how many claims have been rejected because of vaccine-related injuries. Wurtz and others familiar with the program said it probably wasn't a large amount. As of July 1 , the traumatic injury program has granted nearly 6,700 claims, a 63 percent approval rate, and paid $394 million in compensation, Wurtz said. A representative for the Military Vaccine Agency , which oversees the vaccination of troops for smallpox, anthrax and other diseases, couldn't be reached for comment, despite repeated attempts." (Yahoo News; 30Aug09; David Goldstein, McClatchy Newspapers) http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20090830/pl_mcclatchy/3301410

Largest-ever biological attack drill set for January [2010]
"In preparation for a non-conventional attack on Israel, the National Emergency Authority [NEA] will hold the largest-ever exercise to train security forces how to respond to a city-wide biological attack. The drill will begin on January 1 and is being prepared by the NEA, a branch of the Defense Ministry established after the Second Lebanon War to coordinate between all of the civilian and military bodies that provide services during a nationwide emergency. [...] The threat scenario will include a biological attack on a major Israeli city and will include the IDF [Israeli Defense Force] Home Front Command, Magen David Adom, the Israel Police, the IDF Medical Corps, the IDF Spokesman's Office and the Fire and Rescue Service. [...] One possibility that will be considered during the drill will be to close down and quarantine the entire city in the event that the disease spreads. Officials will hold hourly assessments during the drill and discuss the option of immunizing the entire country. [...] The IDF plans to begin returning gas masks to the public starting in November. Since the Defense Ministry began collecting the public's gas masks in 2006, almost 90 percent of the masks have been collected and most of them refurbished." (Jerusalem Post; 30Aug09; Yaakov Katz) http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1251145146679&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

Pittsburgh Poison Center to watch for attacks during G-20 summit [Pittsburgh, PA]
"Pittsburgh Poison Center will be on high alert during the Group of 20 summit, looking for clusters of unusual symptoms that could be attributed to biological or chemical attacks and even food poisoning, center officials said. In preparation for next month's economic summit of leaders from around the world, workers at the Oakland-based center are receiving training to refresh their knowledge about pathogens and disease-causing agents that can kill or seriously impair people. The poison center is gearing up for a possible surge in calls during the two-day meeting, director Ed Krenzelok said. West Penn Allegheny Health System plans to stage a disaster drill in early September but hasn't set a date, spokeswoman Stephanie Waite said. [...] The city's largest hospital system, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said it has no plan to extend shifts of medical personnel or reschedule elective surgeries. [...] The surveillance will continue after the G-20 event because some bacterial and viral illnesses do not cause symptoms for a few days after exposure. Another surveillance system, this one at the University of Pittsburgh, is used to monitor visits to 137 hospital emergency rooms throughout the state. The computer-based system - called RODS, for real-time outbreak and disease surveillance system - can pinpoint unusual increases in the number of patients with similar symptoms. It tracks activity in retail stores such as pharmacies for unusual spikes in sales of medications to treat certain symptoms. The RODS system will be used during the G-20 summit but not in any special way, said Dr. Bruce Dixon, director of the Allegheny County Health Department." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; 31Aug09; Luis Fabregas)

Avera workers learn how to handle decontamination [Mitchell, SD]
"Members of the Avera Queen of Peace decontamination team, along with representatives from Wessington Springs, Parkston and De Smet hospitals, participated in annual decontamination training Thursday at the Mitchell hospital. PowerPoint presentations, videos and hands-on training kept the 35 team members busy throughout the day. In the event of a chemical spill or terrorism event that causes people to be exposed to hazardous materials, patients would be brought through a decontamination tent that is split into several rooms. In the theoretical situation, patients enter the tent, undress, shower and are given a robe to wear into the hospital, preventing all hazardous material from entering the hospital itself. Thursday, participants were able to go through the tent, both as actual team members and as 'patients.' Protective suits were worn by personnel in the training. [...Avera Women's Clinic LPN Lisa] Johnson said it is important to do hands-on training with the tent to help prepare for a disaster." (Daily Republic; 28Aug09; Laura Wehde) http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/36470/

Lithuanian journalist [Richard Lapaytis says]: Armenia used prohibited chemical weapons against Azerbaijani soldiers
"Richardas Lapaytis is one of the few Baltic correspondents who is aware of the core of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict and truth about the Karabakh war by not just hearsay or stories by other people. In 1992-1993 he repeatedly traveled to Azerbaijan, visited the contact line, was an eyewitness to the bloody events of the war (in Lachin, Nakhchivan, Aghdam, etc.) and took photos of tragic consequences of the Khojaly massacre. This interview was made with the assistance of the Community of Azerbaijanis in Lithuania and Congress of Azerbaijanis in Baltic. [...] [Lapaytis states] This weapon was used in the territory of the Nakhchivan Republic. The use of mustard gas was not a mass phenomenon. However, some Azerbaijani soldiers have died in that years rather strange death. A strange rash and redness were discovered in their bodies. I showed copies of examinations to the Lithuanian Ministry of Health where they officially declared: such a death occurs as a result of mustard gas poisoning. And mustard gas is a chemical weapon the use of which is prohibited by all international conventions." (Milaz Info; 31Aug09)

Soldiers get hazmat training at McAAP [McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, OK]
"Looking like something from a science-fiction movie, PFC. Amanda Lainberger, 395th Ammunition Ordinance Company, Appleton, Wis., works her way across the floor inside her vapor protective suit on her way to stop a simulated leak on an old air tank inside the garage of the McAlester fire station. […] Lainberger and other Army Reserve soldiers participating in the Golden Cargo exercise are learning valuable new skills to further enhance their operational readiness in dealing with a multitude of potential incidents that could threaten human life or the environment. 'This is a forty-hour course that teaches how to identify containers, contain leaks, and select the proper personal protective equipment,' said Shift Capt. Jeff Humphries, McAAP fire department. Participants are presented scenarios in which they must plan by using chemical, biological and radiological manuals and respond accordingly. […] The students were familiarized with the different types of equipment and how to decontaminate large numbers of people. 'We try to get them proficient enough that they can work alone, and train them on how to get information,' Humphries added. The soldiers are trained in the use of various chemical-detection devices, including Drager tubes, which draw in vapors to the Smith's Detection System, an infrared spectrograph that can check solids, liquids and gasses. […] Upon completion of training, soldiers receive a Department of Defense certificate. They are required to be recertified every two years." (McAlester News, OK; 31Aug09) http://www.mcalesternews.com/local/local_story_243105747.html

Shot at nuclear fuel truck troubles watchdog group [Union of Concerned Scientists; Bay City, TX]
"Shotgun damage to a truck carrying uranium fuel rods to a Texas nuclear power plant last year posed little, if any, immediate radiation danger, but it highlights potential problems the industry could face, a nuclear power industry watchdog says. The shotgun damage was discovered on the driver's side of the truck on the morning of Sept. 20, as it delivered eight uranium fuel rods to the South Texas Project nuclear power plant near Bay City, according to a safety report filed at the plant last year. [...] The containers carrying the fuel rods nor other equipment on the truck appeared damaged, according to the report, and it was allowed into the plant. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials were notified and an investigation of the incident found no fuel transport rules were violated, said David Knox, a spokesman for NRG Energy, which has a stake in the plant. [...] Because of the low radiation levels, the fuel rods also wouldn't be effective in a dirty bomb intended to spread radiation, Lyman said. But a fuel rod that has been in a reactor and undergone fission is highly radioactive and can deliver lethal doses within minutes. That's why trucks carrying spent fuel have much higher security specifications than vehicles that carry new fuel rods, said Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission." (Houston Chronicle; 28Aug09; Tom Fowler) http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6592212.html

Finnish PM [Prime Minister] says Nord Stream pipeline is no security threat
"Matti Vanhanen (centre), the Finnish prime minister, told the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) on Sunday that the undersea gas pipeline planned by German-Russian joint venture Nord Stream did not pose a significant security threat as far as the Nordic country was concerned. He added that energy cooperation between Russia and EU countries bolstered security in the region. Mr Vanhanen hinted that the government would grant Nord Stream a permit to use Finland's exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Finland in September or October. He was quick to add that the subsequent environmental permit process was independent from politics. [...] The Euro-MP pointed out that Finland had requested details about toxins on the seabed, impact on fishstocks, explosives and chemical weapons.'Whether these concerns have been addressed and how is something that has been left unanswered,' Ms. [Eija-Riitta] Korhola [deputy leader of the Conservatives] was quoted as saying." (Helsinki Times; 31Aug09; Kimmo Mantyla) http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/htimes/domestic-news/politics/7786-finnish-pm-says-nord-stream-pipeline-is-no-security-threat-.html

Smart management results in more than $240 million in recovery act funding for enhanced security at airports across the nation
"Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced more than $240 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for new in-line baggage handling systems at 10 additional airports across the country. These new projects were made possible by the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) cost assessment and negotiation process, which resulted in reductions in project costs for the airports originally in the pipeline for ARRA funding. TSA's efforts reflect Secretary Napolitano's ongoing commitment to creating a culture of efficiency at DHS through the Department-wide Efficiency Review she launched in March to eliminate waste and redundancies while identifying cost savings opportunities and streamlining operations. 'By managing our Recovery Act funds responsibly, we are able to stretch our resources even further to deploy new security equipment to more airports across the country,' said Secretary Napolitano. 'These state-of-the-art baggage systems will inject critical resources into local communities while making travel safer.' The new equipment incorporates enhanced explosive detection technology to provide on-screen viewing capabilities for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers conducting baggage screenings and reduces the number of re-scans and physical bag searches. […] In awarding ARRA funds, DHS prioritizes shovel-ready projects that infuse resources into local economies quickly while meeting critical security needs."
(Homeland Security Press Release; 26Aug09) http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1251299226398.shtm

Face of Defense: Soldier's Civilian Skills Save Afghan

By Army Maj. Sheldon Smith
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - As U.S. forces take extra precautions to protect civilian lives in southern Afghanistan, an Army reservist used his civilian skills to preserve the life of a local truck driver. Army Master Sgt. Joseph Oswald, a Joint Sustainment Command Afghanistan civil-military operations noncommissioned officer from Cincinnati, was returning here from an entry point Aug. 21 when he saw a concrete truck lose control and roll over into a ditch on the side of the road.

"I immediately stopped to assist the driver that was trapped inside the crushed cab of the vehicle," Oswald said in a statement. "I removed a broken window and the windshield to gain access to the trapped driver."

When he got to the driver, Oswald knew exactly what to do based on his extensive civilian and military training.

"I started emergency first aid treatment on the casualty to control the bleeding and prevent shock," he said. "I contacted and provided [emergency responders] with the information they would need for the crash site and the required equipment they would need to recover the casualty."

Oswald, a Federal Aviation Administration-certified repairman and quality assurance technician at a Cincinnati facility that services airplane engines, rendered immediate medical aid in an effort to stabilize the driver and prevent further injury.

While caring for the wounded driver, Oswald removed his uniform shirt and used it to help protect the driver from further injury from the jagged edges of broken glass. He continued to care for the driver until emergency help arrived some 20 minutes later, then remained at the scene to help direct traffic around the crash site.

As a civilian, Oswald has completed a considerable amount of first-responder training ranging from CPR and fire-fighting courses to emergency medical responder and hazardous materials response training.

As a past environmental, health and safety trainer, Oswald also has provided countless hours of training to more than a thousand fellow employees on all phases of emergency responses and safety in both the workplace and at home.

Through the military, Oswald has received even more valuable training. "On the military side, I have completed the [combat lifesaver course] and many other training classes," he said.

Oswald was awarded an Army Achievement Medal in recognition of his efforts in saving the Afghan driver.

(Army Maj. Sheldon Smith serves with Joint Sustainment Command Afghanistan.)

Commander Engages Iraqi Sheiks, Finds Common Ground

By Army 2nd Lt. Sophia Volz
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - Fostering good working relationships with Iraqi counterparts is an integral part of mission success here. Just as soldiers no longer go into the cities without Iraqi security forces partners, Contingency Operating Base Adder no longer can function efficiently without engaging local sheiks and key leaders. This is especially true for the base's garrison command, manned by the 1st Armored Division's 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, and spearheaded by its commander, Army Lt. Col. Alan Shumate of Fayetteville, N.C.

Recognizing the need to find common ground and a good working relationship with U.S. forces, Sheik Ali al-Manshed of the Al Ghezy tribe met with Shumate recently to discuss matters important to both. "We would wish only that we can be friends," Ali said.

Shumate and 4th STB soldiers also visited Ali's house for lunch with sheiks from the Al Ghezy tribe. For many of the soldiers, it was their first authentic Iraqi meal of kebabs, a lamb and rice dish called "uzi," Iraqi flatbreads, fish, fruits and dates.

Shumate also met with Ali's brother, Sheik Tayseer Mohammed al-Manshed. During the hours they spent together, Shumate and Tayseer discussed issues including base security and water delivery. They not only dealt with business, but also found time to discuss their families, with Shumate proudly showing pictures of his two sons.

"Engaging these local sheiks is important," Shumate said. "Without engaging such important leaders, base security and operations cannot be assured, and the mission of the brigade combat team to assist in building a sustainable Iraq in [its] area of responsibility cannot be achieved."

(Army 2nd Lt. Sophia Volz serves in Multinational Division South with the 1st Armored Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.)

Adoption Program Lets Working Dogs Become Pets

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - Military working dogs have come a long way since the days of ancient Persia and Assyria, where they donned armor, spiked collars and warned of impending attack or charged on the enemy's cavalry. But they are as important as ever, and U.S. military leaders are making sure they are rewarded with a happy retirement. Defense Department officials have created a standard operating procedure used by all kennels to ensure excess military working dogs have a chance to go to deserving adoptive homes.

The department, in accordance with the November 2000 "Robby Law," enables military working dogs to be transferred or adopted out to former handlers, law enforcement agencies or families who are willing and able to take on the responsibility of former military working dog. The department adopts out about 300 dogs per year, about 100 of those to law enforcement agencies outside of the department.

Dogs are available for adoption throughout the United States and some overseas locations. Most available dogs have failed to meet working standards, while others become available after completing their military service.

Although the adoption process at the Military Working Dog schoolhouse at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, is rigorous and contingent on demand and eligibility, families can adopt dogs somewhat quickly, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, the Pentagon-based executive agent of the military working dog program.

"Families can normally complete the adoption process in less than 30 days if they and the dogs meet the eligibility requirements," Hertog said. "The Robby Law changed the way the [Defense Department] does business, and we go to extraordinary lengths to make sure dogs are adopted out."

Air Force Maj. Kathy Jordan, 341st Training Squadron commander at Lackland, described the two-page adoption application as a simple tool to garner information about prospective families.

"It's an application, not an essay," she said. "We're seeking basic information about other pets or children in the household to ensure that we have the right fit and that you're able to properly take care of your dog."

A follow-up interview queries prospective families about their expectations of a military dog.

"Are the adopters looking for a dog to guard their house or go walking with them?" Jordan said. "Are they seeking a high-activity or low-activity dog? We collect these details because we want the adoption to be successful."

High demand for adoption -- not the adoption process -- can put prospective adopters on the waiting list for two to three months, Hertog said. On most days, about 250 dogs are training at Lackland, and a small percentage of dogs unfit to work in the field will become eligible for adoption. All military dogs are trained at Lackland and then are sent to operational units throughout the department.

Belgian malinois, Dutch shepherds, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers ranging from 2 to 12 years old are declared "excess" when they are no longer in the military program. Dogs adopted from field kennels typically are 8 to 12 years old, while dogs adopted from the schoolhouse range from 2 to 4 years old. Eligibility requirements include suitability testing, a veterinary screening, eligible home location and required paperwork completion, Hertog said.

The stateside and overseas demand for military working dogs, especially explosive-detector dogs, has spiked since Sept. 11, 2001, and the average retirement age has dropped from 10 and a half to 8 and a half due to the rigors of the their jobs, Jordan said. The military has added combat-tracker and off-leash specialized search dog capabilities to the program.

Most field dogs have deployed at least once, often multiple times, while dogs adopted from the schoolhouse rarely have deployed, Jordan said. She added that any given dog's experiences warrant a thorough assessment of their temperament and acclimation back into a home.

"These dogs, for the most part, have been aggression trained, so rigorous screening is critical," she said. "The bite muzzle process involves muzzled and unmuzzled scenarios for the dog, putting him in the training environment and seeing how likely he or she is to attack the decoy." Depending on the score rating at the end of the test, the dog is deemed "suitable," "guarded" or "not suitable." Adoption officials consider such factors as children, other dogs in the home, and prior handler experience when determining placement for a dog, Jordan said.

Families of handlers who have been killed in action also have first opportunity to adopt the handler's dog. Dogs wanted by neither their handlers nor law enforcement agencies are posted on the adoption Web site, she said.

"Even though our handlers get first call at adopting their dogs, they do not short-circuit the process in place," Hertog said. "Handlers who may have been with a dog for a couple of years still have to wait for the adoption process to run its course in order to call the dog their own."

The adoption process is not the only thing to improve over time, Hertog said. She described the schoolhouse as a "state-of-the-art" training and veterinary facility that has evolved since directives to Air Force major commands in 1965 had them assemble 40 handlers and 40 dogs at Lackland for 120 days of temporary duty in Vietnam. The trial run success encouraged officials to augment the military working dog program, she added.

"We lucked out - we're honored to be the executive agent for this program," Hertog said. "Our training program and dog school has existed at Lackland for decades, and it continues to get better."

The general added that she answers swiftly when people ask her and schoolhouse staff members if they feel guilty about sustaining such a sophisticated facility for dogs.

"No -- because these dogs work for us as our best detectors, ... especially our explosive detector dogs," she said. "There is nothing -- no piece of equipment or technology available today -- that can beat the scent of that dog's nose. So we're going to do everything we can to take care of those dogs."

The adoption program also has placed some terminally ill dogs with adoptive families, giving them an opportunity to live out their lives in loving homes, Jordan said.

"That dog is not just a piece of equipment -- it's what enables us to save lives; so we exhaust all avenues to ensure the dogs remain as healthy as possible," she asserted.

Contrary to popular belief, Hertog said, retired dogs, unless deemed by a veterinarian as seriously ill and suffering, or unsuitable due to aggression, are not typically euthanized following military service. Since November 2000, only a few dogs have been euthanized for lack of a good home, while thousands have been placed in private homes, she added.

Although the program will expedite processing for dogs out of the state and country, the general clarified why adopters must bear the brunt of transport for adopted dogs returning from overseas.

"Once that dog is adopted, it becomes a pet, and therefore loses its [military working dog] status," she explained, so it would be inappropriate for the Defense Department to transport that pet.

Despite regulations barring department-sponsored transport of adopted dogs, Hertog said, the department provides a number of services to adopting families. Adoption coordinators provide follow-up e-mails and calls to check on the dogs and families, and the coordinators also furnish information about low-cost Air Force Services Agency dog training for families who adopt in the San Antonio area, where most adoptions take place.

"The extra assistance is not required, and we're not staffed to do it," Jordan said. "We just have people who are passionate about the dogs and want to ensure smooth adoptions."

The program also offers a breeder and foster program for families who live in the San Antonio area and are interested in offering short-term care to dogs. More than 100 puppies at Lackland can be fostered for the first two to six months of their lives. Foster families must bring the dogs to Lackland for monthly check-ups and must work diligently to socialize the puppy.

"We want the puppies to spend time with the families to socialize them to their new environment," Jordan said. "Foster families are screened just as rigorously, if not more so, than adopting families."

The cradle-to-grave philosophy of caring for dogs is the hallmark of the department's military working dog adoption program and schoolhouse, Hertog said. "There is no shortage of suitable homes ready and willing to provide a comfortable retirement for our four-legged heroes," she added.

In an effort to further clarify the adoption process, the schoolhouse recently launched an adoption Web site for families who want to take in dogs for fostering or adoption.

(Air Force Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle serves in the secretary of the Air Force public affairs office.)

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Abraham S. Wheeler III, 22, of Columbia, S.C., died Aug. 28 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

For more information media may contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at (315) 772-5461.

McChrystal Delivers Afghan Assessment to U.S., NATO Leaders

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 31, 2009 - The commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan has completed his assessment of the situation there and has forwarded it to NATO and U.S. leaders, Defense Department officials said today. Speaking to reporters during a visit to a Lockheed-Martin F-35 plant in Fort Worth, Texas, today, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he has not yet seen Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's assessment, but expects to read it in the next day or two.

The secretary said he believes the assessment will point to the challenges before foreign and Afghan troops. "I think it will also point to areas where we can do better and can make improvements in our strategy and tactics," he said. "There is no question that we have a tough fight ahead of us in Afghanistan, and a lot of challenges."

McChrystal also forwarded the assessment to NATO Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen.

"While there is a lot of gloom and doom going around, I think General McChrystal's assessment will be a realistic one and set forth the challenges we have in front of us," Gates said. "At the same time, we have some assets in place and some developments that hold promise."

The number of U.S. and European troops in Afghanistan has increased, with 62,000 American servicemembers and 39,000 from NATO and NATO-partner nations serving there, he said.

With more troops, more areas can be accessed and cleared of the Taliban, al-Qaida and other terror groups. "This means our casualties will be higher," Gates acknowledged. "I am concerned about getting assets into Afghanistan to help us deal with the improvised explosive device problem."

All-terrain, mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles should be deploying to the country in October. "We are also in the process of putting significant additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities there as well," the secretary said. Such assets are credited with pinpointing bomb-makers and bomb-making sites in Iraq.

McChrystal's report is a confidential military assessment, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said earlier today, and there is no plan to release it publicly. The assessment does not have specific requests for more forces or more funding, he added, noting that only after leaders are able to digest the assessment will discussions in NATO and Washington on forces and funding begin.

"We have been very explicit that General McChrystal be forthright in telling us what he needs in order to accomplish the mission that he has been given," Gates said. "We will look at his assessment and then we will look at his resource recommendations."

While the assessment looks primarily at security, other areas such as governance, the economy and political developments also shape the report, military officials in Kabul said.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Aug. 28 in Rashid, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their vehicle with an explosively formed penetrator. Both Soldiers were assigned to the 41st Special Troops Battalion, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon Army National Guard in Portland.

Killed were:

Sgt. Earl D. Werner, 38, of Mondovi, Wis.; and

Pvt. Taylor D. Marks, 19, of Monmouth, Ore.

For more information on these Soldiers, media may contact the Oregon Army National Guard, 503-584-3886.

Friday, August 28, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, August 28, 2009

Michigan Security Network formed to accelerate growth of homeland security business in the state
"Sixteen leading Michigan companies, universities and other groups have joined forces to create the Michigan Security Network as a platform to accelerate technology development, investment and jobs for the state in the fast growing homeland security sector. […] 'We have huge advantages in research and development, human resources, even geography that make Michigan companies ideally suited for a bigger slice of the $113 billion homeland security market,' [said Leslie Touma, president of the Michigan Security Network]. […] The Michigan Security Network has identified three key areas offering the greatest potential within homeland security: cyber security, border security and biodefense. […] Michigan Security Network will build a comprehensive homeland security database and leverage its market research, expertise and business networks to bring funding and investment to the state. […] 'Michigan's international border with Canada and our well-established centers of excellence in software, defense, medical and biotechnology research provide a strong foundation we can build upon,' Touma said. […] The Michigan Security Network is planning its first technology conference on November 4, 2009 at the Dearborn Hyatt. The conference will provide Michigan companies the opportunity to showcase their products and technologies with homeland security experts, meet decision makers and leadership from key federal agencies, and hear presentations on the opportunities available in cyber security, biodefense and border security." (Fox Business; 25Aug09)

RTM [Representative Town Meeting] approves $ for town health services [Fairfield, CT]
"Working to improve Fairfield's public health profile by strengthening the town's ability to provide adequate health services, the Department of Health and the First Selectman's office requested several budget increases for a variety of programs at Monday night's Representative Town Meeting [RTM]. The requests covered the health care spectrum including those related to substance abuse, Medical Reserve Corps, weight management and nutrition and public health emergencies. […] The final request from the Health Department was for $61,839 to cover the costs of Fairfield's continued planning and response to bioterrorism, pandemic influenza and other public health emergencies. The town expects to continue to develop the Local Bioterrorism and Public Health Emergency Response Plan along with its mass dispensing plan. This year a portion of the grant money will go to the dispensing of the H1N1 vaccine." (Fairfield Minuteman; 27Aug09; Brigid Quinn)

FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] issues report on personal preparedness in America
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency has released a new report titled 'Personal preparedness in America: findings from the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey' that offers data on the public's thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors related to preparedness and community safety for multiple types of hazards. FEMA says the report's findings are particularly relevant as the nation prepares for a possible pandemic flu outbreak, hurricane season, and other hazards. Results from the national survey have important implications for the development of more effective communication and outreach strategies to achieve greater levels of preparedness and participation, the agency says. […] Communications to the public should convey a more realistic understanding of emergency response capacity and emphasize the importance of self-reliance. FEMA concludes that messaging should thus speak to a shared responsibility and stress that everyone has a role to play in preparedness and response. […] The survey results indicate that […] only 7 percent of individuals felt that nothing they did would help them handle a natural disaster, whereas 35 percent felt nothing they did would help them in an act of terrorism, such as a biological, chemical, radiological, or explosive attack. […] The report […] says it is important to emphasize the survivability of manmade disasters and the relevant protective measures for these hazards." (Occupational Health and Safety; 27Aug09) http://ohsonline.com/articles/2009/08/27/fema-on-personal-preparedness.aspx

Anti-terrorism fight has local connection, could bring jobs [Elkhart, IN]
"More than 100 new jobs could be headed to Elkhart in the coming years because of efforts to stop bio-terrorism. Thermodyne, an Elkhart research and engineering firm, produced technology that kills things like anthrax [bacteria] on delivered mail. […] Now the company has its hands in anti-terrorism with the Mail Defender. 'This is only the core of the machine that uses three major technologies that eradicates anthrax [bacteria], ricin, botulism [sic], AIDS [virus] and any other pathogen that could be harmful through the mail system,' [Patrick] Heller [product design engineer in Elkhart] explained. […] Removing toxins is as simple as using a microwave oven. 'You put the letter in,' Heller said, 'then you take it out.' The machine's combination of heat, microwave and ultraviolet technology makes harmful pathogens non-existent. 'It doesn't detect anything,' said Heller. 'If there is something in there, it kills it.' It comes at a time when federal mandates from HSPD-7 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive) demand all federal buildings find and develop methods of protection against bio-terrorism threats. […] Heller said the price tag is less than $100,000." (WSBT News 22; 26Aug09) http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/55138377.html

New method needed for assessing disease dangers, [New Approaches to Biological Risk Assessment] report says
"Faced with a host of biological threats and limited by finite resources, policy-makers must find a better way to determine which risks demand their greatest attention, a panel of high-level experts said in a recent report. In February, the British Royal Society and the International Council for the Life Sciences brought together representatives from a number of disciplines […] for a one-day workshop in London. The resulting report, New Approaches to Biological Risk Assessment, was published last month. The document calls for creation of a new system to assess the 'full spectrum' of disease-related dangers, from those found in nature to those produced intentionally to cause harm. […] The report acknowledges the difficulty of preparing a singular methodology given the varying hazards included in the spectrum and the limited data available on some threats, particularly biological terrorism. However, a failure to scour the vast array of potential threats might mean that a serious risk goes undetected, according to workshop participants. […] 'The risk of bioterrorism should not obscure concerns that states may remain interested in or consider revisiting biological weapons, given the history of numerous military programs that developed biological agents as weapons against humans, animals and plants,' it reads. State interest in development of nonlethal incapacitating agents for law enforcement or counterterrorism might lead to production of materials that could be considered biological threats. […] The report is first a call to action, but it also offers ideas for dealing with the biological threats it addresses. The best strategy to combat all forms of biological threats is through augmented public health capabilities, [Terence] Taylor [president of the life sciences council] said." (Global Security Newswire; 28Aug09; Chris Schneidmiller) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/ts_20090828_1624.php

White House, scientists discuss biological threats
"The Obama administration recently convened the first in what could be a series of meeting with dozens of biological scientists and research analysts in an effort to bolster the White House's evolving strategy on bioterrorism, Global Security Newswire has learned. The Aug. 13 meeting at the White House Conference Center brought together roughly 40 participants to discuss 'policies to prevent intentional biothreats,' according to one international analyst who attended the session and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The discussion was led by Laura Holgate, the National Security Council's senior director for WMD terrorism and threat reduction, and James Petro, a top official in the office, one expert told GSN early last week. Participants said the discussion focused on three broad themes: biological threats to the nation, existing international initiatives used to combat bioterrorism, and the role nongovernment organizations could play in the administration's strategy. The conversation also addressed ways the White House could approach the Biological Weapons Convention and its 2011 review conference, including reaffirming adherence to the principles of the treaty or finding pragmatic alternatives to the compact. 'The administration is trying to think through what the agenda will be for addressing the challenges of bioterrorism,' Brian Finlay, a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center who attended the meeting, told GSN. […] The discussion was not intended to address specific plans for biological defense." (Global Security Newswire; 28Aug09; Martin Matishak) http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/ts_20090828_3718.php

Consigli [Construction Co. Inc.] wins Navy emergency facility construction contract [NH]
"Consigli Construction Co. Inc. of Milford has been awarded a $9 million contract for the construction of an emergency control center at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire. The project includes a three-level, steel-framed reinforced concrete facility with a below-ground first level to support radiological emergency responses. The building will house the shipyard's radiological emergency response organization and will serve as its command center during an emergency. It will also support responses to other emergencies, such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. […] The project is expected to be completed by April 2011. The contract was awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command based in Norfolk, Va." (Worcester Business Journal; 28Aug09; Matthew L. Brown) http://www.wbjournal.com/news44397.html

Terrorism disaster drill readied: response to simulated attack expected to tie up traffic on monday [Charleston, SC]
"Traffic around the Naval Weapons Station on Monday is expected to be tied up for a disaster drill involving a simulated terror[ist] attack. The drill will run from 8 a.m. until noon. […] Officials are not releasing what the terror[ism] scenario will be ahead of time, but as many as 80 actors who will be playing dead or injured people are expected to be involved. […] The exercise will be conducted in its entirety on Naval Weapons Station Charleston. It is designed to let personnel from the base, as well as various local, county, state and federal agencies, demonstrate their training and ability to react to a disaster. Businesses around the area are also being informed of what to expect. Scheduled to participate in the exercise are the Berkeley County Emergency Preparedness Department […] and Berkeley County's COBRA Team (Chemical, Ordnance, Biological, Radiological, Assessment)." (Post and Courier; 28Aug09; Schuyler Kropf) http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/aug/28/terrorism-disaster-drill-readied/

RI Nat. Guard to hold WMD exercise [Newport, RI]
"A unit from the Rhode Island National Guard specializing in attacks involving weapons of mass destruction will hold a three-day public exercise. […] The Newport and Providence Police Departments, along with fire departments from both cities, will also take part in the exercise being conducted by the National Guard's 13th Civil Support Team (CST). The multi-agency drill will focus on National Guard support of police and fire departments in the wake of a chemical, biological, or nuclear attack. The exercise, which will be centered at the U.S. Coast Guard's Castle Hill Station, will use several other locations in and around the Newport Harbor area. Officials from the National Guard said the exercise is designed to improve the readiness level and relationship between the 13th CST and two of the larger first response agencies in the state. Evaluators from the U.S Army Northern Command (NorthComm) will also assess the CST unit during the exercise. The exercise will take place from Tuesday, August 25 through Thursday, August 27." (WPRI Eyewitness News; 24Aug09; Ann-Marie Nicholson) http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_wpri_RI_National_Guard_to_hold_WMD_exercise_20090824_avn

Gap exercise tests WMD response [Fort Indiantown Gap, PA]
"Debris littered the street and smoke wafted through the air Thursday after an explosion caused a partial building collapse. […] This was a weapons-of-mass-destruction and emergency-response exercise at Fort Indiantown Gap. The exercise […] was led by the Pennsylvania National Guard and was held at the Gap's Combined Arms Collective Training Facility. It involved more than 190 National Guard members. […] The exercise was designed to test such areas as initial response, search and rescue, evacuation, crime-scene preservation and mass decontamination. […] 'Law-enforcement officers and local fire departments responded, but they were unable to fully mitigate the situation, so they called for our assistance,' said Maj. Mark Thomas, commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard's chemical /biological/radiological/nuclear/high-yield-explosive Enhanced Response Force Package, or CERFP. After a recon of the 'hot zone,' search-and-extraction team members in full protective suits located survivors and carried them to a casualty-collection point. The casualties were then taken to a decontamination line, where they were thoroughly cleaned. Once cleaned, the survivors were triaged by medical personnel and sent for medical care. To add realism, smoke and 'flash-bang' concussion grenades were constantly set off during the exercise." (Lebanon Daily News; 27Aug09; Brad Rhen)

Science and technology keeping Canadians safe
"Russian encroachment in the north, rapidly spreading pandemics and international terrorism are just some issues Canada's Centre for Security Science monitors when tackling national public safety. The centre is a joint endeavor between Defence Research and Development Canada and Public Safety Canada. Its primary goal is to use cutting edge science and technology to make sure Canada can respond rapidly and properly to any security threat. […] The country currently has a number of tools at its disposal that could be rapidly deployed in the event of a catastrophic breach of national security. Some of those tools include mobile biological and chemical detection and treatment stations, advanced antibodies in development for fighting toxins such as ricin and computer models that show how toxic clouds from a nuclear plant or oil refinery fire could spread through a city. 'We've made large investments in the process and methodologies of identifying risk,' [Mark] Williamson [the centre's deputy director general] said, saying those investments were crucial to advancing the science and technology needed to keep residents safe. Williamson also outlined key priorities the centre has identified as crucial to protecting public safety in Canada, as well as areas that are currently receiving funding to help develop the science and technology necessary for protecting that safety. One of the priorities includes protecting against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. […] Williamson said one of the keys to ensuring that public security was adequate in Canada was to realize the changing scope of security in an increasingly international and interconnected world, and to make sure public security Canada was adapting to increasingly more complex and dangerous threats." (New Brunswick Business Journal; 27Aug09; John Shmuel)

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Kurt R. Curtiss, 27, of Murray, Utah, died Aug. 26 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was shot while his unit was supporting Afghan security forces during an enemy attack. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

For more information the media may contact the U.S. Army, Alaska, public affairs office at (907) 384-1542.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Pfc. Matthew E. Wildes, 18, of Hammond, La., died Aug. 27 in Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

For more information media may contact the Fort Carson public affairs office at (719) 526-7525; after hours (719) 526-5500.

Airman Shows Strength for Recovery

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - An explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 437th Civil Engineer Squadron here mustered the strength to brace himself and stand for the first time in three weeks Aug. 21 after an explosion turned his deployment upside down. "I just want to take each day slowly but surely. In the next week or two, I heard, I could be on crutches," Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Williams said. "The doctors are saying I'm doing really well."

The explosion occurred when Williams came face to face with an antipersonnel landmine while deployed to Afghanistan.

Williams was critically injured. He received initial care at a medical facility in Afghanistan, and the following day, he was flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Less than a week after the explosion, a long voyage over Europe and the Atlantic Ocean began toward his final destination at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

When Williams landed on his home soil Aug. 7, a warm welcome was waiting for him from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy. The two joined him on the flightline aboard his plane, Williams said, honoring the wounded warrior with a noteworthy homecoming.

"I didn't ask to meet them or anything -- they were already there when I got there," he said. "They were real nice. They asked how I was doing and everything, and made sure I was doing well."

Shortly after, he was transported to Walter Reed, where he spent the next few weeks undergoing care in the surgery ward, still unable to walk or stand on his own. The first stages of rehabilitation are under way, but Williams said the process easily can last up to a year.

In addition to support from medical staff, his family has been ever present, steadfast and supportive since the day he arrived at Walter Reed, he said, and the help hasn't stopped there.

Williams' Air Force family also has stepped in to help.
The Air Force Wounded Warrior program kicked into gear immediately to support Williams after he was injured, and careful watch has been placed on his progress every step of the way, an Air Force Wounded Warrior consultant at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, said.

The Wounded Warrior program operates in support of an Office of the Secretary of Defense initiative to ensure all wounded warriors receive comprehensive information and guidance on benefits and entitlements. The program begins at the point of injury and continues for life.

Because Williams is recovering at a facility that falls outside of his home unit's chain of command, he has been assigned a family liaison officer. The officer serves as a wounded warrior's primary point of contact for information, assistance and communication with various agencies serving the member.

Fortunately for Williams, his family liaison officer is not only a fellow explosive ordnance disposal airman, but also a longtime friend stationed near Walter Reed.

Another acquaintance, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Raymond Pomeroy, the EOD flight chief for the 437th Civil Engineer Squadron here, made a special trip to see Williams.

Pomeroy said a great deal of work and preparation has taken place here to set the stage for Williams to return and receive his medical care from a local hospital closer to home.

"We're ready to get him back home where he belongs," he said.

Williams said he'd like to return home to celebrate Thanksgiving and also plans to take a vacation in December. Until then, he said, he is receiving first-class care from a well-rounded team of health care providers at Walter Reed.

"Any time I need something, there's usually more than one person willing to help me with whatever it is I need or any problems, or anything," Williams said. "And if it's not something they can do specifically right then, they're always willing to get someone else who can do it."

Williams said he is grateful for his recovery so far and wants to continue to take things slow.

"You have to have a good attitude. Things could always be worse," he said. "I'm happy with the way things turned out. I can still see my son and everything else."

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles serves in the 437th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)

Sniper's Eye Counters Smuggling in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - Marine Corps snipers and designated marksmen have been operating across the vast Iraqi deserts since the outbreak of hostilities in 2003. As with all units operating in Iraq, past and present, they have found themselves evolving to meet the changing needs of the Iraqi military and political landscape.

Small teams of snipers are finding reasons to venture into the constantly shifting environment that exists in a place referred to simply as "outside the wire."

"Working with previously gathered information, we gather additional intelligence and conduct operations watching over possible insurgent hot spots, caches or [improvised explosive device] cells," said Army Sgt. Neftaly Estremera, a chief scout with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Headquarters and Service Company. "We provide surveillance and [reconnaissance] capabilities for areas of interest."

As their larger parent unit –- the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion -- moves around the desert, relying on its combat power by combining force with local military and public support, the designated marksman teams operate in the shadows, far from the public eye.

"The sniper's job is different," said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Russell Injerd, an assistant team leader for the battalion. "While the team leader plans the missions, the assistant team leader is the supervisor. Having a job like this means that not only do you operate in the shadows, but you also work to ensure that when others are busy, you're filling in the gaps."

It is these qualities that Marines within the designated marksman teams said they like most.

"I love operating; I mean really, what is there to not like?" Estremera said. "Yes, the sand fleas tear you up, but at least you know you're actually making a difference. We've been able to stop [people trying] to come [across the border] illegally. It's getting to the point now where it's mainly just illegal cigarette smuggling. We've come a long way."

A marksman often is called on to take creative approaches to mission accomplishment. This is something team members said not only is essential, but also is one of the unique elements of the job.

"The guidance is pretty general," Injerd said. "It's a good line of work, because you get to be creative with your mission planning. That's something not many units ever truly get to do."

A large part of mission planning is location. Snipers have the luxury of choosing where to establish themselves and how best to insert. While other, larger formations are limited by their loud engines and shouted squad commands, the marksman teams can slip in and out once they've decided on where to conduct their work.

"We usually insert anywhere from one to two kilometers from the operating zone," Injerd added. "We'll go over the plan, mount up and then move to wherever it is that we feel we can accomplish the mission most effectively."

While many movies and books tend to emphasize the marksmanship skills of the Marine sniper and designated marksman, marksman team members find that their true skills are in not having to fire a shot at all. Much like policemen around the world, the snipers are there to gather evidence and gain a visual perspective while keeping themselves unseen.

After the "insert," which Injerd described as the trickiest part of an operation, the team goes back to one of the fundamentals of infantry operations: communications.

"Once we have communications established, we check out the area and move into our selected [position]," Injerd explained. "From there, we set up and watch out. If we catch the bad guys committing crimes like smuggling, we call in for ground units."

(From a Multinational Corps Iraq news release.)

Iraqis Benefit From U.S. Medical Training

By Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr.
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 28, 2009 - Soldiers of 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment's Task Force "Saber" and Iraqi security forces worked together to provide advanced medical training to Iraqi forces in southern Iraq's Maysan province. Members of the Majaar al Kabir District Police and 1st Battalion, 41st Iraqi Army Brigade, participated in combat lifesaver training led by task force medics, military police and border transition team members.

"This training will save lives -- both Iraqi and quite possibly U.S.," said Army 1st Lt. Keith Chiro, a platoon leader assigned to 2nd Platoon, 57th Military Police Company.

The hands-on focus of the training helped to bridge the language barrier, Chiro said, resulting in a better understanding of medical techniques.

The combat lifesaver course consisted of lectures and practical exercises that focused on various techniques practiced by U.S. forces, including casualty evaluation, tourniquet application, airway clearing, blunt trauma treatment, splinting, hot and cold weather injury recognition and treatment, intravenous management and shock treatment.

For some students, IV needle application caused the most anxiety. For most, this was their first experience applying and receiving an IV. Detailed instructions and demonstrations built confidence and trust, with numerous Saber medics serving as patients.
Iraqi trainees demonstrated their medical proficiency in a culminating exercise overseen by the deputy commander of the Majaar al Kabir police and the commander of 1st Battalion, 41st Brigade.

"We couldn't have asked for a better group to work with," said Army Spc. Allen Steele, a medic assigned to 2nd Platoon, 57th Military Police Company. "In-depth questions proved how interested they were in learning about more advanced medical training."

While the class has ended, officials said they plan to continue the partnership.

"This training was only the beginning of our partnership," Steele said. The squadron's next step is to plan "train the trainer" classes.

Advise-and-assist partnerships like these pave the way for Iraqi security force success, officials said. Graduates now will be able to treat anything from routine to life-threatening medical conditions with confidence, benefiting the people of Maysan province.

(Army 2nd Lt. Juan Torres Jr. serves with the 1st Armored Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guard Troops Move Detainees in Southern Iraq

By Army Spc. Tyler Lasure
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Moving several hundred detainees across Iraq is a daunting task, but for two Wisconsin Army National Guard companies, it's just another day on the job. The two companies -- Company A, 132nd Brigade Support Battalion, from Janesville, and Company C, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, from Fond du Lac, -- are responsible for transferring detainees from the camp here in southern Iraq to theater internment facilities farther north. These movements are part of the consolidation of internment facilities in Iraq and the eventual turnover of operations to the Iraqi government.

Once transferred, detainees will continue serving their sentences or be released.

"It's basically transferring the detainees from one base to another, so it [reduces] the footprint in the southeastern area of Iraq," said Army Capt. Anthony Klemme, commander of Company C, 2-127th Infantry, and a truck commander on the transfer missions. "The number of detainees in Iraq has dropped from an all-time high in the 20,000 range down to less than 12,000."

Alpha 132 is responsible for outprocessing detainees and delivering them to transport, while Charlie 127 provides convoy security.

Starting early each day, troops from Alpha Company ensure all goes smoothly by taking on tasks such as processing paperwork, feeding detainees, escorting them to latrines, providing water and quelling any problems that may arise.

The soldiers make sure the detainees are under control and that are treated with respect, said Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Masseur. "They follow the three C's: care, custody and control."

When the detainees are loaded onto buses at the end of the day, soldiers of Charlie Company take charge.

The desert sun already is setting when soldiers perform the last precombat checks on their mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, known as MRAPs. They shovel down a meal, load their weapons and roll out. It is going to be a long night, and everything needs to go right.

Charlie Company provides convoy security from the camp here to a military flightline. Soldiers must not only prepare for a convoy attack, but also be able to restore order if a disturbance erupts among the detainees.

The soldiers pull security duty until the plane reaches its destination safely. While they wait, soldiers stretch their legs, read, or take in the quiet of the desert night. This is an opportunity to peace and quiet in an often hectic environment.

As the sun rises over the desert the next morning, the soldiers return to camp and begin preparing for their next mission.

With a decreasing number of detainees held here, these soldiers essentially are working themselves out of a job, but Klemme sees other opportunities for his company after all the detainees are transferred. "I think once we're done with this mission, we will pick up other missions and help out with the other companies," he said.

Army Spc. Andrew Alexander, a gunner on one of Charlie Company's MRAPs, said he believes the mission is having an impact. "I find it rewarding that after we leave this country the people will have a sense of freedom."

(Army Spc. Tyler Lasure serves with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team.)

'Sons of Iraq' Gain Iraqi Government Jobs

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Several years ago, tens of thousands of Sunni fighters considered themselves enemies of the Iraqi government and its U.S. conspirators, but after switching allegiances, these former insurgents now are filling the ranks of Iraq's ministries and armed forces. Thousands of these "Sons of Iraq" -- the moniker given to those Sunni combatants who defected from insurgent groups to fight alongside U.S. and Iraqi security forces -- recently gained employment as government workers in Baghdad. Another 13,000 have jobs as Iraqi policemen or soldiers.

Though once part of the al-Qaida-aligned resistance in Iraq, these fighters left the insurgency in droves in 2007 amid the surge of U.S. troops, notably in Anbar province as part of a broader movement that was later dubbed the Anbar "Awakening," or "Sahwa."

"It started with the Sahwa movement where the Sunni Iraqis recognized the true nature of al-Qaida," Army Maj. Gen. John Johnson, deputy commander for Multinational Corps Iraq, told reporters in a news conference today. "They rejected that ideology and ultimately stood side by side with their countrymen and with U.S. forces to bring al-Qaida to the point they're at today."

All told, the Iraqi government hopes to hire the entire 89,000-strong Sons of Iraq force. Though less than one-fifth has been hired, Baghdad continues to integrate the forces into their ranks, Johnson said, providing a progress update on the Sons of Iraq today.

"There was the recent transfer of over 3,300 Sons of Iraq into 18 government of Iraq ministries," he said. "These examples help illustrate the maturing capabilities and strength of the government and its security forces."

About 20 percent, or nearly 18,000 Sons of Iraq, will enlist as members of the Iraqi security forces when the rounds of hiring are complete.

"It's pretty amazing when you think about the level of sacrifice that these men have made for their country," Johnson said. "And it's important to recognize that they're an integral part of the security for this country."

In the past, bureaucratic and budgetary issues created problems related to salaries paid to the Sons of Iraq. But Johnson said the Iraqi government has taken steps to rectify these lapses and reimburse wages lost.

"Here in this last month, the Sons of Iraq were paid double pay to catch them up from back pay to make sure that they have what they deserve for helping with the security of this country," he said.

Though many are still waiting for jobs within the Iraqi government, Johnson said, they see signs of progress with the hiring of fellow Sons of Iraq. He noted that the former insurgents are proud to take a stake in their country's security.

"They see that their brothers are moving into ministerial jobs," he said. "They also see that many of them have moved into the security forces. So I think that they see this progress, and they're willing to continue to participate in providing security until it's their turn to be moved into governmental jobs.

"From talking to the Sons of Iraq and from talking with our commanders who work with them daily, I think they're very proud of the job they're doing in assisting with the security here," he said.

Police, Special Ops Forces Arrest Terrorists in Iraq

American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Iraqi police and special operations forces arrested 11 terrorism suspects in Iraq in recent days, military officials reported. Along with U.S. forces advisors, Baghdad's emergency response brigade -- an elite police unit -- arrested a suspected terrorist leader Aug. 25. The unit was operating under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's authority, officials said. The suspect allegedly is involved with insurgent groups and attacks against civilians and Iraqi security forces.

Also operating with U.S. forces advisors, the emergency response brigade arrested another suspected terrorist in Baghdad the same day under the authority of a warrant issued by the Investigative Court of Resafe. The suspect allegedly is affiliated with insurgent groups and wanted for conducting bomb attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces.

On Aug. 24, also in Baghdad, the emergency response brigade -- along with U.S. forces advisors and operating under the authority of a warrant issued by the Babil District Court -- arrested another suspected terrorist. The suspect allegedly is affiliated with insurgent groups and was wanted for weapons smuggling and bomb attacks against civilians and Iraqi security forces.

Also in Baghdad, Iraqi special operations forces, along with U.S. forces advisors, arrested five suspected terrorists Aug. 24 and 25 under the authority of warrants issued by the Central Investigative Court of Karkh. They allegedly are affiliated with al-Qaida in Iraq and have been responsible for terrorist activities against Iraqi government officials and security forces.

In Iraq's Salahuddin province, Iraqi soldiers with the 4th Emergency Response Battalion, along with U.S. forces advisors, arrested three suspected terrorists at their homes Aug. 25 under warrants issued by the provincial Central Investigation Court for suspicion of terrorist activities.

(Compiled from Multinational Corps Iraq news releases.)

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died Aug. 25 in southern Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Killed were:

Capt. John L. Hallett III, 30, of California.

Capt. Cory J. Jenkins, 30, of Arizona.

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald W. Sawyer, 38, of Trenton, Mo.

Pfc. Dennis M. Williams, 24, of Federal Way, Wash.

For more information media may contact the Fort Lewis public affairs office at (253) 967-0152, (253) 967-0147, or after hours (253) 967-0015 (ask for the public affairs officer on call).

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Donald J. Hogan, 20, of San Clemente, Calif., died Aug. 26 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For more information the media may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at (760) 725-8766.

Energy Efficiency Helps Environment, Saves Money in Iraq

By Christen N. McCluney
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 27, 2009 - Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq officials are working to boost energy efficiency in the Iraqi infrastructure to help the environment and boost cost savings, command officials said. Energy efficiency affects the environment by reducing air pollution and the economy by reducing fuel costs.

"Since energy impacts the environment and the economy, it makes sense to ensure that the construction of the Iraqi security infrastructure is done in the most energy-efficient manner. This will properly set the conditions needed to encourage cost savings and employ sound environmental practices," Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas N. Williams Jr., chief of planning for the command's engineering directorate, said yesterday during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable from Baghdad.

The initiatives include training Iraqi forces to boost their environmental efficiency by performing proper maintenance on vehicles and power generators, Williams said. By doing so, he explained, they will burn less oil, which will increase cost efficiency and decrease pollutants in the environment. Other training includes fuel consumption reduction, load balancing, preventive maintenance, leak detection, proper collection and disposal of used oil and hazardous material handling procedures.

"Trying to manage resources and use them carefully has a positive impact on the economy and the environment," Williams said.

Iraqis are seeing the effects of drought on their agriculture, Williams said, and need to be attentive to irrigation. They also are beginning to realize the impact of dumping oil and waste products in water instead of recycling or properly disposing of them.

"Energy is a nonrenewable resource, so you do want to manage it as carefully as possible," he said. "The better we manage it now and the more energy efficient we are now, the longer we have it to set up more secure infrastructures."

Williams added command officials are working to train Iraqis to maintain facilities so their efforts continue long after U.S. forces depart the country. By keeping the focus on energy efficiency, he said, the work will have a long-lasting impact.

"When you look at the three E's --energy, environment and economy -- they are very interactive and complementary to each other," he said. "We think that concentrating on the energy aspect will have a bigger impact on the other two."

Along with helping to build Iraqi infrastructure, Williams said, energy efficiency also will help to keep the gains already made with Iraqi security.

(Christen N. McCluney works in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Face of Defense: Guard Soldier Finds Adventure

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey S. Mullett
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 26, 2009 - While some people join the Army to find adventure for the first time, a deployed soldier here said she joined to add to the adventures she's already had. Army Sgt. Sierra Harbison, a food service specialist here with Company E, 1st Battalion, 150th Aviation Regiment, Assault Helicopter Battalion, said she first started seeking new experiences while in high school.

"When I was 17, I had just finished my junior year in high school and I was selected through my church for a Rotary Club exchange program to do missionary work in Chivilcoy, Argentina, a small city in Buenos Aires province," Harbison said. "I spent my senior year living with my exchange family and working with children at an orphanage. It was very hard to see so many kids suffering from abuse and neglect, but at the same time, it felt really good to try your very best every day to help them."

Harbison said she became attached to her adopted family, and came to view their father as her own. "He was my second father, you could say," she said.

After the exchange program ended, she returned to Argentina numerous times to visit her second family.

"I have gone back to Argentina intermittently over the last several years, staying for a few months or a few weeks each time," she said. "I tried to visit as often as I could, which turned out to be five out of the last seven years."

The area where her second family lives is a beautiful, rural area with agriculture and horse farms just outside the city, she said.

Harbison had completed some of her college education since her initial visit to Chivilcoy, but at 22, she was seeking benefits. Her brother planned to become a member of the Montana Army National Guard, and he talked her into accompanying him to talk to a recruiter. She liked what he had to say. Harbison, not her brother, ended up being the one to join the National Guard.

The Missoula, Mont., native said she came in as a private first class because of her associate's degrees in Spanish and social science from the University of Montana.

She spent time serving with the Montana State Honor Guard, "doing funeral details and color guards when, due to some personal issues, I decided I needed to do something else," she said.

"I found out the 28th [Combat Aviation Brigade] in Pennsylvania was mobilizing and headed to Iraq," she said. "I volunteered to go with them on the deployment."

Harbison arrived at Fort Sill, Okla., on Feb. 7, and joined the soldiers of her deploying unit. "I have gone from [private first class] to sergeant in just over two years, and I feel like I have so many great opportunities open to me now as a result of joining the National Guard," she said.

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey S. Mullett serves in the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade.)

The CIA's Vietnam Histories

Newly-Declassified CIA Histories Show Its Involvement in Every Aspect of the Indochina War


For more information contact:
John Prados, 202/994-7000

August 26, 2009 - The Central Intelligence Agency participated in every aspect of the wars in Indochina, political and military, according to newly declassified CIA histories, published today on the National Security Archive Web site. The six volumes of formerly secret histories (the Agency's belated response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Archive senior fellow John Prados) document CIA activities in South and North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in unprecedented detail. The histories contain a great deal of new material and shed light on aspects of the CIA's work that were not well known or were poorly understood. The new revelations include:

* The CIA and U.S. Embassy engaged in secret diplomatic exchanges with enemy insurgents of the National Liberation Front, at first with the approval of the South Vietnamese government, a channel which collapsed in the face of deliberate obstruction by South Vietnamese officials.

* CIA officers predicted as early as 1954 that Saigon leader Ngo Dinh Diem would ultimately fail to gain the support of the South Vietnamese people. Meanwhile the CIA crafted a case officer-source relationship with Diem's brother Ngo Dinh Nhu as early as 1952, a time when the French were still fighting for Indochina.

* CIA raids into North Vietnam took place as late as 1970, and the program authorizing them was not terminated until April 1972, despite obtaining no measurable results.

* In 1965, a time when the South Vietnamese regime was again in conflict with the Buddhist majority, the CIA secretly funded Buddhist training programs.

* CIA involvement in South Vietnamese elections goes beyond what has been previously disclosed, and matches the scope of the Agency's controversial 1960s political action program in Chile.

* In the later period of the war, according to the CIA's own historian, Saigon leader Nguyen Van Thieu's mistrust of the United States increasingly focused on the CIA.

* The CIA historian, contrary to neo-orthodox arguments regarding progress in the Vietnam war, concedes that U.S. pacification efforts failed in Vietnam--including the so-called "Phoenix" program--and traces this failure to several causes, including South Vietnamese lack of interest and investment in this key facet of the conflict.

* The CIA was aware from the very early 1960s of the problems posed by Laotian drug trafficking to its Laos campaign, but not only took no action, it did not even make drug trafficking a reporting requirement until the Nixon administration declared war on drugs.

Visit the Archive Web site for more information:


Stavridis: Afghanistan Situation Challenging, But Winnable

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Aug. 26, 2009 - The war in Afghanistan is challenging, but winnable, the commander of U.S. European Command -- who also serves as NATO's top military commander -- wrote in a "From the Bridge" blog post on Eucom's Web site yesterday. The situation in Afghanistan is "extremely serious," Navy Adm. James G. Stavridis wrote, but he expressed confidence that "the coalition, working with the Afghan people, will ultimately win."

"The stakes are high, [and] the situation is extremely challenging," Stavridis conceded.

The admiral echoed NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's assessment that success will require an international team effort that brings both military and civilian assets to bear and more effort from the Afghans as well.

"NATO -- by which I mean both sides of the Atlantic -- will do its full part, but we can't do it alone," Rasmussen said.

After two visits to Afghanistan since assuming his dual commands earlier this summer, Stavridis said he agrees that the situation in Afghanistan, although serious, "is far from hopeless."

"What we do over the next year or so will set the course," he said.

Stavridis said much of the way forward will hinge on recommendations Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, makes in an assessment expected soon. But pending that assessment, Stavridis noted four fundamental keys to a successful outcome:

-- Putting the Afghan people at the center of gravity. Simply killing Taliban forces isn't enough, Stavridis said. It's also vital to reduce collateral damage, an effort he said is at the heart of McChrystal's approach.

-- Achieving an effective balance between civil and military activities. Security in Afghanistan requires a combination of economic, political, governance, medical, infrastructure and other deliverables, not just military might, Stavridis said. He cited a "3-D" approach -- diplomacy, development and defense -- promoted through interagency, international and private sector partners.

-- Effective strategic communication. Messages must be well defined and communicated to the citizens of Afghanistan as well as to the 42 nations that make up the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force there, Stavridis said. Meanwhile, he cited the need for a truthful, realistic antidote to negative Taliban messaging.

-- Training Afghan security forces. An effective number of trained, equipped and organized Afghan military and police forces is critical to long-term security, Stavridis said. Just how big this force should be will be addressed in McChrystal's assessment, but Stavridis said ultimately success will boil down to the Afghans' ability to defend and police their own nation.

Other elements are important, too: potential discussions with the so-called "reconcilable" Taliban, relations with Pakistan and other neighboring states, and counternarcotics work, Stavridis said.

"The needs and challenges are great, but the international community -- working together -- has sufficient resources," he said. "The key is partnership, transparency between all actors and timely action."

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, August 26, 2009

Protesters tell Montreal to change street name honouring British General [Jeffery Amherst]
"Protesters in Montreal are calling on the city to yank the name of a controversial British general from its street signs. About a dozen demonstrators gathered in front of city hall Monday to demand that politicians change the name of Amherst Street, which honours Jeffery Amherst. […] In a successful military career, Amherst led British forces to victory against the French in Canada in the mid-1700s. But some believe he used smallpox-infected [sic] blankets and handkerchiefs as a form of biological warfare against native Americans." (Canada East; 24Aug09)

W[est] P[ensylvannia] bioterrorism lab fails inspection [Lawrenceville, PA]
"Allegheny County's new high-tech bioterrorism laboratory has failed an inspection that's required for it to open. The lab in Lawrenceville is nearly two years behind schedule and $2 million over budget. It was expected to be open this month. The county hopes to have the problems fixed by the G-20 economic summit next month, but officials don't know what the work will cost. Inspector Larry Milchak says the correct alarms did not sound during several power failure scenarios. He says there were doors that didn't shut properly and improper seals that could allow contaminated air to escape. The laboratory is certified to handle materials like anthrax [bacteria] or smallpox [viruses]. It can examine viruses such as the [causative agent of] H1N1 swine flu." (Philadelphia Inquirer; 26Aug09; Source: AP) http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/state/pennsylvania/20090826_ap_wpabioterrorismlabfailsinspection.html

Laredo health dept., school district, install first internet system in nation for early I.D., tracking, decisions on 'swine flu' virus infection [TX]
"The City of Laredo Health Department (CLHD) and the Laredo Independent School District (LISD) are installing a 'first-in-the nation,' internet-based system for early identification of possible novel Influenza H1N1 virus infection of students, teachers and staff. […] The system, known as Argus1 provides […] 'point-of-contact surveillance for other forms of influenza as well as the potential to track other public health infectious diseases and chemical agents that the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security has identified as possible agents in a biological or chemical terrorist attack,' said Robert Burns, Director of Information Technology for Argus One Systems, Inc. […] 'This surveillance system is an important adjunct to track and monitor disease from the onset at the provider level and to quickly report to the CLHD for a rapid response intervention to contain disease,' said Hector Gonzalez, MD, MPH, Director of the city's Health Dept.' […] When a person's symptoms match any of nine categories of public health syndromes […] the exact time and location is reported to both the CLHD and to the central office of the School District, he said.
All reported cases are instantly displayed on a map of the City of Laredo so that potential cases are immediately tracked to help officials decide how to prevent its spread throughout the schools and the community at large." (Press Release Web; 26Aug09) http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/08/prweb2787514.htm

FDA [food and drug administration] approves military flu testing on portable lab
"Military doctors can use a portable polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing device to diagnose novel H1N1 flu infections in troops overseas, the FDA announced. The emergency authorization was approved 'to better protect our troops,' said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, in a statement. The device, called JBAIDS (Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System), is a rugged, suitcase-sized instrument that can run PCR-based molecular diagnostic tests. […] The development program […] was mainly focused on biological warfare and bioterrorism threat detection, but the mission also included the ability to test for naturally occurring infectious pathogens. The H1N1 flu testing on the device will use the PCR primers developed by the CDC for use in public health laboratories. Deployment will begin in September to combat units in the Middle East and Navy ships, according to the U.S. Army's Joint Project Management Office for Chemical [and] Biological Medical Systems." (Med Page Today; 26Aug09; John Gever)

Maryland hospitals to share data on swine flu, other diseases
"Maryland is launching a new surveillance system to monitor the outbreak of H1N1 virus and other diseases, Gov. Martin O'Malley unveiled Monday. Maryland's 46 acute-care hospitals are participating in the surveillance system, called the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, or Essence. The system gathers symptom data reported in hospital emergency rooms to track disease outbreaks, public health emergencies and suspicious patterns of illness that could serve as an early warning for chemical and bioterrorism attacks. The data will be shared among the 46 hospitals." (Washington Business Journal; 25Aug09; Julekha Dash) http://triangle.bizjournals.com/triangle/othercities/washington/stories/2009/08/24/daily34.html

Anti-terror[ism] antibodies: European scientists have developed a method to detect potential biological warfare agents in food
"A possible scenario for a bioterrorism attack could involve food contamination with protein toxins, such as ricin and botulinum neurotoxins, says Brigitte Dorner, researcher into microbial toxins, of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin. However, until now detecting toxins in such complex samples has been difficult. Dorner and colleagues in Germany and Switzerland have devised a highly sensitive system that can detect trace amounts of the toxins in foods such as milk, baby food and yoghurt. […] Dorner and coworkers have used an alternative technique, immobilising the toxins on microbeads to reduce their toxicity, allowing the team to generate antibodies quickly in vivo. […] In Luminex xMAP technology antibodies are covalently coupled to beads embedded with dyes that generate signals in response to different targets - in this case the toxins. Dorner explains: 'We further developed the Luminex xMAP technology to incorporate magnetic beads to allow us to analyse complex matrices.' The magnetic property means that the beads can be easily removed from food samples and can undergo automated washings. This makes toxin detection in foods possible where many other technologies have failed. […] Using the bead array, the researchers simultaneously detected trace amounts of five toxins, including ricin and botulinum neurotoxins, in food at lower concentrations than commercially available systems. Dorner says the technique has very good sensitivity. 'We are able to detect toxins down to a level of picograms per milliliter,' […] she says." (Royal Society of Chemistry; 26Aug09; Victoria Steven) http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/cb/Volume/2009/10/Antiterror_antibodies.asp

Police nab LeT [Lashkar-i-Tayyiba] militant [Mohammad Aslam] with explosives
"New Delhi police said they captured a suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba militant who was believed to be on his way to carry out attacks on a Hindu celebration. Police said they captured a 27-year-old militant identified as Mohammad Aslam at a railway station in New Delhi. Officials say he was seized with a variety of chemical weapons, detonators and timers sealed in two boxes of candy, Indian newspaper The Hindu reports. Authorities believe he may have been en route to help carry out attacks in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra as Hindus prepared for the Ganesh Chaturthi holiday. […] Police officials said Aslam was carrying an identity card from Kashmir when he was arrested." (United Press International; 26Aug09) http://www.upi.com/Emerging_Threats/2009/08/26/Police-nab-LeT-militant-with-explosives/UPI-71841251307212/

Pentagon must meet chemical weapons disposal deadline, U.S. lawmakers say
"Two U.S. lawmakers from Kentucky yesterday showed no signs of backing off the congressional demand that the nation's chemical-weapon arsenal be eliminated by 2017, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. […] The installation is expected to be the last site to finish off its arsenal of materials banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention, which sets a 2012 deadline on the United States. 'There are people who say that [2017] can't be met,' Senator Mitch McConnell (R) said following a visit with Representative Ben Chandler (D) to the unfinished Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. 'But that's the law. That's about eight years from now. Let's get to work. We'll get the money.' The Defense Department will try to finish work at Blue Grass before the deadline arrives, said project site manager Jeff Brubaker. […] The company expects to complete construction in 2016; Schlatter did not indicate when work might be finished if additional funds were allocated. The Pentagon appears likely to receive nearly $550 million in the next budget for preparation of chemical weapons neutralization at Blue Grass and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado." (Global Security Newswire; 26Aug09) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090826_9408.php

Regional course for national authorities in Asia on training escorts for inspections
"A 3-day Regional Training Course for National Authorities in Asia on Training Escorts for Inspections was held in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran from 8-10 August 2009. Over 40 participants from 15 States Parties in the region participated. The training course provided comprehensive information on the technical aspects of conducting Article VI inspections by the OPCW. The topics covered included the history of chemical weapons and international efforts to ban their use, the status of implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), and the role of National Authorities in implementing the CWC and interacting with stakeholders. […] Participants were familiarized with OPCW inspection procedures, specifically the rights and obligations of States Parties in facilitating the smooth conduct of inspections. […] The Regional Training Course was followed by a 3-day national training course in Tehran from 11-13 August
2009 to train escorts for inspections, which attracted more than 50 participants. The national course was designed to enhance national capacity and train participants as potential national escorts during OPCW inspections in the future." (OPCW News; 26Aug09) http://www.opcw.org/news/news/article/regional-course-for-national-authorities-in-asia-on-training-escorts-for-inspections/

Defentect, Washington Hospital Center announce expansion agreement for radiation detection system [D.C.]
"Defentect announced today Washington Hospital Center is deploying Defentect's radiation detection system hospital-wide following a pilot project to test its effectiveness, with an additional nine GT2 radiation sensors and two GT4 Gamma Radiation sensors, capable of isotopic identification. The fixed position unattended sensors are networked to Defentect's proprietary DM3 management, monitoring and messaging software platform, which integrates CBRNE [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives] detection technologies with an incident command center and coordinates responses according to an engineered concept of operations. 'This deployment enhances our ability to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a radiological incident. We look forward to assessing and reporting on the benefits of this comprehensive detection system' said Susan K. Eckert, Director, EROne Institute for Innovation and Nursing Readiness, Washington Hospital Center. 'In a security scenario unique to hospitals, Defentect is configured to monitor for ingress of radiologically contaminated patients from accidental exposure or via planned terrorist attack; […] these materials could become components of a dirty bomb,' said Frank O'Connor, president, Defentect. […] 'When threat-level alerts are triggered, Defentect's DM3 sends information to hospital responders' cell phones, pagers, PDAs and to existing access control and surveillance security systems.'" (Press Release Newswire; 25Aug09)

ORNL [Oak Ridge National Laboratory] workers fight nuclear proliferation [Oak Ridge, TN]
"If set off in a place like New York City, a nuclear bomb could 'totally disrupt' the United States' economy and society, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory director said. Local employees are working to try to prevent that from happening, said Larry Satkowiak, ORNL director of global security and nonproliferation programs. He said about 150 Oak Ridge National Laboratory employees are involved in a variety of efforts designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. […] On Wednesday, Satkowiak gave a talk on the lab's role in preventing nuclear terrorism during a Friends of ORNL lunch meeting. 'The threat has gotten more difficult,' Satkowiak said. 'We can no longer focus on just countries.' Losing a weapon or nuclear material - perhaps through theft - is the 'scariest thought I can think of,' Satkowiak said. Other scary thoughts include Pakistan's instability, terror[ist] attacks in South Asia, and the possibility that North Korea could sell nuclear technologies, materials or weapons, Satkowiak said. […] During an hour-long discussion, Satkowiak talked about nuclear black markets, a proliferation network created by Abdul Qadeer 'A.Q.' Khan in Pakistan, the removal of uranium-enriching equipment from Libya in 2004, and concerns about North Korea. […] Satkowiak also talked about four major nuclear terrorism threat scenarios: the theft and detonation of intact nuclear weapons; the theft or purchase of fissile material that leads to the fabrication of an improvised nuclear device; attacks against and sabotage of nuclear facilities, and the acquisition of radioactive materials to fabricate and detonate a so-called dirty bomb." (Oak Ridger; 25Aug09; John Huotari) http://www.oakridger.com/news/x772316083/ORNL-workers-fight-nuclear-proliferation

Legislation to implement recommendations of WMD commission forthcoming
"Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) plan to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Proliferation and Terrorism in September, retired Air Force Col. Randall Larsen, the commission's executive director, told HSToday.us. The WMD Commission has been working closely with Congress to track 49 specific recommendations made in 13 categories in its report, titled World at Risk. […] The commission has developed a matrix to track progress on the recommendations as made by Congress, the White House, and non-governmental organizations, Larsen revealed. The commission's work with Congress on the prevention of biological and nuclear WMD threats has produced an intense focus on stopping a terrorist attack using biological agents, Larsen stressed. 'In the legislation that Senators Lieberman and Collins will be introducing, there is very little mention of the nuclear issue because we have been dealing with it for so long,' he described. 'It's more an issue of execution by the executive branch for what needs to be done. On the other hand, the bio threat requires a lot of legislation and help. It's not as mature. We have not had the time to mature all of the things we are doing to address the bio threat as we have with the nuclear threat.' […] The commissioners have been pressing for more money in the fiscal 2010 budget (or future budgets) for the Biomedical Advance Research and Development Authority (BARDA). […] The Obama administration proposed $300 million in funding for BARDA in fiscal 2010, but the WMD Commission pressed for about
$1.7 billion, Larsen said. […] In September, Graham is working with Texas A&M University to produce a brochure for National Preparedness Month […] to educat[e] US citizens on the right questions to ask in quizzing their local, state and federal officials on WMD preparedness." (Homeland Security Today; 26Aug09; Mickey McCarter) http://www.hstoday.us/content/view/9969/149/

Verizon business [telecommunications] MERIT [Major Emergency Response Incident Team] hazmat team ready for deployment to protect network every day
"A Verizon Business elite team called MERIT - Major Emergency Response Incident Team - is ready to roll, when necessary, to protect thousands of miles of the company's communications network assets during natural disasters or hazardous materials incidents. […] 'Verizon Business has well-maintained network facilities that we protect from all kinds of hazards, but we can't always control the external environment,' said Dick Price, director of business continuance and emergency management, and founder of the MERIT team. 'So we created the communication industry's first hazmat team. We needed technically skilled communications employees who could be trained in hazardous materials, enabling them to enter an area affected by a hazardous materials spill and complete a network repair,' Price said. […] All team members […] have been trained under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) guidelines, the same certification guidelines used by major fire department hazardous materials teams in the U.S. MERIT team members […] are authorized to operate at the highest operational protection level (Level A), which allows them to enter a contaminated zone, wearing fully encapsulated hazmat suits. The team uses multiple tools to detect more than 30 chemicals, ricin and radiological contamination." (Sun Herald; 26Aug09) http://www.sunherald.com/prnewswire/story/1562281.html

MDA [MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, Ltd.] to field test advanced information solutions for crime scene assessment [Richmond, BC]
"MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. […] announced today that it has signed a contract for $2 million (CAD) through the Chemical, Biological, Radiological-Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Research and Technology Initiative (CRTI), a Government of Canada program led by the Defence Research and Development Canada - Centre for Security Science. The contract will see the development of an advanced information solution to assist first responders investigating hazardous crime scenes. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will act as the lead federal agency in this project in partnership with MDA, Toronto Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, Vancouver Police Department, Defence Research and Development Canada - Ottawa, Canadian Police Research Centre and York University, who is assisting with software development. MDA's solution will provide real-time data, three dimensional mapping and situational awareness of hazardous chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive substances in crime scenes. Deployed on robotic platforms, the solution will reduce the need for first responders to enter a contaminated scene and risk exposure to hazardous or explosive materials." (Trading Markets; 25Aug09)