Senator Mikulski Opens Doors to New ECBC Facility

U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) visited the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) on Aug. 5 for a ribbon cutting ceremony signifying the official opening of the recently completed Advanced Chemistry Laboratory (ACL).

The ACL was designed with the ECBC scientist in mind: keeping them safe from some of the most dangerous materials in the world. Highly instrumented and adaptable, the ACL has the flexibility to address evolving chemical threats while still meeting the requirements of ECBC’s chemical defense mission. ECBC is a national resource that provides innovative solutions to countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threats. Now, the Center’s highly trained and experienced workforce has the high-tech infrastructure to help execute its mission.

“We want to ensure that you have the best, safest, and most state-of-the art facilities. Whether you wear a uniform or are part of the civilian workforce here, we value you,” said Mikulski.

Mikulski has been a long-time advocate of science and technology defense efforts at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, and has been a part of the Team Maryland congressional effort to modernize facilities at Edgewood since the late 1990s. According to Mikulski, she has been working with Department of Defense leadership to ensure organizations have the resources they need to conduct the mission they set out to accomplish.

“We were seriously worried that the facilities were dated and would be dangerous to the men and women here trying to work on solutions that we would not be able to modernize for the new weapons of war,” Mikulski said. “A great country can protect itself, but an even greater country can protect itself and the world. Working as Team Maryland, we made sure you had the tools you needed.”

The Senator recalled APG’s effort to eliminate its own chemical weapon stockpile, and was proud to see the evolution of tools, techniques and methods to counter WMD. “Now, those things are being used to dispose of Syria’s chemical weapons,” Mikulski said. “Wow, what a great story.”

ECBC has nearly 100 years of experience in solving some of the toughest WMD problems around the world, and now it looks forward advancing defense research for years to come.

The ACL cost $62 million and has taken more than 10 years to complete. ECBC partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and numerous Maryland contractors to construct the 40,000 square foot laboratory space. With a primary focus on safety, one- third of the costs were dedicated to engineering controls, fume hoods and filters needed for scientists to conduct cutting-edge decontamination and filtration initiatives.

Primary facilities within the ACL include: advanced toxic agent laboratories for filtration, environmental chambers, a suite of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometers, decontamination chemical synthesis physical properties and secure work spaces for ified materials.

For more information about ECBC, visit http://www.ecbc.army.mil/.