By Clemens GainesOctober 17, 2018
Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, and contractors with the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command celebrated their last anniversary on APG South Oct. 16 as they prepare to move to Aberdeen Proving Ground North.
The 20th CBRNE Chief of Staff, Col. Adam Hilburgh, a New York native, was joined by Pfc. Cameron Clayton, from West Palm Beach, Florida, and Jef Harris, from Bel Air, Maryland, during the ceremonial cutting of the cake at the 14th, and final, birthday celebration on APG South for the 20th CBRNE Command. In 2019, the command will move to a new, $73 million two-building complex on Havre de Grace Road on APG North.
"This birthday celebration is a recognition of the vision that Army leaders had many years ago to create and support this command concept," said Hilburgh. "We continue to execute our missions, both here and in support of combatant commanders, as we gear up to move."
Currently, the command's personnel are located throughout nine different buildings on the Edgewood Area of APG. The command initially expected to be in these buildings for four years, and it will be almost 15 years of occupancy when the moves are completed next summer. The renovated 20th CBRNE Command complex will total 186,000 square feet and bring together 270 soldiers and more than 100 civilians and contractors.
"When this complex is completed, multiple parts of the command will be better able to work together more efficiently and effectively in our never ending worldwide response capability," said Brig. Gen. William King, then commander of the 20th CBRNE Command, at the Topping of Steel ceremony in May 2017. He added that the command's combined operations and intelligence facility will have the most modern space and equipment to better operate and monitor happenings around the world within each of the combatant commands the 20th supports.
After the attacks on 9/11, there was no single Army command with specially trained Soldiers and equipment to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive threats. In 2003, there was no single Army command with the Soldiers and equipment and tactics, techniques and procedures to identify and exploit potential weapons of mass destruction in the U.S. Central Command area of operations and elsewhere.
The 20th Support Command (CBRNE) was formed on Oct. 16, 2004, as the centralized command to respond to these critical mission requirements. Also, its placement at Aberdeen Proving Ground fit well in the midst of the multiple research and development, science and technology, and acquisition activities here.
In addition to chemical, biological and radiological threats, the command works on countering the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Its explosive ordnance disposal missions include rendering safe ordnance and improvised explosive devices, at home and abroad, and coordinating with public safety bomb squads at the local and federal level. The command's expeditionary (meaning deployable) medical laboratory, 1st Area Medical Laboratory, is staffed by experienced and highly trained scientists and technicians who can identify infectious disease threats in austere environments. Also, the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity has a deployable laboratory with specialists who have unique expertise in identifying and reducing the threat from hazardous substances.
Contract administration, and construction management and oversight of the new complex, is being handled by the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Whiting-Turner is the general contractor.
Adam Larrimore, project manager for the Corps, notes that the overall project is 70 percent complete. The furniture and audiovisual contracts for both buildings are now out for bid from contractors.
As a result of various Army unit movements in the past decade, the 20th is now the largest group of Soldiers on APG.
"The Soldiers, civilians and contractors, have enjoyed our time here on Edgewood and we look forward to settling in to our new facilities on APG North next year," Hilburgh said.