ECBC recognized for contribution of chemical, biological standoff detection

Published 20 November 2007

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s research and development of standoff biological and chemical detectors is recognized by the U.S. Army

The Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) should feel good about itself. It was recently named the Army’s Laboratory of the Year for 2007 for significant advances made in biological standoff detection. “The enormous technical ability of ECBC’s scientists, engineers and other specialists was the most significant factor in ECBC winning this award this year,” said Dr. Joe Corriveau, ECBC acting director for Research and Technology. Specifically, ECBC received the Laboratory of the Year designation in the small development laboratory category of the annual award program that evaluates Army laboratories on their accomplishments in research, development, management, and on contributions to the fighting terrorism. “Indeed, advances in algorithm development, technology optimization, and test methodologies at ECBC have allowed scientists to demonstrate for the first time ever the ability for detect-to-warn standoff biological aerosol identification,” Corriveau said.

The lab’s nomination for technology accomplishment owed to its development of an on-the-move surface contamination detection capability based on Raman spectroscopy. The work, which is taking place under the Chemical Biological Radiological Unmanned Ground Reconnaissance Program, aims to allow soldiers to conduct reconnaissance activities at operational tempo, a capability that has not been possible in the past. The top ECBC management accomplishment was the successful partnership between DHS, the FBI, and ECBC in designing and constructing the CBR Sample Receipt Facility. This accomplishment was highlighted by the Army Laboratory Assessment Group, which is charged with choosing each year’s winners, because of the interagency collaboration and project cost savings. “That we’ve been able to bring together three very different agencies to collaborate on one mission under one roof is an enormous achievement,” said Jim Zarzycki, technical director, ECBC. “This makes it possible for law enforcement and military units to coordinate their investigative efforts. By sharing a facility instead of building two, we are being good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars.”

The development of a test bed for biological detectors supports DHS’s BioWatch Program was submitted as ECBC’s contribution to the Global War on Terrorism. The test bed will support the development of the next generation biological detection capability for our homeland. “Overall, our contributions to the Warfighter in 2006 were significant,” said Zarzycki. “I am pleased that the Army Laboratory Assessment Panel agreed. The scientists, engineers and specialists at ECBC are doing incredible work. This award recognizes and honors that contribution,” he said.