By Al Vogel (DPG)November 1, 2016
Some 70 decontamination and WMD experts from the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom visited Dugway Proving Ground recently to witness demonstrations of new and emerging technologies that reduce chemical and biological contamination.
The CONMIT (Contamination Mitigation) & Technical Demonstration was hosted by the Department of Defense's Joint Program Manager for Protection, and arranged by Jaromy Jessop, a program manager at Dugway's Special Programs Division. Jessop saw the event as an opportunity to showcase Dugway's everyday capabilities that provide chemical and biological defense testing for customers worldwide.
"The gist (of the event) was to get new technologies into the hands of Soldiers, and get feedback from them: how well the technologies work, what could be improved," Jessop said.
New technologies were demonstrated by members of the 82nd Airborne Division and 21st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Company, both from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 25th CBRN Battalion from Fort Stewart, Georgia.
"Each unit that participated said they didn't know Dugway was out here, and they wanted to take advantage of what we offer," Jessop said.
Dugway testers and demonstration team members had only a short period to prepare for the event.
"In absolute record time, they poured a decontamination pad across from the Defensive Test Chamber, and relocated the JBADS chamber from (Dugway's) Michael Army Airfield to the new pad," Jessop said.
The Joint Biological Agent Decontamination System is a portable decontamination chamber that surrounds vehicles, small aircraft or equipment with high heat and humidity to kill microbes. Quickly disassembled, JBADS may be transported by aircraft to nearly anywhere.
The CBRN Aircraft Survivability Barrier was demonstrated in the hold of a large helicopter. Contaminated personnel enter the sealable, tent-like chamber on a rollup walkway, avoiding helicopter and crew contamination.
Master Sgt. Gabriel Reese, Marine Corps Development and Integration office at Quantico, Virginia, observed the CONMIT & Technical Demonstration.
"It's beneficial for us to see the capabilities that are being developed and the direction that some of these developmental programs are taking," he said.
Vic Murphy, Joint Programs lead for Chemical and Biological Decontamination at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland, said Dugway's accommodation was "superb."
"We will come back here, and we hope it's a long-term relationship to demonstrate the systems and use Special Program's support," Murphy said.
For the event, the hosting JPMP office added improvements to the nearby Defensive Test Chamber: a 30-foot command trailer, rooftop access for viewing and a refilling station for SCBA air bottles.
"It was a smashing success," Jessop said. "The first one they have had here, and it's undoubtedly going to lead to follow-on work. It really put Dugway and our capabilities on the map. The whole West Desert Test Center and mission support capabilities of Dugway came together in a short period of time."