Homeland Security highlights achievements in CBRN defense

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released a report highlighting federal achievements in countering the threat of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats in 2011.

The DHS reported that its Domestic Nuclear Detection Office trained more than 4,700 state and local first responders in radiological and nuclear detection methods. In addition, through the Secure the Cities Initiative, more than 11,000 personnel in New York City received similar training.

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center laboratory recently received accreditation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin research into dangerous pathogens.

In 2011, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Communication, published The National Strategy for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Standards. The publication outlines a federal vision for the prioritization, establishment and implementation of CBRNE equipment standards by 2020.

The DHS reported that BioWatch, an early-warning biological agent detection system managed by the Office of Health Affairs, has collected more than 200,000 samples from 30 cities in the nation.

OHA launched a partnership with the Maryland Transit Administration and the city of Baltimore to develop a series of chemical agent preparedness procedures and defense response measures for subway transit that are intended to serve as a model for jurisdictions across the country.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Center for Domestic Preparedness trained 93,500 local, state and tribal first responders to assist in preventing and responding to disasters involving CBRN materials.