According to the book Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism by James Forest and Russell Howard, describe the implications of a lack of standardization of testing methods and facilities in the CBRNE community.

According to the book, the absence of standardized testing methods and facilities produces excess government spending, unreliable tests, and, potentially, loss of life.

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The lack of standardized testing methods and facilities have financial and fatal implications, according to the May 2011 report listed in the appendix of the second edition of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism.

The lack of standardized testing has led the government to spend money on equipment that doesn’t always meet the demands of the agencies in question. The absence of uniform testing has also led to the proliferation of testing since some tests are not deemed reliable or up to par. The excess equipment and the constant re-testing leads to wasteful government spending. The government would save money if it adopted uniform protocols and knew for certain what kind of equipment it need and what kind of tests it should run.

As for the human costs, without clear standards, some people might not receive the proper trainer or the right kind of training. As the reports make clear, there are many areas within the CBRNE community. Different people require different guidelines and instructions. For example, a first responder may not have to wear protective equipment for as long as solider. If it’s not clear what people need to know, it’s possible that the confusion could result in mistakes or mishaps that lead to the loss of lives.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 12, 2021
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According to the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Homeland and National Security (NSTC), the lack of standardization of testing methods leads to grave consequences. In fact, such a lack is dangerous.

First, let us define some terms. CBRNE is an acronym for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives. Terrorists use these weapons to cause mass casualties during attacks. For their part, CBRNE teams are experts who use self-contained breathing apparatuses and respiratory protective devices (RPDs) to protect themselves while analyzing scenes potentially linked to terrorist attacks. By extension, uniform test procedures ensure that products perform according to expectations during such missions.

Without wide standardization of testing methods and facilities, the implications are dire:

1) Lack of testing method standardization leads to costly redundancy: When government agencies and contractors don't have uniform standards for tests, testing facilities, infrastructure, and methodologies, manufacturers won't have a clear idea of expectations regarding their products. In turn, government agencies must repeat expensive testing procedures and replace previously purchased items that fail to meet current requirements.

2) Wide disparity in standards leads to dangerous inefficiencies. For example, government agencies currently use differing terminology for test methods, performance standards, and accreditation. For example, each government agency has differing missions. The NSTC maintains that a soldier and a first responder have differing missions. So, both will differ in how they rely on gear such as self-contained breathing apparatuses. By extension, performance requirements and testing procedures must differ for that same gear. Even the testing infrastructure required to conduct the testing of the gear will differ.

Essentially, the gear used is similar but the process to certify the accuracy and precision of the equipment will differ based on the mission of its users. A lack of uniform standards leads to the danger of gear performing at sub-par levels during catastrophes.

Without standardization of testing and facility infrastructure, it will essentially be difficult to produce equipment that withstands the requirements of each unique mission.

3) Lack of standardization means that local emergency responders and State and local purchasing agents cannot readily analyze the capabilities and limitations of commercial CBRNE systems.

Source: National Science and Technology Council Committee on Homeland and National Security Subcommittee on Standards, May 2011.

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