The country has developed a new weapon system to help improve its ability to detect deadly biological agents. This unique facility is now functional and is located at a U.S. Army facility in Utah.
The Dugway Proving Ground, is where the elaborate system of testing the presence of lethal biological microbes such as anthrax, ricin and plague is being housed. It is located 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City,
It was opened last Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The facility costs $39 million which is included in the budget of the Department of Defense. It will begin its operations several weeks from now.
Previous detection methods require a piece by piece examination to determine how effective they are.
The military detection systems involve an equipment the size of a refrigerator, however the new chamber is sufficient enough to accommodate two at a time so the comparison becomes easier and more accurate.
“It is a huge deal,” Dugway’s commander, Col. Ronald Fizer, told the Deseref News. “We have not had the ability to evaluate these systems in a live environment before. This allows us to have a high degree of confidence in our systems.”
Carmen Spencer of the federal Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense said. “It’s paramount that biological agent detection systems operate at the highest efficiency given the evolving nature of global threats.”
“The world is a far different place than it was 20 years ago,” he said. “There’s an ever-increasing awareness of the potential of a biological threat against nation states by non-nation states.”
Al-Qaida has made known of its plans to acquire biological weapons and biological labs are top targets for several terrorists’ organizations, Fizer said.
“Before we didn’t have a chamber that could test these systems. This gives us that readiness,” he told the Deseret News.
Douglas Andersen, chief of the life sciences division at Dugway’s West Desert System, agreed. “We can do those tests and safely challenge or expose a real system to agent in the air and see if it will respond.”