After testing a prototype system last summer, the Department of Defense plans to return to Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) for the next six years to continue outdoor testing of a complex chemical and biological agent detector.
Up to 50 visiting personnel, civilian and military, will spend weeks at DPG during this summer’s test, operating the Capabilities to Enhance Threat Awareness, Understanding and Response (CENTAUR) in authentic challenges. Testing is expected to be each summer through 2026.
CENTAUR is overseen by the Joint Program Executive Office – Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Detection. It is a collection of detection, monitoring and communication equipment, working together to warn of impending chemical, biological or radiological (CBR) threats.
Some of the equipment is commercially available, some is not, but all are in current use by the Department of Defense. Test Officer Jeff Poor of the Combat Capabilities Development Command, a tenant unit on DPG headquartered in Maryland, said testing will mirror last year’s. There will be two weeks of integration assessment, to ensure all systems work together properly, followed by three weeks of integration data collection and user feedback, to include simulated attacks to test the human aspect of the system.
“This is an ongoing effort to improve chemical and biological defenses,” Poor said. “CENTAUR is part of a complex communication system. As features are added, if the customer wants, they can add features they want to test to ensure it works before overseas deployment.”
Only simulated agent will be used during testing, adhering to international treaties that ban the release of actual agent outdoors.
Last summer, when CENTAUR was first brought to DPG for testing, visitors praised the post’s 1,248 square miles because sensors could be placed miles apart in the expanse.
“This is the only place we can come and get this kind of scale to get good systems feedback,” a tester said.