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Quality Assurance and Assessment Team for SPS on DEXTER (Detection of Explosives and firearms to counter TERrorism)

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Sensors & Electronics Technology

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CounterTerrorism, Mass Shooting, Mass Transport Security, Suicide Bombing


Suicide bombing and mass-shooting terrorism remain among the principal concerns of public security professionals. In many scenarios, for example mass-transit, sporting events, or buildings, traditional “airport-style” screening is not feasible due to the high flow of subjects or for other reasons. The NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme (SPS)-sponsored STANdoff Detection of EXplosives (STANDEX) Programme combined real time sensors, video tracking and data fusion to allow early detection of person-borne improvised explosive devices in moving crowds with the goal of stopping an attack before it can affect the targeted infrastructure. The STANDEX programme (under NATO Russia Council Science for Peace and Security) started in 2009 and was considered as a potential solution to improve security in critical infrastructure and mass transport. Under the STANDEX program, NATO, developed and demonstrated technologies to detect the presence of a suicide bomber in a mass-transit scenario without a detrimental impact on operations, especially passenger flow. It was demonstrated in mid-2014 in close to real environment conditions in an operational metro station. A follow-up of the Programme, called DEXTER (Detection of Explosives and firearms to counter TERrorism, has been undertaken in 2018 with the launch of a number of projects. The Consortium is expected to be signed by mid 2019. The technologies include: • Microwave sensing for the detection of bulk explosives concealed in bags or under clothing • Eye-safe standoff Raman detection for the detection of surface traces of explosives • A data fusion and video tracking system. At the Fall 2018 STB Meeting, the SPS Programme requested that the Sensors and Electronics Technology Panel provide a team of experts to form a Quality Assurance and Assessment Team and assist them by auditing and monitoring the technical progress of the performers.


In order to achieve its objectives, the Specialists Team shall meet at least once a year, if possible in conjunction with the SPS Advisors to DEXTER, in order to receive oral presentations from the participants. Additionally, the Specialists Team will conduct on-site visits and audits of the work in order to be fully informed on the programme. The Emerging Security Challenges Division (ESCD) shall forward all periodic technical reports from the DEXTER participants to the Specialists Team for technical review. If Progress Meetings are organized by the DEXTER Programme Director, the Specialists Team Members will be invited to participate in these meetings in person or virtually. The Specialists Team will communicate its findings and reports through the ESCD and the Sensors and Electronics Technology (SET) Panel. Once a year, a meeting should occur between representatives of the ESCD, SET and the Specialists Team to assess the progress of the DEXTER Programme and establish a plan for possible future visits to be organized to fully comply with their task and including the financial resources needed. The Specialists Team will report to the Science and Technology Board and the NATO Chief Scientist on the accomplishment of its tasking. The Specialists Team shall be present during the evaluation and demonstration of the system in real operational conditions with a Big City Trial involving live mass-transit passengers.


The members of this Specialists Team are to have sufficient expertise to review and audit the technical requirements of the DEXTER projects. The overall goal of DEXTER is to develop technologies or systems which can confirm, with high confidence, the detection of person borne explosive devices and firearms concealed on the body or in bags of single individuals identified by an upstream screening detector. The technology should also be applicable to screen carry-on luggage/bags etc.

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