MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Marine Corps Logistics Bases' Joint Service Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Equipment Assessment Program is spearheading an initiative that will bolster individual chemical, biological and radiological readiness for the U.S. Navy.
Under the direction of JSNBCEA Program manager H. Jack Hart and assistant program manager Greg Maine, MarCorLogBases' active duty NBC Personnel and contracted NBC specialists from Battelle Memorial Institute will be task-organized into Navy Readiness Improvement Program teams to service the ships of Naval Surface Forces Pacific/Atlantic.
In the spring of this year the Navy surfaced a requirement via the JSNBCEAP community for chemical, biological, and radiological readiness support of individual protective equipment. The NRI Program scope includes assessing the serviceability, reconditioning if necessary, laser etching identification and fit/leakage testing of CBR masks for crewmembers.
Additionally, all ship's personnel complements will undergo measurement and fit testing for individual chemical protective equipment ensembles.
Once these actions are completed the results will be entered into a database to ensure asset visibility for each individual sailor, Total Asset Visibility and shelf life management of Naval assets.
Currently, a pilot program, demonstrating proof of principle and providing critical baseline data, is underway. Active duty and Battelle contract personnel currently assigned to the Marine Corps' West and East Coast NBC Equipment Assessment Units boarded the fast frigate, USS Thach in San Diego on Aug. 30 and set up shop in the helicopter bay with six portable TDA-99, mask leakage testing apparatus and other support equipment.
By Sept. 6 all available embarked Sailors had undergone their assessments and all goals and objectives were met. Feedback from the Navy was extremely positive and complimentary regarding the professionalism demonstrated by the EAU team.
On Sept. 23, pilot team members embarked aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in her homeport of Bremerton, Wash., with the mission of assessing between 800-1,000 Sailors for approximately three weeks while underway.
The possibility also exists that the final pilot assessment may be conducted on the Navy's newest carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, in the mid-November timeframe.
Naval Sea Systems Command, the NRIP program sponsor, indicates formal implementation is scheduled for February 2003. It is estimated it will take four years to complete the first cycle of approximately 300 vessels.
Between now and next February the Battelle Albany office will be the coordinating activity tasked with recruiting and hiring personnel with the requisite skills to expand the NRIP teams. The teams will be headquartered with the EAUs at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C. However, actual mission execution will occur at Naval Operating bases on both coasts.
This unique LogBases/Battelle teaming relationship is proof positive that the government and private sector can mutually support critical logistics programs that have national security implications in today's ever-changing, asymmetrical strategic environment.