On Wednesday, September 9, 2015, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Clark Price attended a ceremony highlighting the recent transfer of a vehicle and equipment from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to the Mobile Outbreak Response Unit of the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations (MTAES).
The equipment is part of an effort to bolster Armenia’s capacity for identifying, containing, and countering outbreaks of dangerous pathogens.
“This new vehicle will allow you to reach a potential outbreak anywhere in Armenia,” DCM Price said. “And the on-board protective gear will help protect response team members from exposure during operations.”
This vehicle and equipment delivery is the latest cooperative effort between Armenia and the U.S. Department of Defense Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP), which was established to work with partner countries to mitigate risks posed by infectious and dangerous pathogens and diseases. These materials could pose a serious threat to any nation’s security.
As part of the CBEP framework, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency representatives at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan have coordinated a number of joint efforts over the last five years. Mostly these projects have involved U.S. support for Armenian efforts to construct and renovate facilities in order to secure pathogens used in research. They have also jointly advanced Armenia’s capability to prevent the sale, theft, diversion, or accidental release of these pathogens, related technology, and scientific expertise by improving standards and procedures.
“But this vehicle and equipment delivery is about the other CBEP objective: enhancing Armenia’s capability to detect, diagnose, and report any outbreak of an especially dangerous pathogen,” DCM Price said. “We want to ensure Armenia’s timely and accurate situational awareness of any infectious disease outbreak – weather a natural outbreak or a deliberate, purposeful infection.”