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.

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9 Summer 2015 By Brigadier General J. B. Burton, Colonel F. John Burpo, and S ince the advent of modern warfare, commanders have applied a combined arms strategy to overmatch adver- sary capabilities and to generate decisive advantages at key points on the battlefeld. Formed from mounted and dismounted maneuver units—and with artillery and avia- tion support—the overwhelming, integrated combined arms entities complement one another. Similarly, today's chemi- cal, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) units must be capable of being employed as integrated for- mations to capitalize on their overlapping and synergistic strengths and to provide supported commanders with the capacity to effectively and decisively operate in an environ- ment that is complicated by CBRNE hazards. This article describes the evolution of the 20th CBRNE Command from a functional force provider of chemical, biological, radiologi- cal, and nuclear (CBRN) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) capabilities to one that scales, tailors, and employs multifunctional CBRNE task forces to meet the full range of CBRNE threats and hazards and the employment of these CBRNE task forces at combat training centers (CTCs). For the purposes of this article, the term CBRNE includes the full range of low- to high-yield explosive threats, encompass- ing the subset of critical tasks that EOD Soldiers perform— from unexploded ordnance to improvised explosive device (IED) defeat tasks. In 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Depart- ment of Defense (DOD) was directed to fnd, exploit, collect, and eliminate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). However, DOD had no standing CBRNE capability with which to accomplish this strategically important mission. The 75th Field Artillery Brigade was assigned the mission, and the unit formed the core of the 75th Exploitation Task Force. But because the 75th Exploitation Task Force was merely an ad hoc solution to a strategic problem, the task force immediately faced numerous capability challenges re- sulting from a lack of doctrine, training, communications, organization, and equipment. Recognizing these challeng- es, Headquarters, Department of the Army (DA), directed the establishment of a single headquarters for worldwide CBRNE response in support of homeland defense and regional combatant commanders. Consequently, the 20th CBRNE Command (originally named the Guardian Bri- gade, then the 20th Support Command) was activated on 16 October 2004 to provide a synergistic response to the dy- namic, rapidly evolving, asymmetric threats that we now face. Even before the 20th CBRNE Command reached full operational capability, the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Report further expanded its mission to serve as the headquarters for a rapidly deployable joint task force for WMD elimination. And today, the 20th CBRNE Command is a highly technical, special-purpose, expeditionary forma- tion of more than 5,000 Soldiers and 225 civilians who are posted on 19 different installations across 16 states within the continental United States (CONUS). The 20th CBRNE Command includes 85 percent of the Regular Army CBRN and EOD units and is the only DA command with the spe- cialized CBRNE capabilities and expertise necessary to ef- fectively operate across the full range of CBRNE threats and hazards. These capabilities reside within the 48th Chemical Brigade; the 52d Ordnance Group (EOD); the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD); and the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Analytical and Remediation Activ- ity (CARA). To better the complete set of current and antici- pated command missions, orders, and taskings, the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), in July 2014, ap- proved the following mission statement: "The 20th CBRNE Command deploys to support unifed land operations and performs mission command for Army and/or joint CBRN and EOD forces to achieve national CWMD [countering weapons of mass destruction], homeland defense, and defense sup- port of civil authorities (DSCA) objectives while providing globally responsive CBRN and EOD forces to combatant commands." 1 Within the homeland, the 20th CBRNE Command rou- tinely engages and operates with—and in support of—joint, interagency, and other CBRNE organizations and entities. Specifc missions involve EOD emergency response; very important person protection support activity; the defense CBRN response force; DCSA; defense support of civilian

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