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About Science for Disaster Response

Weapons of Mass Destruction – Response Element Advanced Laboratory Integrated Training and Indoctrination (WMD-REALITI)

Fixed and mobile laboratories are key assets within the nation's Laboratory Response Network and are instrumental in mitigating the effects of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRN) terrorist incidents. The Weapons of Mass Destruction – Response Element Advanced Laboratory Integrated Training and Indoctrination (WMD-REALITI) Program provides field analysis personnel, laboratory technicians, and scientists within the CBRN research community with the specialized skills and equipment training frequently associated with working in Chemical Surety or Biological Safety Level laboratories. The WMD-REALTI Program is now a first-of-its-kind, hands-on program that is designed specifically to provide accredited theoretical laboratory education that awards college credit for members of the Responder Community. The training program addresses both the research and operational aspects of the fundamentals and procedures presented. This program incorporates the use of standard and high-end technologically advanced laboratory and field detection, identification, and analysis equipment. “WMD-REALITI produces trained specialists who are instrumental in combating the WMD terrorism threat by bringing specialized skills to military and civilian response communities and supportive laboratories.”

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at IUP in conjunction with Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) announce the successful development of an accredited research and training program to help our nation prepare for potential terrorist acts and warfare involving CBRNE-related WMD. The WMD-REALITI Program is geared toward improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and capability of emergency Responders, as well as the overall capabilities of federal, state, and local emergency response agencies that may respond to, and mitigate, the effects of WMD incidents.

The key to the team’s success in the program is developing and delivering academically accredited WMD Responder laboratory education to both military and civilian response communities from across the nation. In short, an underlying long-term objective of the education, beyond providing advanced laboratory skills, is to standardize and improve the interoperability and inter connectivity of appropriate WMD response units, thereby improving the overall response to terrorist incidents at the federal, state, and local level wherever WMD may have been deployed. The laboratory technician training also leads to an overall improvement in the planning and response to WMD terrorist acts by advancing the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) of the Responder laboratory technicians who, as the Responders in any WMD attack, must be able to rapidly and efficiently work in a Chemical Surety or Biological Safety Level laboratory and communicate results across several leading agencies. Through an intensive short course, the WMD-REALITI Program produces graduates with specialized WMD laboratory training and scientific skills in such laboratory procedures.

All of the courses are designed to offer the participants the training and skills to effectively operate in WMD crisis and consequence management operations as well as offer them access to and training on state-of-the-art laboratory equipment outside of emergency response operations.


The first course that was taught as a part of the WMD-REALITI Program was the Level 4: Advanced Characterization of Unknown Substances, which was held at the IUP campus in Indiana, Pennsylvania, August 2001. The Pilot Course was a major milestone in the WMD-REALITI Program development and served an unanticipated critical need. It became a springboard for a number of course participants who were immediately deployed to respond to the events of September 11, 2001 and the Washington and Florida anthrax incidents. Since that time, the Level 1: Basic CBRNE Identification and Analysis, Level 2: Effects of CBRNE Materials, and Level 3: The Structure of CBRNE Materials have been developed.

The WMD-REALITI courses offer students the necessary training and skills to react to a WMD crisis, operate in a WMD environment, and conduct consequence management operations as well as provide access to training on state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. Moreover, because an accredited university delivers the WMD-REALITI courses, classroom time is applied toward participant educational goals including undergraduate and/or graduate degrees. Completion of this program enhances the credibility of graduates among the Responder Community.

  • Science for Disaster Response Program
  • Weyandt Hall, Room 231
    975 Oakland Avenue
    Indiana, PA 15705-1076
  • Phone: (724) 357-4482
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