The National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska recently hosted participants from two National Guard Civil Support Teams (CST) as well as Special Operations Command for a socially distanced Chemical Signature Recognition Course at its 10,000-square-foot conference facility in Annapolis Junction, MD.
This is the first time NSRI accepted per seat registrations vs. requiring an entire team to participate — providing an opportunity for partakers to network, learn and strategize together.
“Having individuals register made for a more diverse student pool and brought together operators who wouldn't normally train together,” said Dan Polanski, NSRI deputy director of field operations and training. “This is an important addition to our training philosophy — we’re aiming to build better teams by promoting the exchange of ideas and concepts between interagency participants."
This specific course focuses on the detection and identification of clandestine chemical weapons laboratories through a team-based exploration of laboratory chemical synthesis. It is taught and supervised by Thomas Mueller, Ph.D., NSRI director of chemical defense programs. The joint teams of participants ultimately compete to develop the best strategies to design, build and identify clandestine chemical laboratories.
“The mission space around clandestine laboratory identification and sensitive site exploitation is a small community though often groups and organizations are unaware of their compatriots in other forces,” Dr. Mueller said. “The value added through bringing these diverse mission partners together is observed through the unique strategies that evolve from the combined strengths of their different perspectives."
Walking away from the course, the front-line operations can better detect and identify dangerous clandestine chemical agent production operations.
Sean Durst, survey team leader for the 24th New York CST, said working with mission partners outside of his CST was extremely helpful — hearing their experiences aided in further standing operating procedure development.
Upon returning to home, Durst was able to further educate his colleagues on clandestine chemical processes and the very real hazards associated with it.
“This was the most realistic training I have participated in,” he said. “It was extremely informative and challenged our minds to think like the adversary. It got us to think about how to exploit other avenues to chemical weapons production."
Due to social distancing requirements, space is more limited for several upcoming courses. Secure your seat as soon as possible at nsri.nebraska.edu/xbrt.
About the National Strategic Research Institute
Through the National Strategic Research Institute at the University of Nebraska leading scientists deliver innovative national security research, technology, product and strategy development, training and exercises, and subject matter expertise to the Department of Defense and other federal agencies. One of only 14 DoD-designated University Affiliated Research Centers in the country, NSRI is sponsored by U.S. Strategic Command and works to ensure the United States’ safety and preparedness against increasingly sophisticated threats. Read about our mission.