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NEWS | Nov. 1, 2021

NSWC IHD and CBIRF Host Technology Experimentation and Characterization Field Trials

By NSWC Indian Head Division Public Affairs

The Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Department’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Division (R2) and the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) hosted the Technology Experimentation and Characterization Field Trials (TECFT) at the CBIRF Downey Responder Training Facility (DRTF), July 26-30.

“The TECFT is a test series managed by Deputy Undersecretary of the Army for Test and Evaluation in support of the Chemical and Biological Defense Program. The goal of the test series is to satisfy the data needs of multiple programs during one event to reduce cost and increase collaboration/interoperability,” said Bryan Tienes, TECFT program manager and R2 Laboratory Sciences Branch head. “R2 has worked closely with CBIRF for years and supported their test needs in the past.”

CBIRF, a 500-person active duty unit, is stationed alongside NSWC IHD on Naval Support Facility Indian Head. The Marines and Sailors that comprise CBIRF forward deploy and respond with minimal warning to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high yield explosive (CBRNE) threat or event to assist agencies and the geographic combatant command in the conduct of CBRNE response or consequence management operations.

“TECFT 2021 was the first time R2 was able to involve CBIRF operators in a test event and collect user feedback on CBR-D technologies under development by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security,” Tienes said.

The scenarios included patrol and survey missions, search and rescue missions, close-quarters, and confined space environments. This was the first time CBIRF had the opportunity to use chemical and radiological simulants in their training facilities.

“Everyone who goes down range radios back to me and paints a picture of what they are seeing so I can radio back to command,” said CBIRF Cpl. Deklan Hoff.  “It is good to see and test new gear. Everyone is used to the Marine Corps issued gear, and it is refreshing to test other pieces of equipment that can do the same job but even better.”

Both the Joint Program Executive Office and DTRA supplied chemical and radiological detection technologies for the tests, which allowed technologies to be tested under operationally relevant conditions alongside a concept of operations, tactics, techniques and procedures.

“A lot of people in the Marine Corps think that we only have this piece of equipment forever, but when we have things like this, like TECFT, we can go out and see there is new and improved stuff we can buy and that it is a lot easier,” CBIRF Sgt. Bryan Mckinnon said.

Benefits of the program included facilitating the progression of technologies to fielded systems by generating critical test data, enabling cost sharing, promoting faster development, and increasing awareness of new and emerging technologies. This test also expanded the range of possible activities at the DRTF for CBIRF. Since CBIRF has not been able to work with chemical simulants or rad sources in their facility before, this event paved the way to be able to continue to do so.

“There are definitely plans for us to work with CBIRF in the future,” Tienes said.

 

NSWC IHD — 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, manufacturing and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.

-NAVSEA-