ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND - EDGEWOOD, Md. –
The Honorable Deborah Rosenblum, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs (ASD(NCB)) and several other DOD officials visited the headquarters of the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense (JPEO-CBRND) at the Aberdeen Proving Ground - Edgewood, Md., on Monday, October 25, 2021. This was Ms. Rosenblum’s first visit to JPEO-CBRND after her Senate confirmation vote on July 29, 2021.
In her role, Ms. Rosenblum serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment (A&S) on chemical biological defense, as well as nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. As part of the Chemical Biological Defense Program, the JPEO-CBRND receives strategic guidance from the ASD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense.
At the start of the visit, Dr. Jason Roos, the Joint Program Executive Officer for CBRN Defense, introduced Ms. Rosenblum and other invited guests to Deputy JPEO Mr. Dan McCormick, the Joint Project Managers and Leads, and other chiefs and directors within the organization. He then explained the JPEO’s mission and vision, its strategic priorities, and how the organization fits within the broader CBRN defense community. “We are the acquisition arm delivering your capability, “ said Dr. Roos. “Our primary customer is the warfighter.”
Dr. Roos highlighted acquisition excellence as one of his strategic priorities. “When you talk about data-driven acquisition, this is a key focal point for us and our organization.” Further highlighting the role that the analytical framework tool plays in JPEO’s decision making, he said, “When we’re weighing two different solutions, it’s hard to look at an Excel chart and be able to tell what’s best and what’s not. I have the ability with our analytics group to do that in real time, to be able to turn the knobs and see for example if heat burden is more important than durability. Using that model, we’re able to pull out which are the best capabilities.”
When describing how he would provide transformational capabilities to current and future warfighters, Dr. Roos explained JPEO’s industry outreach goals and how the program drives to “look at ways to be innovative in how we do our business, get after that game-changing technology, and be able to understand what’s going on in the technology space.”
Throughout his talk with Ms. Rosenblum, Dr. Roos spoke highly of the JPEO’s workforce. “I hope you are able to walk away today with an understanding of the level of expertise of our people and talent that we have, in everything from the scientific and technical side, to the military, to the acquisition, to the regulatory space.” He continued, “They are engaged, they are appreciated, and they do really great work here.”
Various CBRN defense capabilities and medical countermeasures were on display for the guests to learn and interact with, with subject matter experts on hand to explain and address any questions the group might have. Given the JPEO’s vast portfolio, the displays were categorized into three sections: 1: those that physically protect the Warfighter from CBRN hazards such as the latest chem bio suits for special operations forces, air masks for pilots of rotary wing aircraft, and prophylactic medicine; 2: those that help Warfighters and commanders understand CBRN hazards in the battlespace such as hazard detectors, integrated early warning systems, medical diagnostic equipment, and software that models the effects of adversary CBRN material usage; and, 3: those that help mitigate the effects of the enemy’s use of CBRN material such as autoinjectors and casualty containment systems. Ms. Rosenblum also toured vehicles within the portfolio, including the analytical laboratory system fielded to National Guard Bureau Civil Support Teams as well as the nuclear biological chemical reconnaissance vehicle and its sensor suite upgrade with unmanned ground and aerial vehicles, and watched a smoke-filled demonstration by the screening obscuration module.
Before touring the capabilities within the JPEO’s portfolio, Ms. Rosenblum delivered brief remarks. “I’ve heard so much about JPEO and all the great work that you all are doing.” On the topic of JPEO’s continuous efforts supporting HHS since the beginning of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Rosenblum said, “As an American, I just want to say thank you all very much for everything you did during COVID and continue to do.”
Also in attendance were Executive Deputy to the Commanding General of Army Futures Command Ms. Susan Goodyear, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense Dr. Brandi Vann, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Chemical Biological Center (CBC) Director Dr. Eric Moore, the Commanding General of U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick Brigadier General Tony McQueen, and representatives from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction. The distinguished guests also visited the DEVCOM CBC headquarters and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense (MRICD), co-located at Edgewood, and the 20th CBRNE Command, located at Aberdeen Proving Ground - North, Md.
The JPEO-CBRND, along with DEVCOM CBC, MRICD, and the 20th CBRNE Command, as well as U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Infection Diseases (USAMRIID), the U.S. Army Public Health Command, the U.S. Army Chemical Material Activity, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science and Technology Office, and PEO Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives comprise what is known as "Team CBRNE." Collectively, Team CBRNE has life cycle responsibility for the safety and defense of the Joint Forces, civilians and nation against CBRNE threats, providing medical and material solutions, safe destruction of chemical stockpile and recovered material, expertise in technologies and emerging threats, promoting health and preventing disease and injury, and providing countering weapons of mass destruction equipment.