DHS, Army Partner to Provide New Chemical Security Laboratory Capability
Dr. Rabih Jabbour, a DEVCOM CBC scientist, works alongside Helen Mearns, deputy director of the DHS S&T CSAC, in the new Chemical Security Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that its Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) opened a new experimental Chemical Security Laboratory (CSL) in partnership with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center (DEVCOM CBC) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. This new space will help CSAC’s team of DHS and Army experts validate scientific data and produce findings that are essential to national readiness.

“This new facility will be a vital organic capability for S&T,” said Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, DHS Senior Official Performing Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “Having the ability to conduct our own experimental laboratory research alongside our Army partners brings a more holistic approach to our chemical security analytics and allows us to model analyses rapidly in support of DHS components and other federal, state and local partners with greater precision.”

At a moment’s notice, actionable information about chemical threats or hazards must be readily accessible to emergency planners and responders. It can mean the difference between life and death for those in harm’s way. The new laboratory will benefit CSAC’s risk and consequence models and contribute essential data to current S&T projects, such as chemical threat characterization and gas forming reactions, as well as emerging projects as the needs arise.

“The CSL exists within space shared by CSAC and DEVCOM CBC and will contain essential instrumentation capable of measuring physical and chemical properties for various chemical threats of interest to DHS,” said Dr. Shannon Fox, CSAC Director. “It is a vital capability not found at any of our sister laboratories. We are making efficient use of our strong partnerships here at APG to bring in a new S&T capability altogether.”

The CSL partnership leverages Army expertise in the areas of chemical defense, chemical threat agents, and toxic industrial chemicals. Locating the S&T CSAC and CSL at Aberdeen Proving Ground – a Department of Defense installation – improves the laboratory's capability and return on investment.

“We are proud to continue our many years of productive collaboration with DHS S&T and now extend this partnership with hands-on work in the shared laboratory space,” said Dr. Frederick (Rick) Cox, DEVCOM CBC Director for Research and Technology. “CSAC brings together DHS and Army experts in chemical hazard detection, characterization, and analysis. This collaborative laboratory enables them to work together in a new capability set, taking full advantage of the physical co-location of CSAC with CBC, as intended at its founding.”

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About CSAC

CSAC is the nation’s only federal studies, analysis, and knowledge management center for assessing threats and hazards associated with an accidental or intentional large-scale chemical event or chemical terrorism event in the United States. Its work addresses America’s most pressing chemical security needs, including stemming the flow of illicit and synthetic opioids, preparing for, and responding to harmful chemical releases, and safeguarding our food supply, among others.

About DECVOM CBC

DEVCOM CBC provides innovative chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) defense capabilities to enable the joint warfighter’s dominance on the battlefield and interagency defense of the homeland. DEVCOM CBC is the Army’s principal research and development center for chemical and biological defense technology, engineering and field operations and is headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.