By Walter T. Ham IV, 20th CBRNE Command Public AffairsOctober 16, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Maryland -- The U.S. Department of Defense's only command that combats chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive hazards marked its 10th anniversary Oct. 16.
Headquartered in Maryland's science, technology and security corridor on Aberdeen Proving Ground, 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) was activated by U.S. Army Forces Command on Oct. 16, 2004, to consolidate the U.S. Army's CBRNE forces under one command.
Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command train and operate with joint, interagency and allied partners around the world to counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), eliminate CBRNE threats and defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The command is home to 85 percent of the Active U.S. Army's CBRNE capabilities, with two EOD Groups, one CBRN Brigade and several special purpose capabilities, including deployable laboratories, Nuclear Disablement Teams and CBRNE Coordination Elements.
"Since its creation, the 20th CBRNE Command has saved lives, protected property and enabled mission success around the globe," said 20th CBRNE Commanding General Brig. Gen. JB Burton.
"The 20th CBRNE Command takes on the entire world every day," said Burton, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee. "Our Soldiers and civilians voluntarily deploy to most dangerous places in the world to confront the most dangerous weapons in the world and they come face-to-face with our enemy's preferred weapons every day."
Since 2004, Soldiers from 20th CBRNE Command have deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and the Balkans. Together with their joint service partners, 20th CBRNE Command Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians have defeated more than 50,000 IEDs.
EOD technicians from the 20th CBRNE Command have also trained indigenous military and law enforcement bomb squads during Humanitarian Mine Action missions on five of the seven continents.
Not only does 20th CBRNE deploy for global military operations but it is also the U.S. Department of Defense's only multifunctional formation that conducts daily Defense Support to Civil Law Enforcement Agency missions.
Stationed on 19 posts in 16 states, 20th CBRNE units defuse unexploded ordnance, remediate chemical weapons sites and serve in the Defense CBRNE Response Force. Nuclear Disablement Team personnel also serve in the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Ground Collection Task Force.
As 20th CBRNE enters its second decade, Burton said the command is experimenting with a task organization that combines its EOD and CBRN formations into CBRNE Task Forces that are regionally aligned with I Corps in the Asia Pacific region; III Corps in Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and XVIII Airborne Corps on Global Response Force missions.
"Integrated threats require integrated solutions," said Burton.
The 20th CBRNE commanding general thanked his Soldiers and civilians for everything that they have accomplished in the last 10 years and continue to accomplish in defense of the United States.
"Every day, the men and women of this command demonstrate our U.S. Army Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage … the stuff that heroes are made of," said Burton.