AF test center sees rise in technologies that sniff out bioterror threats

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.'When the military deploys to a battlefront, those back at home bases often play a unique role in speeding up development of new technologies for use in the field.

For instance, the Operations and Test Evaluation Center at Kirtland Air Force Base has seen more requests to test command and control systems and applications related to bioterrorism and chemical weaponry. Detachment 3 is the group within the Air Force center that tests command, control, communications, computers and intelligence systems. Detachment 1 specializes in biological and chemical products testing, from masks to decontamination foam.

Lt. Col. Barbara Richardson, division chief of Det 3's Communications and Information Division, likened the center to the Air Force's own Consumer Reports organization.

Because of the deployment in Iraq, the center is getting an increased number of urgent requests related to biological, chemical and C4I applications, she said. Officials would not characterize the systems or discuss them in detail.

But one system deployed in Iraq is the Theatre Battle Management Control System. The system is designed to let officers along the command chain make sure bombs, planes and other items are where they should be. The center evaluated the system and found it fit for Air Force use, said Richard Brunson, a technical adviser with Det 3.

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