As the nation’s premier organization for radiological prevention and response, the Nevada National Security Site has trained more than 250,000 emergency responders. The NNSS Counterterrorism Operations Support team has worked with emergency management, emergency medical and fire services, public works, hazardous material and public health personnel from public state, local, and tribal governments. Now, the NNSS is expanding its training program capabilities with other federal agencies.
Following a 2018 fiscal year agreement with the National Guard Bureau, which administers the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, the NNSS delivered a radiological response course that incorporates Virtual Radiological Training through Ubiety Systems (VIRTUS), a mobile application platform that simulates radiological measurements. The NNSS’ foundation in radiological training will now be used for expansion into the biological and chemical fields.
“VIRTUS drives the chain of command for real decision making in line with a response,” said NNSS Global Security Principal Project Manager Xavier Miller. “What we foresee with VIRTUS is merging with the Department of Defense chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear group. That will give our current virtual training tool other capabilities beyond radiation. We see the tool being used to support realistic radiological and biological exercises in the near future.”
Deployment of the pilot Biological Response Operations course has begun and will continue into next year. The NNSS is looking at training capabilities for other U.S. agencies that utilize VIRTUS.
“In the past year or so, there’s been interest from U.S. Northern Command, FBI, CIA, and Health and Human Services just in VIRTUS and Biological Response Operations,” said Miller. “This opens people’s eyes that the NNSS has more to offer than traditional radiological-nuclear response.”