Monday, May 5, 2014

Biowatch--the unworkable system for detecting bioweapons in the air--finally cancelled after wasting over $1 billion

From David Willman at the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — Amid concerns about its effectiveness and multibillion-dollar cost, the Department of Homeland Security has canceled plans to install an automated technology that was meant to speed the 24-hour operations of BioWatch, the national system for detecting a biological attack.
The cancellation of the "Generation 3" acquisition was made Thursday at the direction of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, according to a memorandum circulated by Michael V. Walter, the BioWatch program manager.
Homeland Security officials earlier had told companies interested in supplying the technology that it would spend $3.1 billion for it during the first five years of operation...
Last June, Willman noted that the theory behind Biowatch had been rejected.
"After 10 years of operation, we still don't know if the current BioWatch technology can detect an aerosolized bioterrorism agent in a real-world environment," Murphy said.

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