Employees prepare NBC gear for use
By Sgt. Joshua Bozeman
| | February 12, 2003
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- With the threat of nuclear, biological or chemical warfare ever present, the Department of Defense has recently given the responsibility of maintaining the equipment necessary to face these threats to the NBC equipment assessment branch here.
According to Jack Hart, NBC Equipment Assessment Branch Head here and Joint Service NBC Assessment Program Manager, were given the responsibility in November.
Now, instead of each branch of service testing NBC gear independently, the Marine Corps tests this kind of equipment for all DoD.
"Individual protective equipment is very sensitive and uniquely managed," said Hart. "We were responsible for the product quality and shelf life management for the Marine Corps. Now we do it for the entire DoD."
To ensure the equipment is still usable and safe, it is tested before the war fighter has the opportunity to wear it.
According to Hart, the average shelf life for NBC equipment is five years. The gear is stored in locations of varying temperatures to ensure it is strong enough to survive various elements service members in the field may face.
The destructive testing of the equipment involves taking a sample from a batch of NBC gear and subjecting it to various chemical and biological elements military personnel may face in combat situations. Once the gear has passed all the tests, it is distributed to those who need it, said Hart.
Not only does the new process save time and money, it allows those handling the NBC gear to receive feedback, said Hart. The feedback is then used to improve the process of testing gear and getting it to service members in the field. At times, the feedback also helps improve the product. One major factor is that the new program reduces the repetitiveness of NBC destructive testing by having only one entity actually do the testing. It also ensures that all products are held to the same standards.
According to Hart, NBC equipment is strategically placed throughout the world in case of emergencies.