WASHINGTON— To improve our Nation’s defense against radiological threats, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) completed a technical refresh of 60 mobile Radiation Portal Monitors currently deployed and used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CWMD supplies CBP with this capability to scan cargo for potential radiological threats.
CWMD works to research, develop, test, procure, and deploy the latest chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) detection equipment to ensure our partners operating on the frontlines have the most advanced defenses to counter potential threats. CBP operators need a movable radiological detection capability to augment the stationary Radiation Portal Monitors, to achieve the legislative requirements in the SAFE Port Act. Mobile Radiation Portal Monitors (mRPMs) offer CBP the capability to scan cargo shipments arriving at seaports across the Nation and even support national events such as presidential inaugurations and emergencies including Superstorm Sandy.
Through the technology refresh project, CWMD enhanced the existing fleet of 60 mRPMs by improving operational efficiently, utility, and maintainability of the fleet. For more than a decade, CBP has relied on the use of mRPMs to counter radiological threats. CWMD conducted the technology refresh after assessing operator needs observed in CBP’s fleet-wide assessment. CWMD also partnered with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to design and develop a prototype of the technology refresh.
“I could not be more impressed with the team for ensuring that all 60 mRPMs across the Nation were fully operational and delivered the highest quality of radiation detection, especially given the challenges due to COVID-19 travel restrictions,” said Tanya Stasiuk, CWMD’s program manager for mRPMs. “We are also grateful for our partners at the Department of Energy who designated the project as mission critical in July 2020. Because of this designation, PNNL and its subcontractors could continue their vital national security mission travel throughout the country.”
CWMD serves as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s focal point for counter-WMD efforts. By supporting operational partners across federal, state, and local levels, CWMD coordinates and manages the detection effort for CBRN and health security threats. CWMD is committed to addressing current mission needs to enable operators on the ground to successfully detect, interdict, respond to, and report CBRN threats.