coronavirus

April 29, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Health care providers adjust personal protective equipment as they prepare to enter a facility treating the Ebola virus in Liberia. Future pandemics could come from natural viruses or biological weapons developed by sophisticated nations; but whichever the source, opportunistic foes will take advantage of their effects to wreak further havoc on victim nations. (U.S. Army photo)

(Part two of a three-part series)

As the world watches the COVID-19 coronavirus wreak havoc, the potential of a man-made pandemic is offering its own allure to bad actors, ranging from nation-states to rogue organizations. Even if an organization lacks the wherewithal to develop or deploy a biological weapon, lessons already learned are demonstrating that a pandemic offers great opportunities for mayhem and profit, a national security expert says.

April 30, 2020
Posted by Julianne Simpson
LLNL mechanical engineer Ken Enstrom (l) and technicians Greg Norton (c) and Aaron Sperry test and validate simple ventilator prototypes that could be easily assembled from readily available parts. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

A self-assembled “skunk works” team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has worked tirelessly to prototype a simple ventilator design for quick and easy assembly from available parts. The effort is in response to a potential surge in demand for ventilators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed the “Novel Emergency Response Ventilator” (NERVe), the design comes from proven concepts and contains parts that are not being used by commercial ventilator manufacturers to prevent disrupting already thin supply chains.

April 20, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
Shutterstock/Khakimullin Aleksandr

(Part one of a three-part series)

The nation must realign its strategic objectives to build out its future readiness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, says an analyst specializing in anticipatory developments. Intelligence analysts, with the aid of new technologies, must be able to combine data from a variety of inputs both to foresee emerging crises and to anticipate future threats before they become a full-fledged menace. The intelligence community and national decision makers must be prepared to view multiple problems as part of a whole in which they enhance one another to generate more severe challenges.

April 10, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort heads up the Hudson River to take its position at a midtown pier to serve as a support hospital for New York City health facilities overwhelmed with COVID-19 coronavirus patients. Navy engineers worked feverishly to upgrade or repair communications systems just before it set sail. Credit: Elizabeth Natrella

U.S. Navy engineers, some working around the clock, updated the communications and networking capabilities of the two hospital ships dispatched to U.S. ports in the fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus. The USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy originally deployed to New York City and Los Angeles, respectively, to provide hospital services to non-coronavirus patients in an effort to relieve local hospitals burdened with COVID-19 patients. Engineers with the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) tapped expertise from throughout the command as well as from counterparts with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to improve satellite communications and increase bandwidth.

April 8, 2020
By Maryann Lawlor
Sandia National Laboratories scientists developed a pocket-sized anthrax detector that it later licensed to a New Mexico company. The Rapid Technology Deployment Program is offering the business sector free access to more than 1,000 technologies and software programs to help jumpstart the economy, which COVID-19 is adversely affecting. Photo by Randy Montoya

Sandia National Laboratories has a fast-track licensing program to rapidly deploy technology to the commercial sector. The move is designed to support businesses facing widespread often-technical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 effects on companies. Under the program, more than 1,000 Sandia-patented technologies are temporarily eligible for any U.S. person to use commercially for free; licenses are valid through December 31.

March 31, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is modeling the effects of drug molecules to stop the COVID-19 coronavirus. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL

A national laboratory supercomputer used to model neutron star collisions now is peering into inner space to explore potential vulnerabilities in COVID-19. The Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), described by officials there as the world’s most powerful and smartest, is matching small-molecule drug compounds against the coronavirus in the hope of blunting the virus’s activities on two fronts.

March 31, 2020
 
Anyone with 3D printing or other additive manufacturing capabilities can help counter the spread of the coronavirus by making N95-style masks. Credit: CDC image

A movement is underway to inspire 3D printing or other additive manufacturing experts and hobbyists to produce N95-style masks, visors and other critical medical supplies across the United States and the globe. 

The so-called Maker’s Mask is a mask created by Rory Larsen at the request of Kaiser Permanente in Seattle. Larsen created the mask from commercially available hobbyist-grade 3D printers and other common household materials. He intends to share his design freely and widely. 

March 25, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
Amid the COVAD-19 crisis, first responders are turning more and more to communications through FirstNet, officials say. Credit: Shutterstock/Zoff

The COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has sickened tens of thousands of Americans and killed hundreds, is testing the viability of the FirstNet network in ways never seen before. The exponential increase in the number of cases in the country is pulling in more and more emergency medical services personnel, police officers, firefighters and other public safety officials, often in more remote areas, who all need real-time data exchange, network connectivity and communication tools.

March 16, 2020
 
Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe, the drawing of equipment and the movement of personnel and equipment across the theater to various training areas. The exercise was expected to test multidomain operations but is now being restricted out of caution regarding the new coronavirus outbreak. Credit: U.S. Army

In response to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and recent guidance by the Secretary of Defense, the U.S. Army has modified exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 in size and scope. As of March 13, all movement of personnel and equipment from the United States to Europe has ceased, according to an Army announcement.