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News | Feb. 28, 2023

DTRA brings Focus-Series Technology Demonstration to the EUCOM Theatre

By Darnell Gardner Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Kaiserslautern, GE-- Countering emerging threats that span the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) spectrum requires a specialized network of subject matter experts, technology developers, key decision-makers, and most importantly Joint Force members.  The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) fulfills all of these requirements through, Focus Falcon, a series of technology demonstrations that provide U.S. Combatant Commands (COCOM) with a platform to experience the latest, on-the-horizon technology to counter the WMD threat.  Focus Falcon 2023, the first of this series, was conducted in Kaiserslautern, Germany in support of U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command Forces (USAFRICOM) from 22 Feb to 24 Feb 2023.

“The Focus series brings some of today’s most innovative counter WMD prototypes directly to Joint Force members and decision-makers for an engaging hands-on experience,” stated Charlotte Unterbrink, chief for DTRA’s research and development (R&D) engagements efforts.  “Our greatest return on investment is achieved when technology developers receive on-the-spot feedback from Joint Force members on how the technology can best fit their requirements when countering CBRN threats.”   

Focus Falcon 23 offered DTRA R&D program managers and their technology developers the opportunity to showcase various decision-logic technology that provides greater informational dimension to Joint Forces operating in suspected CBRN contested environments.

“The technology we are showcasing here at Focus Falcon 23 involves a range of CBRN integration tools that are easily accessible through standard digital platforms such as a laptop or android-based systems. With this package, sensors are deployed downrange to CBRN contested environments to collect and send back vital information to Joint Force members for improved decision-making capabilities,” explained U.S. Army Lt. Col.  Nathan Allen, program manager for DTRA’s Mobile Field Kit platform activities. 

DTRA also welcomed participation from its sister agency, the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) to the technology demonstration.  Their participation highlighted technology transition points and showcased prototypes further along the developmental life-cycle. 
Osa Penny, JPEO-DBRND lead for this event stated, “We are DTRA’s primary technology transition partner, serving to move prototypes through the advanced development pipeline for eventual fielding to the Joint Forces.”   

The CBRN-centric technology showcased at Focus Falcon 23 was uniquely suited to address EUCOM and AFRICOM operational requirements.  U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Wanda Williams, commanding general for the 7th Mission Support Command, the only forward stationed U.S. Army reserve Command in Europe, and Lt. Col. Mary Durham, commander for 773rd Civil Support Team, Kaiserslautern, Germany, detailed the importance of these type engagements.  Both leaders emphasized how face-to-face engagement between technology developers and Service members was essential to providing the appropriate tools necessary to increase mission success with minimal impact on the end-user. General Williams is dual-hatted as the Deputy Commanding General of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.
Edward Rios, an end-user from the 20th CBRNE Command attended the event to gather information on the latest technology.

“We attended this event to gain a better understanding on how we can best achieve an economy-of- force with our technical enablers that execute the counter WMD mission.  I need to have hands- and eyes-on this technology to provide the most accurate assessment of what our technical operators need to be successful in a threat environment,” explained Rios.   

Focus Falcon’s value to the region was also demonstrated with the participation of international partners from the United Kingdom (UK), Germany and Poland.  A UK partner explained that experiencing the wide range of technology being demonstrated at Focus Falcon, may have potentially provided opportunities to integrate country-partner efforts in the counter-WMD operational landscape.

“Establishing and maintaining relationships with our international partners is vital to our success in the region and around the globe,” explained Dr. Michael Kuliasha, acting director for DTRA research and development efforts. “Events such as this directly align with the agency’s core function to “Develop and Deliver Innovative Capabilities to the Warfighter across the Threat Spectrum.”   

Following the success of Focus Falcon 23, DTRA continues to coordinate with COCOM partners and stakeholders on upcoming technology demonstrations, including additions to the Focus series which will take place in 2024.
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