JUPITR biosurveillance program protects South Korea

The Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition program provides biological detection capabilities and is having a large impact on the Korean Peninsula.

JUPITR supports the idea and policy that biological threats take many forms, and include naturally occurring disease outbreaks. The National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats was created in 2009 with this theory in mind, Global Biodefense reports.

JUPITR uses new technology that increases the speed and ability of biosurveillance equipment with a lower cost, less training and less burden to the soldier. Use of the system on the Korean Peninsula is part of the Joint Force's strategy to rebalance the Asia-Pacific region and military efforts there, according to Global Biodefense.

JUPITR is led by the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense and supported by the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. Researchers from ECBC and JPEO-CBD travel to South Korea to help the USFK build laboratory capabilities and personally train and demonstrate JUPITR, Global Biodefense reports.

"Our long standing commitment to the security of South Korea and the DOD's 'Pivot to the Pacific' made the choice of basing the JUPITR advanced technology demonstration within the Republic of Korea a straightforward selection," JUPITR ATD Team Lead and ECBC Biosciences Division Chief Peter Emanuelsaid, according to Global Biodefense.

The researchers are working with the 106th Food Safety Laboratory as part of the JUPITR program to help it achieve Biosafety Level 2 certification. This would allow the lab to receive and analyze contaminated samples.

The hands-on training allows researchers to make adjustments to ensure the programs and equipment work properly in South Korea while providing one-on-one training.

"This in-person JUPITR method is innovative," ECBC Bioscience Division Biologist James Wright said, Global Biodefense reports. "It allows us to acquire the results quickly, get direct feedback from the soldiers and efficiently see our results first hand. It's very exciting and a great developmental assignment for us to participate in as laboratory scientists."

JUPITR is also supported by the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.