1
Introduction

Background

The purpose of chemical and biological defense research is to develop equipment that will protect U.S. military forces, sustain combat operations, and maintain system effectiveness in an environment contaminated by chemical or biological agents. The cornerstone of the defense strategy is early detection and warning so steps can be taken to prevent the exposure of personnel and equipment. The complement to detection is protection (i.e., to insulate personnel from chemical or biological agents with individual clothing ensembles and respirators, as well as collective filtration systems and shelters). Modeling and simulation technologies are used to assess conditions, train personnel, and develop materiel for operating in an environment contaminated by chemical or biological agents, develop parameters for equipment design, and enable field commanders to integrate and interpret real-time data.

In 1993, the Army established the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), which is responsible for nuclear, biological, and chemical defense, technology, products, and services to support U.S. forces, ensure the safe storage of chemical materiel, oversee remediation and restoration after exposure, and support chemical treaties and demilitarization. The Research and Technology Directorate (RTD) of the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center (ERDEC), which is part of the CBDCOM, performs research and development for biological, and chemical defense programs for the Army.

In 1995, the CBDCOM requested that the National Research Council (NRC) provide expert, impartial, independent advice on various aspects of its activities and programs. In response to this request, the NRC organized the Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command, referred to here as the



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--> 1 Introduction Background The purpose of chemical and biological defense research is to develop equipment that will protect U.S. military forces, sustain combat operations, and maintain system effectiveness in an environment contaminated by chemical or biological agents. The cornerstone of the defense strategy is early detection and warning so steps can be taken to prevent the exposure of personnel and equipment. The complement to detection is protection (i.e., to insulate personnel from chemical or biological agents with individual clothing ensembles and respirators, as well as collective filtration systems and shelters). Modeling and simulation technologies are used to assess conditions, train personnel, and develop materiel for operating in an environment contaminated by chemical or biological agents, develop parameters for equipment design, and enable field commanders to integrate and interpret real-time data. In 1993, the Army established the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), which is responsible for nuclear, biological, and chemical defense, technology, products, and services to support U.S. forces, ensure the safe storage of chemical materiel, oversee remediation and restoration after exposure, and support chemical treaties and demilitarization. The Research and Technology Directorate (RTD) of the Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center (ERDEC), which is part of the CBDCOM, performs research and development for biological, and chemical defense programs for the Army. In 1995, the CBDCOM requested that the National Research Council (NRC) provide expert, impartial, independent advice on various aspects of its activities and programs. In response to this request, the NRC organized the Standing Committee on Program and Technical Review of the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command, referred to here as the

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--> CBDCOM Standing Committee (CSC). This committee was assembled to provide expertise in the areas of technology pertinent to CBDCOM's mission, which includes five primary areas: maintaining a chemical and biological defense technology base and procurement capability relating the results of tests on chemical and biological defense equipment to battlefield performance informing the Army, Congress, and the public about chemical and biological issues transferring defense technology to potential users integrating CBDCOM's technology and advanced concepts with the work of the Army's battle laboratories The CSC was asked to consider technological issues and systems to assist the CBDCOM in defining a vision for the future. During its first year, the CSC was also asked to evaluate potential studies that would address the concerns of the CBDCOM commander and executive director and the technical director of the ERDEC, which has historically been an important organization in the Army and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for chemical and biological research. After numerous visits and interviews with key personnel at the ERDEC and the CBDCOM and internal deliberations, the CSC focused on two major areas: (1) a technical assessment of the man-in-simulant test (MIST) program; and (2) a review of the processes and technical character of the ERDEC's mass spectrometry and bioremediation programs. The results of the assessment of the MIST program were documented in a 1997 NRC report (NRC, 1997). The present (second) report focuses on the ERDEC's mass spectrometry and bioremediation programs. Charge to the Committee The CSC was guided by the following Statement of Task: The committee proposes to review the processes used by two representative, but very different ERDEC programs, mass spectrometry and bioremediation,1 to move basic research results and technology through 1   Bioremediation is the term CBDCOM uses to describe the destruction, by biological or biologically-derived materials, of chemical agents stored in weapons and other chemicals of military interest.

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--> development. Although the review will consider the processes used by the two programs, it will necessarily include comment upon the technical character of the programs conducted by the two representative teams, since those processes must be assumed to affect overall technical quality. The CSC will review the procedures used to: acquire, retain, and develop research and engineering capabilities, skills and talents; assess those processes associated with developing or acquiring technological solutions to fulfill materiel requirements; promote an overall quality focus by maintaining high technical standards and continuously improving research, product quality, and productivity; and assess customer satisfaction with the technological solutions and products delivered, the timeliness of the product delivery, and product support capabilities provided. The committee defined three terms in the Statement of Task: basic research, procedures, and materiel. The time element of "basic research" is important in this report. As stated in the DOD Basic Research Plan, "DOD basic research will focus on a variety of military problems, some requiring near-term, immediate, or partial solutions, and others requiring sustained investment over longer periods to attain success" (DOD, 1997). In this report, the committee distinguishes between long-term basic research projects that take more than one year and short-term basic research projects that take less than one year. The committee did not interpret the term "procedures" in the Statement of Task to mean the written procedures at the ERDEC, a review of which would have entailed a desk audit of human resources. The committee assumed that the processes used to move basic research results and technology through development incorporated the procedures and, by examining the processes, the efficacy of the procedures would become apparent. The term "materiel," as used by the Army Materiel Command, of which CBDCOM is a part, is a more inclusive term than "material." Materiel includes research, development, engineering, storage, and distribution of supplies and equipment. Differences Between the Mass Spectrometry and Bioremediation Programs The two "representative, but very different" programs are both part of the ERDEC's Research and Technology Directorate, one of four directorates

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--> in the ERDEC organization (Figure 1-1). The bioremediation group is part of the Environmental Technology Team, and the mass spectrometry group is part of the Chemical Biological Point Detection Team. These groups were selected for review because of their different ways of doing business. Table 1-1 lists these differences in business approach, some of which have become less pronounced since this study began but may account for some of the differences that were found between the groups. Study Approach The CSC is composed of experts in the fields of protective systems, toxicology, risk assessment, environmental and occupational health, simulation and modeling, textile science, human factors, organic chemistry, biochemistry, mass spectrometry, and chemical engineering. The committee adopted the following approach to fulfilling the Statement of Task. First, the committee developed metrics to evaluate various aspects of input, operations, production, and results in the ERDEC's laboratories. This methodology was based on the categories and characteristics identified in an earlier NRC report, World-Class Research and Development (NRC,) 1996), but was tailored to meet the unique characteristics of the RTD mass spectrometry and bioremediation laboratories. The committee then reviewed both groups according to these metrics. Basic for the Review Data gathering for this study was done during two interview sessions, the first in October 1997 and the second in February 1998, and from responses Figure 1-1 The ERDEC organization.

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--> Table 1-1 Differences in the Business Approaches of the Mass Spectrometry and Bioremediation Programs Mass Spectrometry Bioremediation Mostly mission funded Mostly customer funded Includes several outside participants Mostly in-house workers Focused on one common objective Addresses a series of small problems to written questionnaires. The second interview session was less structured than the first and gave the CSC enough latitude to follow whatever lines of inquiry seemed important to the review. The committee created an assessment model by integrating the model developed in the 1996 NRC study with a model based on current technology management and best-practice bench-marking studies (Ransley, 1997). The resulting model includes 31 characteristics divided into five categories: Customer Focus, Resources and Capabilities, Quality Focus, Strategic Vision, and Value Creation. The Assessment Model is outlined in Table 1-2 (see Appendix A for details). Although the characteristics provided the structure for the program review, professional judgment played a significant role in the committee's assessment. The model defines four stages of maturity for each characteristic, from Stage 1, which describes an organization that urgently needs to improve, to Stage 4, which describes a top-ranked organization with respect to that characteristic (Box 1-1). The characteristics are shown in Table 1-2 under their respective categories. The CSC was divided into teams based on the background and experience of the committee members. Three teams were formed for the first interviews, during which the ERDEC mass spectrometry and bioremediation groups were assessed based on the five categories in the model. One team was assigned the Resources and Capabilities category, one the Quality Focus category, and one the Customer Focus, Strategic Vision, and Value Creation categories. Each group was divided into clusters of three or four people, with contractors and government employees separated at the interviewees' request. The clusters moved from one CSC interview team to another. The CSC was reorganized for the second interview session into three different teams, one each to review the technical capabilities, skills, and talents of the mass spectrometry and bioremediation groups and one to review the effects of management outside the RTD on both groups. Two approaches were used to gather data: written responses to questionnaires and oral interviews. The questionnaires were intended to establish

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--> Table 1-2 Categories and Characteristics of the Assessment Model ASSESSMENT MODELa Customer Focus Value Creation Customer Customer satisfaction Customer involvement Market diversification Portfolioc selection Cycle time and responsiveness Value of work in progress Resources and Capabilities Quality Focus Organizational culture Employee attitude People development Budget/funding RD&E capabilities, skills, and talents Intellectual property Technology sourcing Information technology Facilities and infrastructure Capacity for breakthroughs Continuous improvement Teams Evaluation and rewards Project management Regulatory compliance Commitment to quality Process management Metrics Safety Knowledge and Learning Strategic Vision Mission and vision Strategic planning Stakeholderb buy-in Leadership   a See also NRC, 1996. World-Class Research and Development Characteristics for an Army Research, Development, and Engineering Organization. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. b Stakeholders are groups that have a stake in the success of the organization. In the case of the mass spectrometry and bioremediation groups, the stakeholders include employees, ERDEC and CBDCOM management, members of the Executive Panel, scientific peers, etc. c The term "Portfolio" refers to the collection of research projects of an organization. the stage of maturity for each characteristic. The questions were of two types, closed and open. In the closed questions, scientists were asked to evaluate their work by choosing one of four descriptions corresponding to the four stages of maturity. In the open questions, scientists were asked to choose all items that pertained from a list of descriptions.

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--> Box 1-1 EXAMPLE OF THE FOUR STAGES OF MATURITY CHARACTERISTIC STAGE DESCRIPTION Metrics Stage 1 Focus is on the short term.   Stage 2 Measures include customer satisfaction; the goal is to ensure that customer requirements are met; the search is for "the few key measures" of progress toward that goal.   Stage 3 A variety of measures linked to corporate goals are used; the organization recognizes that different measures are needed for different purposes; measures related to cost, time, and quality are used.   Stage 4 A balanced list of measures is used to ensure that all key aspects of the organization are considered, including financial, external and internal customers, innovation and learning, and societal perspectives; the emphasis is on measuring customer value. The responses to the questionnaires turned out to be less valuable than the interviews. This was partly because some respondents did not cooperate fully. Problems with the responses included multiple answers where a single choice was called for, "N/A" being offered as a response to issues that the assessment team had already determined to be important, internal inconsistencies, and less than a 50 percent return of questionnaires. Some of the inconsistencies reflected the respondents' lack of understanding of the issues being addressed in the questionnaire. During the interviews, the CSC was able to clarify topics and pursue some important issues in greater depth. Based on comments during the interviews, the committee was able to determine the stage of maturity that best described each characteristic. The committee then weighted the characteristics to reflect their importance. The weighting was based on the expert judgments of committee members and was used consistently throughout the review to prioritize issues that surfaced during the interviews and in the written responses.

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--> Preview This report summarizes the committee's activities, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Chapter 2 focuses on the mass spectrometry group. Chapter 3 focuses on the bioremediation group. Chapter 4 presents management issues that were suggested to the committee during the reviews.