Army Chemical Review


Army Chemical Review presents professional information about Chemical Corps functions related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, smoke, flame, and civil support operations.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 67

By Colonel Theodore J. Cieslak, MD; Lieutenant Colonel S. Craig Moss (Retired); and Sergeant Major James O. Smith (Retired) T he North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which was established in 1949, originated from Cold War imperatives associated with Soviet expansionist policies, threats to the sovereignty of several Western European nations, acute crises such as the Berlin Blockade, and the crumbling security situation resulting from World War II. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact), the organization has grown to include 28 nations that are allied for security cooperation and mutual defense and the focus has shifted somewhat toward counterterrorism, peacekeeping, and peace support operations. Paramount among security and defense concerns is the issue of defending against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons—an issue that involves NATO military and civilian establishments. As recent history has demonstrated in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan, U.S. Service members are increasingly likely to fght alongside NATO allies. Therefore, a basic understanding of NATO functions and operations is critical. Perhaps nowhere is such an understanding more important than it is in the struggle against CBRN warfare and terrorism—a struggle that often uniquely transcends national boundaries and that causes concern for all NATO allies. At least 49 separate NATO bodies are responsible for some aspect of CBRN defense. Consequently, it is imperative that CBRN Soldiers be familiar with NATO counter-CBRN efforts. This article focuses on the medical aspects of NATO's robust CBRN defense establishment. When the NATO governing civilian political body—the North Atlantic Council (NAC)—seeks to formulate military policy or undertake military action in defense of the alliance and its member nations, it does so through its Military Committee (MC), which is comprised of senior national military offcials who answer directly to their respective nations' chiefs of Summer 2013 defense (which, in the case of the United States, is the Secretary of Defense) (see Figure 1, page 6). The MC, in turn, oversees fve standardization boards (Land, Maritime, and Air Standardization Boards; Joint Standardization Board [JSB]; and Medical Standardization Board [MedSB]), which—to the degree practical—serve to standardize doctrine, tactics, procedures, and equipment among the NATO allies. A separate entity, the NATO Committee for Standardization (NCS), which answers directly to the NAC, oversees the NATO Standardization Agency (NSA), which supports the MC standardization boards and other standardization efforts within the alliance. In addition to the fve standardization boards, the MC also oversees the NATO Training Group (NTG), which in turn, controls a CBRN Training Working Group. Moreover, the MC, through the JSB, is responsible for a CBRN Working Group, which concerns itself primarily with CBRN operations. Medical advice is provided to the MC by the Committee of the Chiefs of the Military Medical Services (COMEDS)—a group consisting of senior military medical offcers from alliance member nations (for the United States, the Joint Staff Surgeon, who is a two-star fag offcer, currently sits on the COMEDS). Two entities that provide medical CBRN defense advice and undertake medical CBRN standardization efforts are organized under the COMEDS; they are the CBRN Medical Working Group (CBRNMedWG) and the Biomedical Advisory Committee (BioMedAC). CBRNMedWG The CBRNMedWG originated with the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Medical Working Party, which frst met in Brussels in May 1973 to "staff doctrine and procedures for defense against radiation (ionizing and nonionizing) [and] biological-, chemical-, and laser-directed energy weapons and/or hazards that result directly or indirectly from military operations."1 The NBC Medical Working Party, which originally consisted of 25 delegates from 11 NATO 5

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Army Chemical Review - SUMMER 2013