By Steve Lusher, Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense
/ Published April 10, 2020
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, EDGEWOOD AREA, MD. – A Department of Defense (DOD) team led by the U.S. Air Force Agile Combat Support Directorate (PEO ACS) leveraged an existing Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement within the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Consortium to award a Negatively Pressured Conex (NPC) to UTS Systems, Highland Engineering, Inc. (HEI), and Delta Flight Products (DFP).
Developed in response to a Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) from United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM); the NPC will be fitted to fly on the C-17 and C-5 fleet and will allow for the safe transport of COVID-19 impacted passengers in the upcoming months. The team is comprised of a cross-functional team of experts from Air Mobility Command, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, USTRANSCOM, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC), Air Force Medical Readiness Agency (AFMRA), Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND). The JUON response team, led by PEO ACS, compressed the rapid requirements development process from 45 days to seven days, expediting the award to meet the JUON dated 28 March.
The expected prototype will be delivered to Joint Base Charleston in mid-April. Following rigorous testing and when the capability is proven to meet requirements, a production decision will be made, with the first units being delivered as early as May 2020. "This capability will ensure USTRANSCOM has the flexibility to meet both the capacity and modularity challenges of COVID-19 patient transport while ensuring the safety of Aircrew and Medical Professionals on these missions,” said Lt. Col. Paul Hendrickson, Materiel Leader for U.S. Air Force CBRN Defense Systems Branch, PEO ACS and NPC team lead.
The OTA Consortium is an enterprise partnership between the JPEO-CBRND and the CWMD Consortium. The Joint Project Manager CBRN Protection, a part of the JPEO-CBRND, facilitated the OTA process and award. Novel capabilities are accomplished through partnerships like these, with innovation from industry and other airlines.
While the DOD’s primary goal is to protect the warfighter, this initiative demonstrates the value of interagency collaboration to accelerate response efforts, allowing for improved transport options to move infectious patients to treatment centers worldwide. The CWMD Consortium, comprised of a mixture of traditional and non-traditional contractors, small businesses, for-profit and not-for profit entities, and academia representing the key players in industry, affords agencies that have a need to prototype new technologies related to Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction a qualified pool of resources to meet urgent needs.
About the JPEO-CBRND: The Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense is the Joint Service’s lead for development, acquisition, fielding and life-cycle support of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense equipment and medical countermeasures. As an effective acquisition program, the JPEO-CBRND puts capable and supportable systems in the hands of the service members and first responders, when and where it is needed, at an affordable price. Our vision is a resilient Joint Force, enabled to fight and win unencumbered by a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear environment, championed by innovative and state-of-the-art solutions. JPM CBRN Protection develops, fields and sustains CBRN protection and increase mitigation capabilities for the Nation, focusing on developing a next-generation protective ensemble that reduces the physiological burden, decontamination systems, protective coatings and barriers.
About the AF PEO ACS: The Agile Combat Support Directorate is organized under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, and is responsible for providing materiel solutions, acquisition and sustainment for simulators, support equipment and vehicles, electronic warfare and avionics, human systems, automatic test systems and metrology and calibration, to meet Air Force operational needs. ACS has approximately 1,600 military and civilian employees across the country, and executes $5.1 billion annually.
About the AF CBRN Defense Systems Branch: The branch is part of the Human Systems Division of the PEO ACS Directorate under the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Comprise of 28 Military, Civilian and Contractors the branch directly supports the JPEO-CBRND in the development and modernization of CBRN Defense capabilities for the Joint Force. They also serve as an integrator and liaison across the AF CBRN enterprise portfolio, perform as joint program and functional leads as assigned for the JPEO-CBRND. As the lead material developer for the Air Force CBRND Enterprise they are responsible for assisting the combat developers in requirements management, ensure programs meet AF requirements, participate in system test and evaluation, coordinate training and fielding and ensure that sustainment systems are in place prior to fielding.