Friday, May 14, 2010
What We Did for Our Country...Part II
This is a continuation of what the posting on May 7, 2010; many of the same people participated in these missions over many months and years...in the end we did was to make sure that biological materials (Anthrax) as well as the equipment needed to make it would never wind up in the hands of terrorists.
The US had never undertaken a mission of this scope and magnitude previously yet the impact of the operation in terms of removing the means to make biological weapons was huge.
I hope that this posting causes some folks to pause as these are the types of missions that saved lives across the globe...and not just for the United States…for biological weapons do not abide by borders or kill based solely on ethnicity, skin color or political views...they are the most dangerous and lethal of all the weapons of mass destruction...and this facility needed to be destroyed.
The Stepnogorsk Bioweapons facility in Northern Kazakhstan was once the world's largest biological warfare development and production facility, with a nominal annual production capacity of 300 tons of agent per year. Stepnogorsk was established in the 1964, though it is not marked on Soviet maps and it has been variously designated Makinut-2, Tselinograd-25, and Aksu. The center for the manufacture of bacteriological weapons was built ten kilometers away from the settlement of Stepnogorsk, a town whose population had grown to over 60,000 by 1989. As late as 1990, Biopreparat researchers tested Marburg virus on monkeys and other small animals in special explosion-test chambers at the Stepnogorsk plant in an effort to understand the lathality of these agents.
From the Press:
“The massive, highly covert Soviet offensive BW program left a legacy of vulnerable technology, pathogens, and expertise. The dismantlement of the Stepnogorsk anthrax production and weaponization facility in Kazakhstan eliminated the capability to produce and weaponize over 300 tons of biological agents during a wartime mobilization period… today, its dismantlement is complete”
Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Mr. Brian Hayes along with a hand picked and highly specialized team of biological experts, facilitated the complete and total of destruction of the Stepnogorsk Scientific Experimental and Production Base (SNOPB) Biological Facility, in Stepnogorsk, Kazakhstan. During this multi-year mission his team facilitated operations as both a United States Army Officer and a Department of Defense Official (Civilian) to destroy the complete biological production infrastructure at this site while suffering zero loss of personnel or equipment.
The main purpose of the Stepnogorsk Biological Facility was to test and certify pilot-scale and large-scale methods of producing Biological Weapons (BW) agents developed by the former Soviet Union.
Stepnogorsk was the largest of six existing plants in the Soviet system designed for the large-scale production and weaponization of biological agents such as Anthrax, Plague, Marburg, and Tularemia. The Stepnogorsk facility specialized in a unique form of anthrax that was resistant to vaccines available at that time. Western and Russian weapons experts have continually referred to Stepnogorsk as the Soviet Union’s main facility for the manufacture of biological weapons and one the largest installations ever created to do so. Stepnogorsk was built in 1982 and became operational soon after.
Mr. Hayes, on his own accord obtained construction documents of the facility from a construction center in Moscow, Russia which showed that the Stepnogorsk Facility design incorporated the most advanced developments in industrial biotechnology at the time, including the use of special materials such as reinforced concrete, German production equipment and a vast array of bio-security measures designed to elude potential detection by adversaries.
In 1998 at the direction of various governmental agencies, Mr. Hayes personally debriefed the former Director General of Stepnogorsk, COL. Gennadiy Lepyoshkin, on biological weapons production and facility contamination specifics prior to negotiating a joint US-KZ dismantlement contract. COL Lepyoshkin made several key points of Stepnogorsk known to Mr. Hayes:
1. Stepnogorsk continued research and development work on anthrax that previously had been conducted at the MOD institute in Sverdlovsk. That work had been curtailed in 1979 after an accidental release of anthrax spores from the facility killed some 70 people and stockpiles of anthrax were sent to the Aral Sea Test Facility for burial.
2. From 1984 to 1987, core specialists and equipment from Sverdlovsk were transferred to SNOPB.
3. In addition to anthrax, the Stepnogorsk facility produced staphylococcus toxin, as well as plague and tularemia and worked on a myriad of other agents
The Elimination Mission:
While attending graduate school (1997) in Monterey, CA then Major Brian Hayes wrote a classified thesis on the burgeoning problem with underground facilities and biological production sites. This thesis was a direct reflection of previous work conducted for the Intelligence Community that delved into weapons of mass destruction and materials proliferation across the globe.
Prior to his graduate studies, Mr. Hayes conducted a myriad of research and theoretical discussions while assigned as an operations officer for the US Army. In this capacity he was a lead planner on a specialized project focused on designing advanced defeat technologies aimed at eliminating the underground facilities in threat countries. His work also looked at other countries that had started to show interest in biological weapons in an effort to devise a clear and concise methodology to defeat facilities where they were produced. At this time the proscribed method was to utilize large blasts to destroy the facilities and incinerate the agent. Mr. Hayes quickly surmised that an alternative solution, focused on technical rather then tactical solutions had to be developed in order to ensure that biological material would not be inadvertently released into the environment during an offensive operation.
Commencing in late 1998, Major Hayes led numerous missions to various FSU biological facilities in identification and destruction of biological production materials at these sites. These missions afforded his firsthand knowledge of the methods and operational context of these facilities and how to defeat them.
Throughout 1999, Mr. Hayes and his team, in conjunction with the Government of Kazakhstan and the United States Ambassador to Kazakhstan negotiated for the total elimination of the Stepnogorsk Biological Facility. Mr. Hayes was able to fully destroy all production and weaponization aspects of this facility including milling, drying, fermentation and other vital components. This was extremely important as the United States came to grips with countries such as Iraq, Iran and Syria as well as terrorist organizations seeking biological weapons.