AF team improves counter-biological warfare capability, recognized for excellence

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs staff report
A cross-organizational Air Force team, led by the deputy chief of staff, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration (AF/A10), won the 2015 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award for developing a new concept called the Biological Detection Concept of Employment. BCDOE improves the probability of detecting a biological weapon attack on an air base in time to implement effective medical countermeasures. This concept will reduce the number of casualties and impact to Air Force mission capability resulting from enemy use of biological weapons.

From 2013 to 2015, the team developed, tested, and coordinated the BDCOE. Knowing that 100 percent protection was not technologically or operationally possible, the BDCOE team looked at the project from a risk-based perspective. It used intelligence information along with already fielded equipment and new procedures to achieve a viable detect-to-treat capability across the Air Force. The BCDOE provides an $8.4 million per year savings in sustainment costs.

“The biological warfare threat is real,” said Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, the deputy chief of staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration. “Being able to identify the specific agent used in any attack in time for effective medical countermeasures to be implemented is critical.”

“Employment of the BDCOE will reduce illness and fatalities for exposures to the disease-causing agents responsible for the pathogens anthrax, plague, brucellosis and smallpox,” said Timothy Barnett, a member of the BDCOE team from AF/A10. Using the procedures developed by the team, a 25 to 47 percent reduction in disease and fatalities is possible.

Maj. Gen. Tim Green, the Air Force director of civil engineers stated, “I applaud the efforts of the BDCOE Team to develop processes and methods that accomplish Biological Detection in a more effective and efficient way than we have been for the past 17 years. I think the BDCOE is a good example of what the chief of staff is looking for with the Strategic Imperatives of Agility and Inclusiveness laid out in the (Air Force) Strategic Master Plan.”

The cross-organizational team was comprised of members from AF/A10; DCS, Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection (AF/A4); Air Force Medical Support Agency; Air Force Civil Engineer Center; Air Combat Command Surgeon General; and Pacific Air Forces.