Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction
What is it? Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) - Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) – consists of efforts to dissuade, deter, and defeat those who seek to harm the United States, its partners and allies through WMD use or threat of use, and, if attacked, mitigate the effects and restore deterrence. The Department of Defense (DoD) combating-WMD mission has as its foundation The National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction set forth by the President of the United States. It provides a proactive approach to combating WMD and a strategic framework consisting of three pillars: Nonproliferation (NP), Counterproliferation (CP) and Consequence Management (CM). NP efforts consist of the full range of diplomatic, economic, informational, and military instruments of national power to prevent or limit the acquisition or development of WMD capabilities. CP focuses on both state and non-state actors who possess active WMD programs and employs the full range of military activities to deter, identify, deny, and counter adversary development, acquisition, possession, proliferation, and use of WMD. CM consists of actions taken to respond to and mitigate the effects of the use of WMD against the United States, its forces and U.S. interests abroad, and to assist friends and allies to enable rapid recovery and restore essential services.
What has the Army done? The Army has embraced the approach laid out in the national and military strategies to combat WMD. Changes have been made within Headquarters, Department of the Army to develop expertise and focus efforts to address wide ranging and often disparate combating WMD issues and approaches. To provide an integrated and cohesive structure for Army efforts, the Army established the Army Council for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction. This council will identify, define, and focus Army combating WMD activities that support DoD policy - increasing the effectiveness of United States NP, CP, and CM activities.
- Nonproliferation (NP): The Army adheres to national implementation and compliance initiatives for cooperative threat reduction, treaties, agreements, export controls and international programs aimed at preventing, dissuading, and denying access to WMD capabilities.
- Counterproliferation (CP): The Army is assessing its capabilities and capacity to conduct WMD elimination operations. To this end the Army initiated a review of the 20th Support Command's (CBRNE) ability to assume responsibility as a Joint Task Force to command and control WMD elimination operations in a possible combat scenario. The Army's Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC) has taken on a new role as the Army component representative for the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). This new relationship will assist USSTRATCOM in its role as the designated command to integrate and synchronize combating WMD efforts across DoD - particularly relating to WMD elimination. The Army continues to execute its responsibilities as the Executive Secretary for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program - providing a strategic 'roadmap' for providing critical chemical and biological protection and defense for the men and women of the Armed Forces.
- Consequence Management (CM): The activation of Headquarters, U.S. Army North (ARNORTH), U.S. Northern Command, provides an Army headquarters capable of supporting a range of homeland defense operations and disaster assistance, including CBRN consequence management. ARNORTH will reach full operational capability by September 2006.
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The Army will continue to support and implement combating WMD policy and initiatives. The Army will conduct mission area analyses of the eight combating-WMD mission areas detailed in the National Military Strategy for Combating WMD (DRAFT) to identify capabilities and capacities required by the Army. This will assist in the development of an Army combating-WMD 'roadmap' that will articulate an overarching Army strategy. In the meantime, the Army will place additional emphasis on WMD elimination operations, and will possibly transform existing Army structure to improve capabilities. The Army will also continue to develop and implement solutions to improve Army contributions to homeland defense as it relates to CBRN consequence management.
Why is this important to the Army? The Army is a key player in the Global War on Terrorism and response to unconventional and asymmetric threats such as those posed by proliferation and use of WMD. Analysis reveals a large scale dependence on Army expertise and capabilities in combating WMD - especially within the areas of WMD elimination and CBRN consequence management. DoD and the nation rely on the Army to provide a fully capable, organized, trained and equipped force to deny, destroy, or respond to and mitigate the effects of WMD. It is imperative that the Army continue to assess its capabilities and capacity to meet these tremendous challenges.