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Typically, if someone in the field is exposed to a biological threat, they may not even know it until they begin to get sick. It could take awhile to identify the pathogen through blood work, locate medicine and administer it. We need something that will work faster than that. [ Maj. Daniel Davis, DTRA EBD ATD Coordinator ]
DTRA Partners With the Marines to Detect Biological Threats
Portable detection systems are widely available in the private sector and are commonly used to detect various biological hazards. However, the military has relied on detection systems that are large, heavy, power-intensive and expensive to procure and support. These systems were able to detect and identify classical Biological Warfare Agents at low concentrations, and were used at fixed-sites for major installation protection. Their bulk—not to mention their expense—made them impractical for field use.
When the U.S. Marine Corps began looking for a biological threat detection system that was flexible, mobile and can be rapidly deployed for use by ground forces in a variety of environments, DTRA answered the call.
DTRA’s Expeditionary Biological Detection Advanced Technology Demonstration (EBD ATD) is designed to further develop efficient, man-portable biological detection systems for use in the field by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Working side-by-side with the Marines of the 10th Marines Regimental, DTRA assisted with testing of portable biohazard detection systems at Camp Lejuene, N.C. in January 2008. For this field demonstration, the Marines demonstrated five samplers, two detectors and two identifiers, arranged in multiple configurations that make up a family of biological detection and identification systems.
These systems will not only weigh less and consume energy more efficiently, but will also allow warfighters in the field to immediately test the area for hazards, get results in minutes, get a list of the medicine that will work best against these threats and radio ahead for treatment. Rapid detection and treatment can be the difference between life and death for those who are exposed to biological threats.
Results and lessons learned from the EBD ATD will be incorporated into the Joint Biological Tactical Detection System (JBTDS) and its acquisition strategy for increased identification of biological threats on the battlefield.