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NEWS | Dec. 19, 2019

NSWC Dahlgren Division Laboratory Recertified to Impact Fleet, Homeland Defense

By NSWC Dahlgren Corporate Communications Division

DAHLGREN, Va. – The impact of an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) audit reaccrediting the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Sample Standards Laboratory is significant to national defense, NSWCDD officials announced, Dec. 19.

The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation auditors reviewed all aspects of the laboratory’s quality management system and technical records while conducting observations of its procedures during a bi-annual accreditation audit from Dec. 9-10.

“Our Sample Standards Laboratory’s most prominent customer is the Department of Homeland Security Biowatch Program – a federal program created in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks with the aim of monitoring air in major American cities for the release of biological agents of concern as part of bioterror attacks,” said J. Aaron Miller, NSWCDD Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department head. “Based on the accreditation audit, it’s safe to say that this critical federal public health program is receiving only the highest quality products from NSWC Dahlgren.”

The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation is the only independent, non-profit, internationally recognized accreditation body in the United States that offers a full range of comprehensive laboratory and laboratory-related accreditation services.

“The recertification of the NSWCDD Sample Standards Laboratory to ISO standards for testing and calibration laboratories serves to assure Dahlgren’s customers that our sample standards lab’s products and services meet the most rigorous standards for labs of its ilk,” said Ellen Pittenger, Sample Standards Laboratory program manager.

ISO 17025 accreditation represents the world’s most important standard for calibration and testing laboratories, indicating a high degree of technical proficiency in a lab’s ability to produce precise and accurate test and calibration data. Pittenger pointed out that the laboratory’s ISO 17025:2017 accreditation audit resulted in high marks.  

Moreover, the lead assessor reported that he found no deficiencies, calling the laboratory’s program the most well documented with the most robust compliance to new risk requirements that he has seen while auditing for the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.

To ensure continued compliance, the NSWCDD Sample Standards Laboratory maintains a comprehensive corrective action system to self-monitor and make internal corrections as necessary. 

“This internal audit method is unique to Dahlgren and earned the lab praise for its effectiveness at ensuring adherence to ISO standards,” said Miller.

The third party report produced during the laboratory’s accreditation audit will be returned to an American Association for Laboratory Accreditation officer for review at the association’s council for official approval.

“As the laboratory had no deficiencies, ultimate approval was granted on Dec. 16, 2019 and is valid through Jan. 31, 2022,” said Pittenger, regarding the laboratory, which is managed by the NSWCDD Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Defense Division.