How the Post Office Sniffs Out Anthrax Before It Hits Your Mailbox


Development of the Biological Detection System began in 2002 when the USPS outlined the basic functions such a system would need, based on the agency’s consultations with Joint Projects Office (JPO) and the SBCCOM (US Army Soldier Biological Chemical Command). No existing system was capable of what the USPS needed, so the postal service set about developing one that did. Or at least Northrop Grumman did, in coordination Smiths Detection. Northrop adapted aspects of more than 20 systems already in use by the US military for biological warfare tests to the specific needs of the USPS. The US Army Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USARIID) Navy Medical Research Center, NIST, Dept of Agriculture, and John Hopkins University all helped vet the system’s performance before its initial test run in a Baltimore-area mail processing center in late 2002.
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