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Stand-To: Procedure prior to first light to enhance unit security, a daily compendium of news, information, and context for Army leaders.

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STAND-TO! Edition: Wednesday, December 26 2012

Today's Focus:

Colorimetric Reconnaissance Explosives Squad Screening Kit

Senior Leaders are Saying

As we celebrate the holidays, we want to thank all of our Soldiers, civilians and families for the unwavering dedication and commitment ... and to the thousands of men and women who are deployed around the world, you are in our thoughts and prayers this holiday season ...

- Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno with his wife, Linda, sends holiday greetings to the total Army community

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Mrs. Linda Odierno's holiday message

What They're Saying

For nearly 100 years, Edgewood has been developing capabilities to detect and protect our forces from emerging chemical threats. The proliferation of homemade explosives has guaranteed that they will remain a threat to all of our forces in the future. The CRESS kit allows every Soldier to screen suspected materials and determine if they are a potential explosive threat.

- August W. Fountain III, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist (ST) at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

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Today's Focus

Colorimetric Reconnaissance Explosives Squad Screening Kit

What is it?

The Innovation Development Engineering Acquisition team at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) has created the Colorimetric Reconnaissance Explosives Squad Screening (CRESS) Kit to help Soldiers screen and detect explosives in bulk solids. Through an advanced rapid prototyping process developed in cooperation with the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Division, Soldiers can collect solid samples with a pocket-sized detector that uses colorimetric technology to identify unsophisticated homemade substances such as ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used in improvised explosives.

What has the Army done?

Equipped with two plastic halves that fold together, the CRESS Kit is able to determine in 30 seconds if collected unknown samples are part of a harmful mixture. By shaking the kit, the colorimetric reagent ampoules mix with the samples, causing a color change reaction. Using a color key, Soldiers can distinguish between safe fertilizers like urea, and powerful homemade explosives like urea nitrate.

In June 2011, the new prototypes successfully completed a Military Utility Assessment conducted by the Maneuver Support Battle Lab at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and were reevaluated in February 2012 with modifications made from Soldier feedback. These tests confirmed that after minimal training Soldiers were able to rapidly screen randomized blind trials with accuracy.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

ECBC is fabricating 4,000 engineering units scheduled to undergo operational assessments in late fall 2012 before being used by the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga. Future efforts include upgraded technology that will enable high-volume, low-cost production, a Technology Readiness Level assessment, initial fielding, and, with the help of the ECBC Pyrotechnics Team, the development of a user-friendly CRESS Kit Trainer.

Why is this important to the Army?

As part of the Research, Development and Engineering Command, ECBC's work with the CRESS Kit fits into the U.S. Army's strategy of tiered assets and any positive result for dangerous material could cue a higher tier of resources with higher capability and less density in theater. The Army Technology Objective for the detection of unknown bulk explosives tasked the project to ECBC, which is located at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. ECBC has been recognized as a national asset in the chemical biological defense community.


U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command
Edgewood Chemical Biological Center

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