News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

E. Chemical and Biological Defense

1. Scope

The National Defense Act for FY94, Public Law 103–160, consolidated management and funding of both medical and nonmedical chemical and biological defense (CBD) programs under OSD and in separate defense accounting lines. The law designated the Army as executive agent to coordinate and integrate the CBD acquisition program. In that capacity, the Army has elected to present the CBD program in this Science and Technology Master Plan. The nonmedical CBD programs are discussed here in Section IV–E, while the medical CBD programs are addressed in Section IV–Q, "Medical and Biomedical Science and Technology."

The CBD program includes those technological efforts that maximize a strong defensive posture in a biological or chemical environment, using passive and active means as deterrents to the use of weapons of mass destruction. These technologies include the areas of chemical and biological (CB) detection, information assessment (including identification, modeling, and intelligence), contamination avoidance, protection of individual soldiers and equipment, and collective protection against weapons of mass destruction.

2. Rationale

Defense against CB agents is accomplished at several levels: enhancing survivability of land combat systems and helicopters, detecting CB agents before personnel are exposed, protecting personnel once agents are employed, decontaminating following exposures, and providing safe and effective medical countermeasures. Related areas include modeling and simulation (M&S) of agent characteristics and modernizing armored systems for CB survivability.

3. Technology Subareas

a. Detection

Goals and Timeframes

Standoff short–range CB detection is being pursued with lasers that can detect, identify, and map chemical vapors, aerosols, and liquids on the ground at ranges of 3–5 kilometers (km). The longer range biological threat will be detected at ranges up to 50 km using eye–safe lasers with enhanced imaging capability that will employ polarization and multiple wavelength excitation to increase discrimination range against natural biological backgrounds (FY00).

Passive technologies such as surface–excited infrared thermoluminescence, being studied for their ability to detect CB agents on the battlefield, require development of atmospheric databases, spectroscopic detection algorithms, and optical telescope designs for airborne and space platforms (FY10). These approaches are being evaluated against the use of multiple point sensors, either distributed throughout the battlespace or mounted on mobile platforms (FY02).

Because of the unique characteristics of CB agents, their physico–chemical properties must be carefully mapped to ensure detection, and a theoretical basis for detecting unknown but related agents must be developed. Infrared, visible, and ultraviolet (UV) spectroscopy, as well as mass, Raman, and laser desorption or electrospray particle trap mass spectrometry (MS), are being applied to this problem. Finally, aerosol science is providing the basis for the development of new optical methods for interrogating aerosol clouds from a distance for the purpose of detection.

Closer to the soldier is point detection. New fluorescent, acoustic, and optical biosensors are being designed for enhanced sensitivity and more flexible detection capability. Recent advances in the acceleration of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on a miniaturized scale now permit the exploitation of DNA probes for field detection of pathogens. A major thrust of a Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan (JWSTP) Defense Technology Objective (DTO), J.04 "Integrated Detection Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD)," is the development of a rapid, automated field detection device based on the PCR. One key DTO element is the development of recombinant antibodies to serve as the recognition element of these new biosensors (FY98). Recombinant antibodies will ultimately be designed and quickly selected from genetic "super libraries" (FY99) to have specific detection capabilities, and novel starburst dendrimers are being studied for use on tailored reactive surfaces. Another major approach to point detection is MS, and miniature automated pyrolysis–based versions are being assessed for integration into existing CBD platforms (FY01). Of critical importance for biosensor and MS approaches is bio–aerosol sampling, since characteristics (e.g., concentration of detectable units per unit volume of air) of biological aerosols differ dramatically from chemical vapors, with resulting effects on detection efficacy (see Figure IV–1).

Figure IV-1. Bioaerosol Sampler and Detector

Major Technical Challenges

In the post–World War II era, detection was a simple matter of knowing what agents potential adversaries possessed and designing analytical procedures to detect them. The proliferation of a broad spectrum of biological agents such as toxins, viruses, and bacteria, and the potential for genetically engineered pathogens have complicated this task immeasurably. The ideal detection system would operate continually in a standoff mode and would be capable of detecting all known—and even unknown—agents.

Detection of biological weapons against a high and variable background of ambient biological material.
Miniaturization of sensor components using nanofabrication techniques.
Design and production of biological recognition sites such as genetic probes and recombinant peptides.
Rapid sampling of aerosols and vapors and modeling of their behavior under different meteorological conditions.

b. Protection

Goals and Timeframes

The second major theme in CBD is protection, and this may be divided into individual and collective protection. The foci of individual protection are to reduce the physiological burden of the protective mask and clothing, thereby reducing performance degradation, to integrate the mask into future soldier systems, and to protect against future CB threat agents. To accomplish these goals, new materials will be needed to decrease breathing resistance (FY05) and increase binocular vision (FY05). Computer–aided design (CAD) and rapid prototyping techniques are being employed to both improve mask performance and manufacturing processes. Supporting this, new physiological and protection tests are being developed. For clothing, selectively permeable and smart membranes are being assessed for enhanced protection and reduced heat stress. Selectively permeable membranes laminated to lightweight shell fabrics will provide low thermal insulation and high vapor transmission. Incorporation of reactive materials into the membrane will reduce the need for carbon and extend service life. Collective protection S&T efforts focus on advanced filtration and sheltering concepts for assembled troops that promise to reduce the power, weight, and volume of systems as well as to improve protection against NBC threats. Efforts to enhance vapor and aerosol filtration are concentrating on novel materials and processes. Temperature swing adsorption (TSA), pressure swing adsorption (PSA), and catalytic oxidation (CATOX), as well as improvements to existing single–pass filter systems, are under investigation to provide new systems requiring reduced logistical support through greatly increased service life and improved reliability against an evolving CB threat (FY01). Additionally, adsorbent materials with desirable surface characteristics and precisely controlled pore structures are under investigation to identify improvements to the traditional activated carbon substrates (FY10). Investigations are ongoing to assess regenerable fine particle filtration concepts with the potential of providing long–term protection against that class of NBC threats. Also under way are investigations of the integration of regenerative filtration technologies into host weapons systems, the ability to incorporate a surface acoustic wave sensor into a filter bed to signal impending loss of its filtration capacity, and performance of fielded filters against nonstandard threat materials such as industrial vapors. Finally, modeling efforts to describe filter performance based on fundamental properties and process parameters are in progress. Efforts to improve shelter technology are concentrating on novel materials that are more affordable and provide better protection against a broad range of NBC agents.

Major Technical Challenges

The major challenge will be to identify new materials offering improved protection against a broad and evolving spectrum of NBC agents while reducing the physiological burden to the soldier. More specifically:

Apply new adsorbent technology and materials to improve the performance of TSA and PSA processes as well as the traditional single pass filtration systems.
Identify new catalytic materials to efficiently destroy chemical agents while minimizing the production of hazardous by–products.
Develop lighter tent materials with improved protection properties.
Identify practical regenerative particulate filtration concepts and systems.
Expand the understanding of integrating standard and regenerable filtration technologies into host systems.
Develop improved modeling approaches that will permit fast track maturation of new filtration processes.

c. Decontamination

Goals and Timeframes

The third major theme is decontamination, and this can be divided into three categories: immediate—carried out by the individual soldier, operational—carried out by the decontamination unit, and thorough—performed by the chemical company, usually at an equipment decontamination site. Both hydrolytic and oxidative reactions are being studied, with the goal of formulating stable decontaminants with new reactants for rapid destruction of mustard, and V and G nerve agents. Catalytic materials such as enzymes have been cloned and assessed for their ability to destroy chemical agents under mild, ambient conditions, thus avoiding damage to delicate equipment and the environment. An enzyme that degrades G class nerve agents has been scaled up and produced via biomanufacturing, and will be subjected to a NATO field test (FY98). Enzymes that degrade V–class nerve agents are being screened for efficacy and down–selected for scale–up (FY98). Ultimately, these new catalytic materials may be incorporated into sorbents and self–decontaminating coatings, fibers, or paints (FY10) (see Figure IV–2).

Figure IV-2. Molecular Model of Catalytic Oxidation

Major Technical Challenges

The main technical objective is to design decontaminating materials with highly catalytic properties, long shelf life, and an ability to function under a broad range of temperatures and pH.

Using molecular modeling and site–directed mutagenesis, design catalytic enzymes with enhanced turnover (i.e., degradative) rates, and stability under various environmental conditions.
Design and synthesize conductive polymers and finishes that incorporate catalytic enzymes or their active sites.

d. Modeling and Simulation

Goals and Timeframes

The use of M&S is an essential aspect of the current and future CBD program. Advanced computer simulation technology will allow soldiers to be immersed in a realistic and physically accurate computer–generated combat environment that includes CB agent cloud movement and target effects under variable weather, terrain, and foliage conditions. This capability will allow the military user, for the first time, to experience the impact and consequences of CB weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in operational situations and, more important, will demonstrate the potential value of CBD equipment (FY01). Simulations of both conceptual and actual CBD equipment will result in improved and stable performance requirements to be established early in development (FY01). The distributed interactive simulation (DIS) network will enable the user to evaluate the "value–added" of each CBD item at every phase of development (see Figure IV–3). By means of virtual prototyping, soldiers will contribute to the detailed design of new equipment throughout the development cycle. The combination of constructive (wargaming) and virtual (3D) simulations will permit CBD hardware performance characteristics to be optimized prior to production. Virtual prototyping will greatly decrease the acquisition time and associated costs of development, including test and evaluation (T&E) elements. The mutual interaction between user and developer, provided by M&S throughout the acquisition cycle, will result in superior CBD products within the limited funding and resource constraints anticipated for the future.

Figure IV-3. Simulation of Intercept of Chenical or Biological Agent Munition
Figure IV-3. Simulation of Intercept of Chenical or Biological Agent Munition
Click on the image to view enlarged version

As the threat evolves and proliferates, it becomes increasingly important to be able to identify, synthesize, and assess the physico–chemical and toxicological properties of new compounds. These studies are being used to develop quantitative structure–activity–property relationships and, ultimately, to predict the behavior of new compounds in biosystems. Novel, short–acting sedatives are being developed from these efforts as potential less–than–lethal chemicals for a variety of applications, and candidate nontoxic simulants with reduced environmental impact are also being selected and tested.

Major Technical Challenges

The two main objectives for M&S are to develop models that accurately predict the effect of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents on battlefield performance, as well as the protective capability of CBW defense equipment. Second, to model structure–activity relationships to predict the threat potential of new compounds and their behavior in both bio– and ecosystems.

Develop a verifiable capability to analyze CB detectors and detection systems in existing "constructive" wargames.
Formulate a "value–added" methodology using DIS to assess the operational benefits of CB defensive equipment in the light–to–moderate battlefield situations.
Enhance the display and assessment ability for tactical ballistic missile interception of CB warheads within the "virtual environment" simulation arena.
Create a verifiable methodology using the "VL STRACK" cloud transport and diffusion model to depict the movement of military vehicles through/around diffusing CB clouds, and through and around heavy foliage and wooded terrain.
Install modules addressing CBD functions (detection, protection, decontamination, and survivability) into joint service computer wargames to enhance comparative decision making earlier in the acquisition cycle.

4. Roadmap of Technology Objectives

The roadmap of technology objectives for Chemical and Biological Defense is shown in Table IV–10.

5. Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

The influence of this technology area on TRADOC FOCs is summarized in Table IV–11.

Table IV–10.  Technical Objectives for Chemical and Biological Defense

Technology Subarea

Near Term FY98–99

Mid Term FY00–04

Far Term FY05–13

Detection Genetically engineered antibodies

Flow cytometry as an immunoassay platform for biodetection

Genetic super library

Early warning of bioagent detection at 1–5 km

Automated single step point detection

Subsymptomatic chemical agent interior monitor

Early warning of aerosol cloud at 5–50 km

Small, lightweight chemical monitor

Lightweight CB detection from unmanned ground vehicle (UGV)/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platform

Miniaturized photo–array detection/identification of biological agents

Standoff chemical detection at 20 km

CB water and surface contamination monitor

Man–portable integrated CB detection system

24–hour liquid protection

50% reduction in breathing resistance

Develop advanced selectively permeable membrane eliminating/reducing the use of carbon in chemical protective ensembles

50% increase in binocular vision

Expanded performance degradation model

Compatibility with future soldier systems

Full field of view (FOV) through transparent face piece

New super dense absorbents

Smart barrier membranes

Collective Protection Prototype pressure swing absorption (PSA) system

Laboratory scale temperature swing absorption (TSA) system

Combined PSA/TSA/CATOX system

Engineered absorbents

Monolithic filtration media

Membrane filtration

Decontamination New polymers with agent reactive sites for more efficient decontamination (decon) Automatic decon through conductive coatings Self–decon coatings
Modeling and
Distributed interactive simulation capability for CB detectors Upgraded wargames and virtual prototypes of CBD equipment Virtual reality using man in the loop

Virtual/actual CBD equipment in fully integrated constructive and virtual combat simulations


Table IV–11.  Chemical and Biological Defense Linkages to Future Operational Capabilities

Technology Subarea

Integrated and Branch/Functional Unique Future Operational Capabilities

Detection TR 97–020 Information Collection, Dissemination, and Analysis
TR 97–022 Mobility—Combat Mounted
TR 97–030 Sustainment Maintenance
TR 97–043 Survivability—Materiel
Individual Protection TR 97–030 Sustainment Maintenance
TR 97–038 Casualty Care, Patient Treatment, and Area Support
TR 97–044 Survivability—Personnel
Collective Protection TR 97–030 Sustainment Maintenance
TR 97–038 Casualty Care, Patient Treatment, and Area Support
TR 97–044 Survivability—Personnel
Decontamination TR 97–030 Sustainment Maintenance
TR 97–038 Casualty Care, Patient Treatment, and Area Support
Modeling and Simulation TR 97–002 Situational Awareness
TR 97–052 Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, and Simulations Fidelity Requirements
TR 97–054 Virtual Reality
TR 97–057 Modeling and Simulation

Click here to go to next page of document