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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34 Army Chemical Review By Captain Taylor S. Harrington T he Chemical Corps is often viewed as a dying branch of the U.S. Army—one that has served its purpose and is scrapping to stay alive. And from the outside look- ing in, it might be hard to argue the point. However, that perception can be attributed to a lack of knowledge about the capabilities provided by chemical, biological, radiologi- cal, and nuclear (CBRN) companies. This article focuses on how the Chemical Corps could shift its mission set from pas- sive defense to all-hazards response with areas of interest that include military doctrine and training, the operational gap, and ground requirements. The Chemical Corps is a branch that takes pride in its technical nature; how- ever, we limit the capabili- ties that we can provide to commanders by remaining focused on operational decontamination, thorough decon- tamination, and mass casualty decontamination. By chang- ing our mission to become a technical force, we can provide maneuver commanders with an additional resource with which to effect change throughout an operational environ- ment. As a technical force, we must be able to conduct hasty sampling, effectively identify toxic industrial chemicals and materials, and exploit narcotics and clandestine laborato- ries. This approach must be learned at the institutional level and then fltered to the operational command by competent and qualifed leaders at all levels. Our current doctrine, which focuses on CBRN defense, identifes three core fundamentals—contamination avoid- ance, protection, and decontamination. But these functions are performed within every maneuver battalion, thereby di- minishing the need for the Chemical Corps to provide sup- port to the battalions. We must realize, though, that our enemies have new capabilities. They may not have access to conventional CBRN weapons; rather, they are capable of us- ing hazmat and hazardous waste to mass casualties. Therefore, as a corps, we must move past Soviet-era tactics and provide maneuver commanders with better situational awareness by supplying them with timely and accurate in- formation so that they can make informed decisions regard- ing the operational environment. A knowledge baseline is established at the institution so that trained Soldiers can provide the operational domain with the most current doctrine, tactics, techniques, proce- dures, and equipment. However, because the institution con- sistently lags years behind the operational domain, there is a gap between institutional knowledge and the operational domain. This is a source of ct for Soldiers be- cause, although they learn what is being taught at the institution, that informa- tion is no longer required at the operational level. Therefore, operational tactics should be integrated into in- stitutional learning so that Soldiers can provide maneuver commanders with current information and recommenda- tions regarding combat threats on the battlefeld. As we progress into a new era, we must make sure that doctrine keeps pace with operational requirements. The Chemical Corps is a technical force that needs to provide commanders with technical capabilities (conducting hasty sampling, identifying toxic industrial chemicals and materi- als, exploiting narcotics and clandestine laboratories) and timely and accurate information to effect changes on the battlefeld. Captain C, 3d Battalion, 11th Infantry (Offcer Candidate School), Fort Benning, Georgia. He holds a bachelor's degree in Jacksonville State University, "By changing our mission to become a technical force, we can provide maneuver commanders with an additional resource with which to effect change throughout an operational environment." " B y c h a n g i n g o u r m i s s i o n t o b e c o m e a t e c h n i c a l f o r c e , w e c a n p r o v i d e m a n e u v e r c o m m a n d e r s w i t h a n a d d i t i o n a l r e s o u r c e w i t h w h i c h t o e f f e c t c h a n g e t h r o u g h o u t a n o p e r a t i o n a l e n v i r o n m e n t . "

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