The application of Classification technology to the munitions response problem was a significant topic of discussion at the 2014 National Association of Ordnance Contractors (NAOC) Fly-In held recently in Washington, D.C. After an introductory presentation at the Technical Session by Mr. John Conger, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Installations & Environment (DUSD (I&E)), outlining DoD’s interest in the rapid adoption of these new technologies, several speakers at the Technical Session and at the next day’s Army Corps of Engineers/NAOC partnering session addressed the practical issues associated with technology transfer to the munitions response industry.

What is Classification as applied to the munitions problem?

SERDP and ESTCP have sponsored the development of a number of new technologies that are collectively referred to as Classification. In the case of munitions response, high-quality geophysical data can be interpreted with physics-based models to estimate parameters that are useful for classification. The parameters in these models are related to the physical attributes of the object that resulted in the signal, such as its physical size, shape, aspect ratio, and wall thickness. The values of these parameters can then be used to estimate the likelihood that the signal arose from an item of interest—that is, a munition. Each buried metal item on a munitions site is similarly classified as an item of interest or not.

What’s new now?

Previous SERDP and ESTCP work has focused on the development and validation of the individual technologies that comprise Classification: sensors, data analysis methodologies, and decision approaches. The focus during this technology transfer phase is on making the technology more rugged, applicable to a wider variety of sites, and more accessible to the production community rather than being restricted to researchers and developers. This involves topics such as development of quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) procedures for the use of this approach to be codified in a draft Quality Assurance Project Plan, revising the work flow for data analysis to better conform with standard industry practices, and development of second generation sensor systems that are easier to use and applicable to a wider range of site conditions.