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Homeland Security

Chemical Security Analysis Center

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Location: Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD

In 2006, by Presidential Directive, DHS established the Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) to identify and assess chemical threats and vulnerabilities in the United States and develop the best responses to potential chemical hazards. CSAC supports the homeland security community by providing a crucial knowledge repository of chemical threat information, design and execution of laboratory and field tests, and a science-based threat and risk analysis capability, among other services. CSAC’s presence on the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) allows close collaboration with Army scientists and engineers.

Offering Reach-back Capabilities in Response to Investigations and Crises

For inquiries related to chemical threats and chemical hazards, the CSAC offers a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week informational response capability, known as “CSAC Reachback,” to federal, state, local, territorial and first responder agencies. The CSAC Reachback is a key resource for the National Operations Center. CSAC Reachback typically responds to 70 to 80 requests per year. Key customers include the Department of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and many other agencies and industry stakeholders.

Leading the Way in Assessing Toxic Chemical Risks

CSAC executes the Chemical Terrorism Risk Assessment (CTRA) to help the federal government manage its resources and priorities to the appropriate level of risk. CTRA ranks chemicals by risk based on impact of exposure, intelligence information and modeling techniques. Agencies use the CTRA Desktop Tool to maintain awareness of chemical threats and analyze mitigation and response strategies to protect the public.

Project Jack Rabbit—Helping DHS and its Partners Reduce the Risk of Large-Scale Toxic Inhalation Hazard Chemical Releases

Each year, hundreds of millions of tons of chemicals like chlorine and ammonia are transported through U.S. population centers. Although these chemicals are essential, they are toxic and pose a risk to the public through accidental release or an act of terrorism. To better understand and address this risk, CSAC conducted Project Jack Rabbit in 2010 and initiated the Jack Rabbit II program in 2014.

Jack Rabbit I involved a series of 1- to 2-ton outdoor chlorine and ammonia release trials involving a team of stakeholders from government, industry and academia.

Jack Rabbit II will continue that effort with release trials of up to 20 tons. These experiments are unprecedented and will fill crucial knowledge and data gaps. Prior to Jack Rabbit I and II, large-scale chlorine releases have never been tested at volumes representative of rail cars, tanker trucks, barges or bulk storage tanks. This work will improve hazard prediction modeling, emergency planning and response and mitigation strategies, as well as improve the United States' resilience against chemical release incidents.

Did You Know?

In January 2014, approximately 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol accidentally leaked into the Elk River, affecting hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents. As part of the DHS response, CSAC worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal, state and local responders to evaluate and assess the impact.

Project Jack Rabbit Wins National and Regional FLC Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer"pictures of the award"

The Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) was honored with the national Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for its work on Project Jack Rabbit. Dr. Shannon Fox, Program Manager for Project Jack Rabbit, and Mr. Adolfo Negron, Deputy Director of CSAC, accepted the award during the FLC National Meeting held April 21-23, 2014 in Rockville, MD. The award also honored four interagency partners, including Mr. Jack Aherne and Ms. Patricia McKenney of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Ms. Nohemi Zerbi of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), and Mr. Donald Storwold of the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground. This is the second FLC award for technology transfer that the CSAC and its Jack Rabbit team and colleagues have received for their work. Previously, Fox and Negron accepted a FLC Mid-Atlantic Region Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for this work at the FLC Mid-Atlantic Annual Conference on November 14, 2013.[*]

Project Jack Rabbit was conceptualized and planned after Congressional leaders expressed concerns that railcars filled with chlorine and other toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemicals passing through metropolitan areas could put the public at risk due to releases born of accidents or acts of terrorism. In 2010, with TSA and DHS S&T as cosponsors, Fox and Negron led CSAC’s successful execution of Project Jack Rabbit, which involved a series of highly-instrumented multi-ton chlorine and ammonia field release trials with the purpose of filling critical knowledge and data gaps for large-scale TIH chemical release incidents.

The two awards were the result of Project Jack Rabbit knowledge products and resources transitioned to the private sector via four major trade associations representing hundreds of industrial members including the Chlorine Institute (CI), the Ammonia Safety & Training Institute (ASTI), The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The work and technology transfer is enabling the chemical and railroad industries to more safely conduct operations involving TIH chemicals. The project’s web-based data repository hosts and distributes the project’s extensive data, videos, and reports and is used to transition these products to industry partners (https://jr-dpg.dpg.army.mil). From these resources, new insights, enhanced training, and novel risk mitigation strategies continue to develop through CSAC’s work with their private-sector partners to address and reduce the risks and hazards associated with TIH chemicals.

*Public website article

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