Nelson: Opportunities exist for government to improve CBRNE response

An official with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington commented on Thursday about the opportunities the government has to improve its response to biological and other threats.

Rick "Ozzie" Nelson, the director of the Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program at the CSIS, and Ashley Nichols, an intern with the program, identified ways in which the multiple government agencies responsible for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-explosive weapons could strengthen their coordination, reports.

"An integration of capabilities could potentially serve to bolster both the speed and precision of detection and response by bringing entities such as local first responders and federal experts closer together," Nelson and Nichols said, according to

The authors pointed out integrative steps that have already occurred, such as the Integrated CBRNE Detection Demonstration pilot the Department of Homeland Security created in 2009. The program coordinated multiple private corporations and the city of Los Angeles using a hand-held device to transfer first responder data to experts around the world.

While steps are being taken to improve integration, the authors said that there are challenges that must be overcome by the many entities that regulate CBRNE detection and response.

"There is significant space for dialogue regarding the challenges and opportunities associated with increased integration, including whether the various entities involved are properly aligned for maximum effectiveness, how on-the-ground efforts can be better coordinated, and how new technologies can be best utilized and integrated," Nelson and Nichols said, reports. "Through addressing these questions, there is an opportunity for the federal government, local first responders, and private industry to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of CBRNE detection and response efforts and increase the nation's ability to counter this complex threat."