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    Put to the Test

    Put to the Test

    Courtesy Photo | A military working dog examines its handler’s backpack that contains a canine...... read more read more

    FT. BELVOIR, VA, UNITED STATES

    01.04.2022

    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    Warfighters engaging with technology developers in scenario-driven exercises on a simulated battlefield provide vital information for industry and government partners to better bridge capability and usability gaps that can happen during research and development stages. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Chemical and Biological Technologies Department in its role as the Joint Science and Technology Office (JSTO) for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program recently held the 2021 Chemical and Biological Operational Analysis (CBOA 21) exercise where joint forces assessed prototypes in a simulated CB threat environment and provided beneficial feedback to the developers.

    The success of CBOA’s past events attracted an increased number of followers from industry, academia, and various U.S. government agencies, including Department of Defense partners. Although attendance was limited to comply with the CBOA 21 COVID Mitigation and Response Plan, this year’s event held at Fort Story, Virginia, drew the largest continent to date, totaling more than 450 attendees, including 109 uniformed personnel, and 58 technology prototypes and concepts.

    CBOA provides technology developers with the opportunity to observe how their prototypes perform when used by front-line warfighters in a variety of threat-based scenarios. The warfighters’ feedback guides product development and provides investment strategies that directly address their needs.

    U.S. Navy researchers demonstrated a modular chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) sensor system for unmanned aircraft systems called Senses CBR Agents Pre-Engagement and Goes Over All Terrain (SCAPEGOAT). The system uses different modules depending on whether the aircraft is operating in a CBR environment. While still in its early stages, SCAPEGOAT attracted interest from both warfighters demonstrating the sensors and observers who wanted to collaborate in its further development.

    Another of this year’s technologies was the first use of decontamination efforts for military working dogs (MWDs) and medical response elements as part of the live scenarios with handlers and attending veterinarians. MWDs have always been a valued asset to the joint forces, but canine personal protective equipment has not evolved with chemical and biological threats. MWD handlers ran canines through simulated contaminated areas and then tested six technologies—two specifically designed for canine decontamination and four others that were initially designed for personnel and equipment. Developers also demonstrated a canine respirator in the User Feedback Tent for Technology Concepts, or Concept Tent, which provides a venue to receive user feedback on utility and employment concepts for emerging technologies that are not yet mature enough to participate in the live scenarios.

    Clear Scientific's ClearDecon is a kit containing a sprayable decontamination slurry and commercial off-the-shelf spray equipment. ClearDecon was developed in partnership with the U.S. Army's Combat Capabilities Development – Chemical and Biological Center and reduces CB agent hazards on contact, reliably providing operational decontamination in tactical environments. In laboratory testing, ClearDecon reduced CB threat agents by greater than a thousandfold after four hours. ClearDecon’s 99.9% decontamination of most major CB threat agents renders equipment and surfaces safe, which expedites the return of vehicles, weapons, and other materiel to service. Intended for troop-level immediate decontamination of vehicles and equipment, this slurry was assessed in several scenarios that showcased application tactics, techniques, and procedures. During a hierarchical training analysis, a group of warfighters successfully trained each other to use ClearDecon for immediate decontamination.

    A new feature for the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) is the Chemical and Biological Alerting and Response Tool (CBART) that integrates the Tactical Assault Kit Source Term Estimation (TAK-STE) and Urban Hazard Prediction (TAK-Urban) applications with other CB applications in the ATAK system for enhanced chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) situational awareness and decision support. CBART maps sensor and operator locations, calculates source terms, and generates the subsequent hazard area, allowing operators to quickly assess the situation around them and identify means to mitigate CBRN hazards. Participation in CBOA gave the development team valuable feedback from operators on the clarity of training materials and the interpretability of calculated results. The development team also deployed CBART on a tactical network that highlighted the challenges associated with connecting multiple sensors and operators using limited bandwidth.

    CBOA 21 support staff, uniformed operators, and technology developers delivered realistic threat scenarios such as fixed-site operations; thorough decontamination support operations; and Domestic Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Prevention and Response for warfighters to detect, deter, and defeat CB threats.

    CBOA uniquely sets the stage for laboratory development on the battlefield that steers course corrections and, in best-case scenarios, confirms the technologies’ capabilities. During warfighter assessments in a collaborative learning environment, CBOA 21 support staff collected vital feedback from observers and demonstrators to analyze product form, fit, and function of the technologies from both operator and adversary perspectives to explore limits of the technologies, identify areas of improvement, and recommend ways to mitigate vulnerabilities.

    POC: Markham Smith, markham.k.smith.civ@mail.mil

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.04.2022
    Date Posted: 01.04.2022 16:45
    Story ID: 412450
    Location: FT. BELVOIR, VA, US

    Web Views: 243
    Downloads: 3

    PUBLIC DOMAIN