ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Members of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command joined senior military leaders, representatives from some of the closest U.S. allies, members of the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee and other experts at the Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Coordination Conference (CCC) from 17-20 September 2018 at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
The conference is hosted by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency/U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and brings together hundreds of experts and senior leaders to share ideas, information, and coordinate U.S. - led efforts to combat WMD around the world.
Working and sharing ideas with partnered countries, 20th CBRNE Command participants discussed how CWMD operations and activities could help shape conditions for response to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief efforts, and support to combatant commanders. The conference provided a venue for increased awareness of CWMD issues and an opportunity for networking with delegates from France, Australia and Canada and various U.S. agencies.
The 20th CBRNE participants were given the opportunity to discuss, examine and explore options on how deterrence for the use of CWMD can be utilized at the strategic and tactical levels. Several 20th CBRNE Soldiers and civilians also participated in discussions which addressed alliance and partner cooperation and the need for transparency in a time of shifting military strength in Europe. They also discussed the need for CBRNE operations to be integrated into multilateral operations in various regions around the world.
For Master Sgt. Tremayne Robbins, a future operations planner for 20th CBRNE Command, the conference gave him insight into how to work on developing a way forward for understanding and utilizing CWMD capabilities in support of special operations units.
"I think the CWMD Conference is a great way to be exposed to the concerns that our special operations Soldiers face in the realm of CWMD operations and their capacity to address current issues," said Robbins, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. "I think this was a great opportunity to reinforce a continued desire to build up engagement opportunities with our military and civilian counterparts across the area of responsibility."
Lieutenant Col. Miguel Torres, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Team (WCT) Chief and graduate of the explosive ordinance qualification course said the symposium provided an opportunity to discuss how to leverage CWMD operations to provide a common operations picture to Interagency and partner nations.
"The CWMD Coordination Conference was a great opportunity for CWMD professionals, across the services and various areas of responsibility, to share ideas and experiences aimed at improving multinational cooperation for CWMD deterrence," said Torres, a native of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico. "Additionally, we discussed the importance of placing emphasis on integrating CWMD in strategies, plans and policies at the strategic and tactical levels."
Robbins agreed, saying the most important aspect of the conference was the opportunity to form relationships and develop multilateral cooperation among the participants.
"We couldn't execute our mission in various areas of responsibility without the help of the Air Force and Marines or partner countries like Australia and France, and I am so appreciative that they came to support this event," Robbins said. "It has been a great experience to gain various perspectives from the other services, interagency and partner countries."