Indian Head, MD –
In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) employees processed multiple fund documents to award an additional $7 million onto an existing contract for procuring more COVID-19 and respiratory panels for the fleet’s Next Generation Diagnostic Systems (NGDS). With the number of cases of personnel diagnosed with COVID-19 rising daily, the demand signal drove the need for a higher number of assays to be immediately delivered. The command’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense (CBR-D) Division is shipping the equipment ahead of schedule to role 2/3 ships such as carriers (CVN), large deck amphibious (LHA/LHD) and hospital ships (T-AH).
The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) assessed available options to fund an emergent fleet requirement for the immediate procurement of capabilities for enhanced surveillance and diagnostic testing of infectious respiratory disease to improve the fleet’s force health protection posture.
The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and OPNAV team worked diligently with the OSD Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense team to accelerate the fielding of the NGDS to the fleet.
NSWC IHEODTD was requested to assist with urgently procuring a mix of respiratory panels that included test panels for COVID-19 to role 2/3 ships supporting Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Units/Forward Deployment Preventive Medical Units.
“Currently, the Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) is fielded to large deck amphibious ships, hospital ships and carriers to support the CBR-D mission for biological warfare agent confirmatory testing,” said NSWC IHEODTD CBR-D Division Head Steve Anthony. “Although this was the primary mission of JBAIDS, it also possessed the ability to conduct public health diagnoses, and for that reason, the fielding of the system was expedited in 2009 from three years to approximately nine months in support of the H1N1 flu.”
According to Anthony, the NGDS provides enhanced diagnostic capabilities and has replaced JBAIDS. “The CBR-D Division was directed through OPNAV to perform an even more aggressive expedited fielding than JBAIDS and is utilizing its waterfront team to deliver these systems to the fleet,” Anthony said. “Creative training is also being immediately facilitated with the training facilities to assure that the medial personnel on the ships have the knowledge to operate the new systems correctly.”
The COVID-19 panel is specific to the coronavirus pandemic. The respiratory panel tests for 20 different pathogens, including influenzas and other coronaviruses besides the novel COVID-19, and can be used as a medical screening tool to identify organisms other than the pandemic coronavirus. “In addition to the emergent distribution of the NGDS systems to the ships and helping to facilitate training, the CBR-D Division has helped facilitate the orders for increased quantities of COVID-19 respiratory panels to support the fleet for coronavirus testing,” Anthony said.
The CBR-D Division, NSWC IHEODTD Contracts Department, NSWC IHEODTD Comptroller, NAVSEA Comptroller, contractor and program offices worked diligently to ensure successful execution within one day.
“Through modification, realignment of available ceiling to the current contract year allowed execution of funding supporting the increase in CBR need,” said NSWC IHEODTD Contracting Department Deputy Chief Beth Hoover.
“A true team effort by all in an unbelievable one-day turnaround,” Anthony said.
NSWC IHEODTD — a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy's Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics, and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit, and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.