U.S. Airmen with the 163d Attack Wing, California Air National Guard, including Staff Sgt. Kevin Wuerth, left, and Staff Sgt. DMarcus Broussard, right, evaluate a reaction found on chemical detection paper during CBRN Defense training, Jan. 11, 2020, at March Air Reserve Base, California. The biennial training helps ensure Airmen remain familiar with the protective equipment and procedures used during chemical biological nuclear and radiological attacks. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman)

CWMD Awards Funding to Detect Radiological Threats

To equip frontline operators with radiological detection equipment, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) awarded the Helium-3 Alternative Implementation Backpack Program (HAIBP) Phase Three Full Rate Production contract to Target Systemelektronik/FLIR Systems. The $6.5M production order will equip CWMD’s Mobile Detection Deployment Program (MDDP) and DHS Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with HAIBP backpacks to deliver advanced radiation detection capabilities.

Configured into the size of a standard backpack, this program is easily deployed to our frontline operators to efficiently detect potential threats during wide-area searches. HAIBP expands these wide-area search and detection capabilities to detect potential radiological threats and even identify the detected radioisotope. HAIBP includes data transfer capabilities that enable the new solution to perform both primary and secondary screening functions. This award will enhance the established capability with operational suitability, a data streaming capability, and system survivability.

“In an evolving threat landscape, it is our mission to rapidly equip frontline operators with the latest and most advanced detection equipment to protect our Nation from potential radiological threats,” said Karin Clarkson, CWMD’s HAIBP Program Manager. “We could not provide the latest capabilities to our operators if it were not for the relationship we have with industry partners.”

While many state and local law enforcement agencies maintain their own capabilities to counter radiological and nuclear (R/N) threats, CWMD supplements agencies in need of more extensive capabilities. CWMD’s MDDP deploys a mobile trailer package with additional specialized R/N detection capabilities. This capability assists law enforcement and other first responders to detect, interdict, and report WMD threats. The new suite of radiation detection backpacks does not rely on He-3 to detect potential threats.

CWMD serves as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s focal point for counter-WMD efforts. By supporting operational partners across federal, state, and local levels, CWMD coordinates and manages the detection effort for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and health security threats. CWMD is committed to enhancing domestic law enforcement and first responder detection, interdiction, response, and reporting of these threats.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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