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Corrosion Takes Center Stage at NATO

Monday, April 29, 2013

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Th U.S. military has teamed up with its European counterparts in what is rapidly becoming a worldwide effort to combat corrosion.

Officials from the Defense Department's Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight, SSPC and NACE met for four days last week with representatives of the German, French, and UK ministries of defense at a Corrosion Prevention and Control Workshop at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany.

The goal: to share strategies and technology for fighting material degradation on weapon systems and facilities. In discussions and presentations from April 23 to 26, corrosion experts discussed ways to battle corrosion on the world's aging fleet of aircraft, ships, submarines, and ground vehicles.

A First

The workshop was a first for the United States, said Daniel J. Dunmire, director of the DoD corrosion office.

Dan Dunmire
Photos: DoD Office of Corrosion Policy and Oversight

"It only makes sense that we cooperate to discuss our greatest challenges and the best means of tackling them," said Daniel J. Dunmire, head of DoD's corrosion office.

"This is the first time that policy and technical experts have convened to share corrosion prevention policies, practices, and scientific expertise since the NATO School was founded in 1954," he said.

"Because Germany, France, and the United Kingdom are vigorously pursuing their own technological solutions to prevent corrosion, it only makes sense that we cooperate to discuss our greatest challenges and the best means of tackling them."

Dunmire said his office began securing international exchange agreements with NATO allies in 2007. Corrosion costs the U.S. Department of Defense billions of dollars a year, according to a recent presentation.

The View from Europe

On Tuesday, speakers representing the German, French, and UK ministries of defense discussed the importance of corrosion prevention and control to their agencies.

Corrosion Office Chief Engineer Dick Kinzie briefed attendees about DoD's ongoing cost of corrosion study of weapon systems and infrastructure, addressing how European defense ministries might tailor U.S. methodologies to suit their own needs.

Matt Koch, Corrosion Prevention and Control Program Manager, outlined U.S. Marine Corps initiatives to reduce corrosion costs for ground and amphibious vehicles. Dunmire and Corrosion Office staff members also discussed how they provide direction to DoD and federal government agencies through policy guidance, inter-service collaboration, research and technology oversight, and the promulgation of maintenance practices that prevent corrosion. 

Allied Partners, International Exchanges

Participating organizations that reviewed their institutional support of DoD's multifaceted educational objectives included the National Center for Education and Research on Corrosion and Materials Performance at The University of Akron, Aalen (Germany) University, NACE International, and SSPC.

Rusty ship

Corrosion costs the U.S. military billions of dollars each year, officials have said. The Navy says it spends about $32 million a year just to assess 4,000 tanks in its fleet.

Susan Louscher, executive director of the National Center, outlined its mission to support all federal and state agencies and industry through corrosion-related research and advocacy activities pursued by promising graduates of UA colleges and partner institutions worldwide. 

"The University of Akron embraces a formal partnership with universities overseas which mirrors the international exchange agreements that the DoD Corrosion Office has established with European ministries of defense," said  Louscher.

"We are happy to announce a new collaboration with Aalen University in Germany, which supplements our existing agreements with Manchester University in the U.K., and Curtin University Australia," she said. 

'Similar Challenges'

Bob Chalker, the executive director of NACE, and Bill Shoup, executive director at SSPC, both addressed the seminar on Thursday.

Bill Shoup Bob Chalker

Bill Shoup (left) of SSPC and Bob Chalker of NACE both addressed the workshop Thursday at the NATO School in Germany.

Later, Shoup called the four-day workshop "very beneficial to our organization, allowing SSPC the opportunity to hear how defense organizations from the UK, France and Germany try to address their own corrosion-related challenges."

"Whereas we think we have unique obstacles in the United States Department of Defense, our counterparts in other defense ministries face similar challenges," Shoup said. As SSPC works with the DoD Corrosion Office and our allies worldwide, I believe that good ideas will emerge to help each of us solve these problems."



Tagged categories: Chlorine-induced corrosion; Conferences; Corrosion protection; Department of Defense (DOD); NACE; SSPC; U.S. Navy

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