DoD chemical and biological defense head discusses neutralization system

Carmen Spencer, the joint program executive director of the Department of Defense's Chemical and Biological Defense Program, recently detailed efforts by his office to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile before a House panel.

Spencer originally testified before the House Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities on the Program's approximately $1.4 billion fiscal year 2015 budget request in April, but the House Armed Service Committee did not release the details of the hearing until now.

The director described the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, which the DoD developed in order to neutralize Syria's chemical stockpiles. The transportable, high throughput system is designed to convert chemical warfare material into compounds that are unusable as weapons.

Spencer said that an acquisition effort for the project began in February of last year, with the first system delivered six months later.

"The DoD response in this case is an excellent example of collaboration and agility in capability development," Spencer said.

Spencer also highlighted the four strategic goals of the Chemical and Biological Defense Program: equipping forces to successfully conduct military operations, anticipating CBRN threats, maintaining infrastructure and integrating and aligning the program's activities. The director said that continued collaboration with Congress is critical to the advancement of the office's objectives.