Dugway facilities amaze No. 2 ATEC leader

By U.S. ArmyOctober 17, 2018

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Cristian Tabara (far right) explains how a fixture will be used to test the Next Generation Chemical Detector at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, during a Sept. 17, 2018 tour by Robert M. Miele (second from right), executive technical ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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Matt McCarty (left), project manager for Chemical Test Division at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, explains the Secondary Containment Module to Robert Miele, executive technical director and deputy to the commanding major general of A... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)
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Matt McCarty, project manager for Dugway Proving Ground's Chemical Test Division (right) explains how the Next Generation Chemical Detector will be challenged in the fixture, seen behind him. Listening are Robert Miele (left) execu... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

The top two leaders of ATEC ultimately oversee 9,000 military, civilian and contract employees that conduct more than 1,100 tests daily, under an annual budget exceeding half a billion dollars.

The commanding general first visited Dugway last August, after deciding he needed to see it, walk the ground and meet its workers. He came away impressed. During an Aug. 7 work force meeting Tyler noted, "Dugway's really a national treasure. What you do here is so unique. It's so beneficial to so many people."

Miele also grew curious about Dugway's changes since he lived here 25 years ago. A Sept. 17 tour was arranged, leading him through an impressive array of facilities and capabilities on its 800,000 acres. He also attended a Sept. 18 Chemical Biological Defense Programs test and evaluation forum at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center's BioDefense Branch in the former Life Sciences Division.

"Some of the buildings they took me to, I didn't recognize," Miele said. "Then I went inside and thought, 'I've been here before.'"

Most interesting to Miele during his two-day visit was seeing an innovative, new system to disseminate chemical agent in a chamber to challenge chemical detectors. Two Dugway chemists spent a year developing it.

"When they told me no one in the world had done that before, it just shows the amazing talent that's here," Miele said. "I got to talk to them; that was really impressive. I hope to see a patent from it."

What surprised Miele most? "I didn't realize all the vast capabilities here, from supporting (a tenant unit's testing of Unmanned Aerial Systems) to all the other capabilities that you have," he said.

Miele was asked if he thought the Warfighter would be surprised at the extent to which

Dugway tests defenses against chemical and biological threats -- to protect all services, not just the Army.

"I believe they know the capability here, based on talking to (Dugway leaders)," Miele said. "They come out here because they know the capabilities here. Does everyone know? Do all four-star (generals) in the Army know? Probably not, but a lot of people do know and that's why they come here."