EXWC: Multi-Agency Contaminated Water Diving Exercise

Story by Sarah MacMillan, Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center

PORT HUENEME, Calif. – Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) Dive Locker hosted the newly established Contaminated Water Diving Exercise (CONDIVEX) through the month of June, 2019.

Twenty-six representatives from the Department of Defense (DOD), private sector, and academia partook in the two-week exercise.

The multifaceted goal of CONDIVEX is to educate divers alike on the latest underwater diving techniques, by providing guidance, hands-on training, and practical diving scenarios for attendees, and facilitated group discussions surrounding critical capability gaps related to contaminated water. This effort facilitated by CONDIVEX anticipates driving continuous improvement of current standard operating procedures for diving in contaminated waters.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Schulte, NAVFAC EXWC, being decontaminated utilizing the ESSM DECON Kit during a contaminated water dive scenario as part of CONDIVEX 2019, June 10. (Photo by BU1 Jesus Saucedo)

The CONDIVEX exercise conducted itself into three separate phases. Phase 1 consisted of classroom training focused on the latest Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Contaminated Water Diving Familiarization Training. The forum included an overview of the four pillars of contaminated diving (detection, protection, decontamination and post-dive medical surveillance), with a collective, post-training dialogue between exercise attendees on best practices they have found useful during their years of service in their respective industries.

Phase 2 included technical demonstrations of developing technology in the field of contaminate detection. The Joint Program Executive Officer for the Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBRND) permitted two companies currently competing to develop the next Multi-Phase Chemical Agent Detection (MPCAD) system to present their emerging technologies to the exercise attendees. Additionally, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory also presented a biological detection device currently adapted for use by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The final phase entailed the execution of practical surface supply diving (SSD), scuba diving scenarios and decontamination procedures.
Moving forward, CONDIVEX anticipates continuous collaborations with military and commercial divers alike to accurately detect water contamination, and invest in education and resources for decontamination processes.

For more news from NAVFAC EXWC, visit https://www.navfac.navy.mil/ or on Facebook @NAVFACEXWC

About Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC):
NAVFAC EXWC is a command of more than 1,300 dedicated federal employees, contractors, and military personnel who provide specialized facilities engineering, technology solutions, and life-cycle management of expeditionary equipment to the Navy, Marine Corps, federal agencies, and other Department of Defense supported commands.

About Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) Dive Locker:
Naval Facilities (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) Dive Locker supports the Naval Expeditionary Forces by providing exercise engagement and technology development for specialized underwater construction, equipment procurement, acceptance testing, project management and engineering services.

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