FORT Polk, La. - Four chemical companies from 48th Chemical Brigade participated in the Civil Support and Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Response Force (DCRF) rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana March 4 - 23.
Almost 400 Soldiers from the 21st, 59th, 172nd, and 181st Chemical Companies from 48th Chemical Brigade, provided mass decontamination, CBRN reconnaissance, and site characterization capabilities to the task force.
"The 48th Chemical Brigade provides chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear response, hazard identification, mitigation and some level of remediation to create a safe environment that reduces human suffering," said Col. Christopher Cox, brigade commander, 48th Chemical Brigade. "Our parent unit, the 20th CBRNE Command, also has the capability to provide counter improvised explosive devices and has the ability to understand how those devices work, where they come from and who is making them."
During the rotation, the companies had a couple of objectives, reconnaissance, mass denomination, search and rescue operations and work with interagency partners.
"Dealing with a CBRN or weapons of mass destruction event is a whole of government approach. Depending on the specific incident it could require us to work with the Department of Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation or joint enablers," said Cox.
It is joint, it is interagency, it takes the whole of government to deal with a CBRN or WMD event, he added. I think it is a great opportunity for our Soldiers to work with civilian and other federal agencies such as the FEMA because they are going to have to interact and operate with them be it here in the homeland or overseas.
One of the capabilities the chemical companies bring to the task force is the mounted and dismounted reconnaissance platforms that provides the commander a standoff detection platform.
"There is stand-off detection capabilities within the Stryker Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle (NBCRV) this allows the identification of agents at a safe distance," Cox said.
Cox finished by adding, "This mission demonstrates that there is nothing more important for a Soldier to do in a time of need than be there for our fellow citizens. This exercise demonstrates our resolve and commitment to the Homeland and it demonstrates our capability to do the same for others should the need arise outside of the United States."
The DCRF, the active-duty component of the CBRN Response Enterprise, consists of 5,200 personnel, and is a scalable force that is part of a larger collaborative response ability between local, state, tribal and federal agencies and has the ability to respond rapidly to a CBRN event. The DCRF responds only at the request of a state governor, on approval of the Secretary of Defense and U.S. president, in support of a lead federal agency.
With units on 19 posts in 16 states, the Aberdeen Proving Ground-based 20th CBRNE Command is the Defense Department's only multifunctional formation that combats global chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. The one-of-a-kind command trains with joint, interagency and allied partners around the world.