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DTRA Convenes Researchers to Discuss Chemical and Biological Threats

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) hosted more than 1,100 attendees at the 2019 Chemical and Biological Defense Science the Technology (CBD S&T) Conference in Cincinnati Nov. 18-21. DTRA Research and Developments’ Chemical and Biological (RDCB) Technologies department organized...

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) hosted more than 1,100 attendees at the 2019 Chemical and Biological Defense Science the Technology (CBD S&T) Conference in Cincinnati Nov. 18-21.

DTRA Research and Developments’ Chemical and Biological (RDCB) Technologies department organized the conference, which spurred new collaborations and strategic partnerships to thwart the dangers posed by chemical and biological threats.

“We need you to help us broaden our idea pool and seek out solutions to the known and unknown threats to our safety,” said Dr. Ronald Hann, Chemical and Biological Technologies Department director. “I recall during the 2011 CBD S&T conference, an attending group of researchers held a series of conversations around using monoclonal antibodies to counter the Ebola virus. Despite opposition from the field, we funded the research and not long afterwards, monoclonal antibody therapeutics proved vital in responding to the Ebola outbreak.”

Hann’s address focused on the power of ideas associated with disruptive technologies, especially as it pertains to chemical and biological threats. He noted that these ideas and technologies can be so transformative that they can render old ways of operating obsolete. The goal, he said, is to uncover ideas that impact an adversaries’ networks, compromising and weakening their operations, and ultimately denying them the ability to develop or use weaponry against the warfighter and civilian populations.

“We aren’t just looking for a discrete technological fix to counter a singular threat,” Hann said. “We are looking for ideas that enable us to fundamentally disrupt the landscape of chemical and biological threats…let’s put the bad guys out of business—that’s the definition of disruption.”

DTRA’s strategic partnerships, including those with the Food and Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health and the greater research community, have resulted in products such as wearable technologies, human organ-on-a-chip and DNA-based vaccines.

According to Carl Brown, DTRA RDCB Strategic Communications and Outreach program manager, this conference allowed for in-depth discussions that could result in collaboration on more than 450 oral presentations and posters. These efforts describe dynamic developments and the art of the possible in medical and physical sciences for chemical and biological defense.

The CBD S&T conference also included a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) day, hosting more than 35 high school-aged students from the local school district. Students received an inspirational welcome by DTRA leadership and participated in STEM-related hands-on activities.

As the week-long event came to close, Hann emphasized how a conversation on a single idea has the power to literally change the world for good, and to alter the course of history.

“We need to remain focused on using the power of science to safeguard our warfighters and national security through technological superiority, by taking revolutionary big steps in science, not evolutionary small steps…I challenge you to make these conversations happen here, exchange your ideas, share your ideas.”

GSE Supports DTRA at the PD3 Technical Demonstration

The goal of PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 3 was to demonstrate future concepts for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threat assessment that support Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) amphibious and Air Force expeditionary operations

As part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Integrated Early Warning (IEW) Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD), GSE helped execute the PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 3 (PD3) Technical Demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia from September 16-19. The goal of PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 3 was to demonstrate future concepts for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threat assessment that support Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) amphibious and Air Force expeditionary operations. The demonstration was focused on the utility and feasibility of using novel CBRN detection and characterization capabilities, employing manned and unmanned aerial and ground systems to conduct reconnaissance for CBRN threats, providing awareness to tactical commanders through existing Marine and Air Force Command and Control systems and ultimately supporting rapid decision-making. The PD3 demonstration was the culminating integration event for the IEW program’s technology development in FY19.

Marine Warfighter at PD3

Planning for this year’s event began almost immediately after the completion of last year’s PERCEPTIVE DRAGON 2 (PD2) Technical Demonstration.  The planning phase involved coordinating with our USMC and USAF stakeholders to initially develop goals and objectives in an interactive process with our technical lead, the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Center, Chemical Biological Center, Edgewood.  GSE’s role in this process was to facilitate the dialog between our technical lead and the warfighter to help the warfighter understand what was possible from a technical standpoint and to help the technical team understand the requirements of the warfighters.

The PD3 technical team conducted multiple trials of each of four scenario phases. Each trial included:  (1) a pre-mission brief; (2) a run-through of a scripted schedule of events; and, (3) a post-run hot wash session to assess performance and gather operator feedback. There were no releases of agent simulants during this demonstration. Alternatively, an emulation environment within the technology team’s White Cell was incorporated that included virtual enemy projectile points of impact and alerts, CBRN sensor arrays and associated data, virtual dismounted infantry Marine movement, as well as other intelligence feeds and data that complemented other actual data feeds from live sensors. The combination of real and emulated data feeds provided an efficient and realistic operational context for data and information flow into the Marine and Air Force command and control/common operational picture (C2/COP) systems.

Marine and Air Force service personnel served as role players in the various command centers and C2 systems. About 25 Marine and Air Force Emergency Management/CBRN specialists participated in various roles and operated forward-positioned technologies and the C2/COP systems at various command echelons. The C2 laydown included Marine Battalion and Regimental Combat Operations Centers, Air Force Operations, and Marine Headquarters and Alpha Companies. Dismounted ECBRN reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) teams with handheld COPs were also utilized. These participants, along with other operational stakeholders and subject matter experts who observed the technical demonstration, provided comments on the utility of proposed solutions and made recommendations for continued technology development. Together, their valued input assists the ATD development team toward continued IEW mission focus and resource use in the immediate future.

POSTED ONOCTOBER 8, 2019

What is a HUBZone?

“GSE is an SBA HUBZone certified small business” are the first few words typically used to describe Global Systems Engineering (GSE). But, what does that mean?

“GSE is an SBA HUBZone certified small business” are the first few words typically used to describe Global Systems Engineering (GSE). But, what does that mean? 

In 1997, the Small Business Reauthorization Act ratified the HUBZone program into law which was then implemented by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA continues to regulate many contracting assistance programs to help small businesses win federal contracts, including the HUBZone program. A Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) is a distressed community that typically has a low median household income and/or a high unemployment rate.  

As of right now, HUBZone small businesses are required to locate their principle office in a HUBZone, be a small business, and be at least 51% owned by U.S. citizens.  

By locating their headquarters in a HUBZone, businesses are creating a more sustainable community by reinvesting in their neighborhoods, in turn, spurring economic growth. Syntelligent Analytic Solutions is a HUBZone company from Page County, Virginia that was certified in 2012 with 13 employees. As of 2017, the company had employed 70 individuals, created 27 new jobs in the HUBZone, and spent close to $500,000 in their community annually. That’s just one example of a successful HUBZone company and the positive impact that it has on the local community. Although change doesn’t happen overnight, HUBZone companies are contributing to improving their neighborhood’s economy in the long run.  

Another requirement for the HUBZone program is to have at least 35% of employees live in a HUBZone. This creates jobs and increases employment in areas that may have a high unemployment rate. GSE optimizes this opportunity by reaching out to college students that live in HUBZones and offering them paid internships that can be worked remotely. This provides jobs for college students in need of employment as well as exposure to a positive work environment, which opens many doors post-graduation. By participating in this program, GSE is not only supporting the Alexandria area that is local to headquarters but is also supporting various HUBZones in numerous states. 

GSE values giving back to your community. Our status as a HUBZone company is just one way that GSE showcases our dedication to bettering the areas we live in. We are currently exploring different ways we can further our efforts to include implementing a corporate social responsibility program. 

Our status also provides us with unique access to federal contracting mechanisms and preferential treatment allotted specifically for our socio-economic class.  

The federal government provides preferential treatment to small businesses to help level the playing field between small and large businesses. One way they achieve this is by awarding various percentages of prime contracting dollars to different categories of small businesses. The government set a goal to award 3% of all federal prime contracting dollars to HUBZone certified small businesses. Another way the government provides assistance is by limiting competition using set-aside contracts that are specifically for small businesses. In contract competitions that are full and open, HUBZone businesses are given a 10% price evaluation preference. 

In order to maintain HUBZone status, businesses are required to re-certify for the program (currently every 3 years). A business could re-certify for 100+ years and still maintain status because there is no limit as long as the business continues to qualify. However, the SBA must be notified if there is a change in ownership, business structure, principal office, or if the 35% employee residency requirement is not met.  

Global Systems Engineering is proud to be an SBA certified HUBZone small business. Hopefully, with this article clarifying what that means, the words that are used to describe GSE hold significant meaning and provide some incite as to what the company culture of GSE is like. 

Chemical Biological Operational Analysis (CBOA) in West Virginia

GSE employees participated in CBOA-19 to provide support to DTRA. The purpose of a CBOA is to accelerate the delivery of capabilities to SMs and those that they support through the use of realistic missions in adaptive scenarios.

In August, about a dozen GSE employees participated in CBOA-19 to provide support to DTRA and the event, specifically. While GSE is appreciative of everyone’s contribution to CBOA, GSE would like to give a special thanks to Mark Disbrow for his work with CBOA!

Mark Disbrow, GSE

Mark Disbrow is Project Manager at Global Systems Engineering, Contract Support to DTRA RD- CBW, Science & Technology Integration to USACBRNS/MSCoE and CBOA Operational Manager. For the past year he, along with a large contingent team, have been planning and coordinating the Chemical Biological Operational Analysis (CBOA) event.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Research and Development-Chemical and Biological Warfighter Integration Division (RD-CBW) sponsored the CBOA 19 to obtain Service Member (SM) insight on emerging chemical and biological defense technologies in a non-attributional environment. The Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate’s Unique Mission Cell executed CBOA 19, which served to support the identification, assessment and dissemination of emerging and maturing technology information. This event was held at Camp Dawson, WV from Aug 19 to Aug 23.

The purpose of a CBOA is to accelerate the delivery of capabilities to SMs and those that they support through the use of realistic missions in adaptive scenarios. Nearly 400 representatives from government, academia and industry participated in this event that addresses military capability gaps and high priority mission deficiencies. Twenty-four (24) technologies participated in the CBOA 19 scenarios. These technologies were primarily rated at technology readiness levels 5 or 6 and came from the following four mission areas: Assess, Protect, Mitigate and Network.

There were 80 total military personnel at CBOA 19 from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army’s 20th CBRNE Division, U.S. Marine Corps’ 14th Marine Air Group, the 35th Civil Support Team WV Army National Guard, the U.S. Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Device and the U.S. Air Force’s Research Laboratory.

It should be noted that Nicolette Gaboriault-Whitcomb, Erika Yoha, Kevin Salmon and Pierce Jennings, led by Nick Francis, were able to attend this year’s CBOA. This group of JRAs were accompanied by our market research analyst, Allison Fladd, as well as our operations consultant, Addison Ruble. During the event, the group collected data from the tech companies in attendance. Nick and Kevin developed a list of interview questions with the support of Matt Torres, another JRA. The questions were focused around gathering information relating to theapplication process for the CBOA in general. Their goal was to uncover any challenges faced by attending tech companies that could have potentially prevented them from applying to the event. The team will analyze their results in the coming weeks and write a short report on conclusions about the application process. The analysis piece of this project is being led by Kevin.JRAs also conducted and will continue to conduct market research to compile information on tech companies that may be interested in attending future operational analysis events.Another job well done JRAs, keep up the great work!

Kieth Reed and Bill Torres also attended CBOA. They contributed to the planning of the event and provided support during the event, too. Kieth worked in the Command and Control (C2) center and assisted with assessments of technologies. Bill served as a key liaison for the U.S. Marine Corps participants and supported the White Cell to ensure all missions were executed as planned.