Law enforcement agencies to receive surplus bomb disposal robots.

Author:Magnuson, Stew
Position::Homeland Security News
 
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* The Defense Logistics Agency is poised to donate hundreds of robots that were acquired over the past decade to law enforcement agencies, a DLA official said.

Some of these robots that were used for explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance missions will be older heavily used models, while others are almost new and never went overseas, said Dan Arnold, eastern team lead of the DLA's disposition services office.

Robots are one example of the surplus equipment that may become available as the conflict in Afghanistan winds down, he said at the GovSec conference in Washington, D.C. The program is authorized to give surplus equipment to any law enforcement agency--state, local or federal--that has either a counter-nar-cotics or counterterrorism mission.

Arnold is currently working out the final details with the Army Tank Automotive, Research and Development Command in Warren, Mich., to release the second-hand robots as early as this summer.

Tim Trainer, interim general manager of military robots at iRobot said companies such as his might see some short-term loss of sales as the DLA floods the domestic market with free machines. However, the beneficiaries will need spare parts, and eventually upgrades and replacement robots.

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Long term, "this primes the pump of the robotics market" by putting the technology in the hands of more agencies and making it more commonplace, he told National Defense. After World War II, the military sold off thousands of excess jeeps, and the brand name lives on to this day.

Arnold said the 1033 Program puts all kinds of surplus property on its website, which can be anything from folding chairs to helicopters. Defense Department bases are their own self-contained communities, and all government owned items that are no longer needed are up for grabs. That may include exercise equipment, office equipment, refrigerators or furniture.

"If your mind can think of it, it comes through our agency," Arnold said.

Weapons are also available, including M16 rifles, M14 rifles and .45 caliber handguns. An agency can obtain virtually new rifles and convert them to law enforcement specifications for as little as $40 each, he said. Small boats, night vision goggles and fixed-wing aircraft are also dispensed with. He recently offered 800 single-man mosquito-proof pup tents.

There are some caveats. The agency must take the equipment as is. It must also arrange to pick the items up within two weeks. If there is...

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