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16711751_sWhile Israel is monitoring the chemical warfare materials stockpile in Syria, the USA is improving its capability to detect a similar threat.

The US Homeland Security Department (DHS) has released a request for proposals (RFI) for the first stage of its $3.1 billion BioWatch Gen-3 program.

The plan is to build an autonomous network of bio-detectors that will monitor the air for biological and chemical threats. The program began in 2003, and this will be the third generation of the system.

The current system operates outdoors, and is comprised of aerosol collectors and teams of support personnel. The goal now is to expand coverage to it, to cover 90 percent of the population in 50 jurisdictions, and increase indoor coverage to about 160 high risk facilities.

DHS also wants to shorten detection time to four to six hours.

The DHS BioWatch plan includes autonomous bio-detection system that integrates sample collection, preparation, analysis and reporting functions. The system needs to complete those tasks without human intervention.

DHS also expects the new system to lower costs, while reducing the amount of time to detect and alert authorities to the presence of a threat, the draft RFP states.

Intelligence report point to the highest probability that some terror organizations are holding “different quantities” of chemical warfare agents.