CBRNE Sensing Platforms: Human, Animal, and Autonomous

Blueforce DC METRO Field Day is quickly approaching. No Powerpoint. No lectures. Just a day of “hands-on” with leading-edge emergency management, first responder, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism technologies. The event is sponsored by Blueforce Development, Tech Data, Sprint, and Mac Business Solutions. “Track 2” will feature “Sensing Platforms for WMD/CBRNE” and will demonstrate the latest in technology for mobile curtains of WMD sensing plus shared Situational Awareness. Person-carried, unattended, and K9 carried radiological, multi-gas, and imagery sensors will be demonstrated with hands-on access for all attendees. Scott Safety’s Military and Civil Defense unit will provide a hands-on demonstration of their next generation hybrid (PAPR, SCBA, and APR) respiratory protection gear. We believe this track is of vital importance for a whole host of reasons.

The intelligence community has been warning for some time about “home made” explosive and chemical weapons, many of which can be fashioned from materials bought at Home Depot or the local pool supply store. Fast forward to Saturday March 14, 2015 when leaders in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq provided the Reuters news organization with soil and clothing samples taken by the peshmerga from an Islamic State suicide bombing in northern Iraq in January. The samples contained high levels of chlorine which suggested the substance was used in a weaponized form. Chlorine is a choking agent whose use as a chemical weapon dates back to World War One. Disturbingly though, it appears that radicals have succeeded in building a repeatable blueprint for weapons using industrial chemicals. Given the asymmetric nature of these organizations, detection of such weapon systems will be difficult without a strategy that embraces distributed detection. And recent UN reports coming out of the “caliphate” region indicate ISIS is using mustard and sarin munitions as well.

Since 9/11, radiological dispersal devices (RDD, also know as “dirty bombs”) have been high on the radar for first responders and counter-terrorism organizations. RDD’s continue to be a threat because the ability to build and deliver an RDD is not confined to nation states; the Aum Shinryko and subnational groups such as the Chechens have pursued development of RDDs. Chechen rebels in November of 1995 placed a 30-pound container of radioactive cesium in a Moscow park. A chilling reminder of a terrorist organization’s willingness to use an RDD.

To date, the idea of “networked detectors” was confined to specialty pole-mounted and/or body worn gamma radiological detectors. Even then, the idea of “networked” and “shared” detectors was a dream. Two years ago, Blueforce delivered a software plugin for Blueforce Tactical that made Thermo RAD PRD data sharable and reportable such that peer responders, incident command, and fusion centers could have real-time shared awareness of radiological detections. We launched support for Sensorcon’s SensorDrone more than two years ago for detection of pressurizing, oxidizing, and reducing gases. As budgets become tighter, thought leaders inside of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies are keen to leverage communications and mobile platforms that they already own to turn every responder into a mobile sensing platform. The days of carrying multiple devices, each with their own communications exfil and data plans, are coming to an end. Gamma radiological detection is now entering the mobile IoT age with technology from companies like Image Insight and their software-based radiological detection platform, GammaPixâ„¢.

Increasingly, we are seeing our customers move out on a concept of operation that has every deployed endpoint serving as a “sensor”. Not just the native olfactory or visual senses of a human or working dog, but fusing body worn sensors for a type of “crowd-sourcing” of body worn sensors with the smartphone as the gateway for delivery and sharing of ground truth intelligence. See all of this and more at Blueforce Field Day which will be helf on Wednesday October 14, 2015 from 8:30AM until 2:00PM EDT at Mac Business Solutions in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This free event is 100% “hands-on” and demonstrates best-in-class technologies using four real-world scenarios. Space is limited and attendence is strictly controlled to those with US citizenship. For more on this topic and/or to register, please visit our event homepage which is available here, or call us at 866-960-0204 for more information.