Convergence 201511 April 2016 0
Day one started with a well-attended pre-congress workshop on CBRN forensics. Three experts with decades of experience in both civilian and military forensics experience talked to the 50 delegates about their cases, experience and lessons learned. Drawing on UK military experience on operations, a wide and varied FBI casebook and UK high visibility event missions the three presenters engaged with the audience, got them to discuss some of the problems and missions that they had encountered to allow best practice to be shared.
Day one culminated in the Icebreaker drinks reception, with a chance for the delegates to meet old friends and make new ones. We listened to comments from our previous event in New York, where delegates felt they had to travel too far to go out for an evening meal, and provided them with the plethora of restaurants at Pointe Orlando. This allowed delegates to mingle in a wide variety of venues, from Mexican to British or modern American.
Day One started with a strategic overview from Joint Task Force Civil Support, the FBI WMD Directorate, JPEO CBD and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Matters from the DoD. This combination showed how military Title 10 and 32 forces and civilian forces can combine to provide a raft of skills and equipment that can combat the attack from minute one to month 30. It was the last opportunity to see JPEO Carmen Spencer before he stepped down, and he offered the floor a chance to ask him any question which he would answer fully!
The coffee break would have been the first time that many of the delegates would have had a chance to see the packed exhibition hall, bringing together companies from around the world and a wide sweep of disciplines. We were grateful to our sponsors, Lockheed Martin, Battelle, Biofire, Flir, Passport Systems, Veteran Corps, Bruker, Emergent, Proengin and Scott Safety. In addition to these companies such as 908 Devices, BW Tek, iBodi, GlaxoSmithKline, US Naval Research Lab and Rini Technologies showcased their kit. 70 stands were busy for the whole two days of the exhibition with fascinating technology, some seen for the first time in the US.
Post coffee saw delegates move from the strategic down to the tactical. Stream A had presentations from the US Army, Airforce and Marine Corps, with presentations from Brigadier General William King (20th Support Command), Chief Master Sgt Anthony Hatcher (Emergency Management Field Manager) and Chief Warrant Officer Five Mike Impastato (MARCOM). Stream B took a more civilian route with a joint presentation from Orlando responders, Dr Yasuo Seto (Japanese National Research Institute of Police) and Dr Jason Bannan (FBI). These spanned local cases, through to national ones (such as the ever hilarious Everett Dutschke) as well as improvements in law enforcement science and technology.
Following lunch, which was rated by returning delegates as some of the best food that they have had at our events, we had presentations from Norway, Ireland, Germany and France as well as US institutions like Emory University, CMAD (EPA) and Princeton Infectious Disease Associates. The day was finished off with a drinks reception and a speakers dinner for sponsors and presenters
Day two had more of an international feel, with speakers from The Hague, South Wales, Brazil, Tokyo, Poland, Canada and the UK join a variety of speakers from the US. Examining everything from high visibility events through to future threats it culminated in the Call for Papers section, where leading researchers from around the world expounded on technology that was going to make a practical difference to first responders. Holly Carter, from Public Health England, also walked away with the Reader’s Choice award for her poster presentation on Crowd Psychology and Mass Decon.
The final day was a fantastic demonstration of multi-agency convergence as local first responders, such as Orange County Fire, and national assets from the FBI, worked together to work a multi-site terrorist attack. The design of the exercise let delegates get close and personal to techniques such as processing contaminated finger prints and non-ambulatory decon. All done in glorious Florida sunshine!
Delegate feedback on the venue, catering and local support has been so positive that we are already thinking about our return to Florida. Next stop, however, is Japan in June and then a return to San Diego in October - we hope to see you there!