The 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command continued refining its concepts for acting as a theater CBRNE command during Global Defender 2022, March 23 - April 14, at Fort Hood, Texas.
“We’re here to validate the (theater CBRNE command) concept and fine-tune the integration of command and control of CBRNE assets to enable lethality,” said Lt. Col. Anthony J. Kazor, the command’s chief of operations.
Kazor, a native of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, said this concept is a shift from one of the command’s traditional missions, which has primarily been deterring aggression on the Korean Peninsula. The TCC concept is “more holistic,” he said, focusing on command and control of CBRNE forces while supporting theater-level operations with subject-matter expertise to enable maneuver operations in a large-scale environment.
“We’re going from technical operations and site reconnaissance to enabling maneuver assets,” Kazor said. “Out here, we’re refining staff products and estimates to enable our commander to visualize the battlefield, and refining our tactical standard operating procedures to support a broader fight.”
The command, headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, started the exercise by loading equipment for road transport to Fort Hood on March 21. Members of the headquarters arrived at Fort Hood, March 23, to begin setting up the operations center.
“This has been months in the making,” said 1st Sgt. John Binot, senior enlisted leader of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 20th CBRNE Command. “To get down here and set up our tent complex, we’ve held command post exercises, tent exercises and more so the Soldiers could build their muscle memory. When we got here, they knew exactly what they needed to do to construct the tactical operations center and all the rest.”
Once the complex was set and operations began, the command’s Soldiers used lessons learned from its previous command post exercise at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania, to develop staff products and processes that will enable it to function as a TCC supporting a coalition forces land component command or joint task force in the European theater of operations, said Maj. Casey Richmond, a CBRNE planner from Lolo, Montana.
“FIG helped give us a picture of how we fit into a (coalition forces land component command),” he said. “It lets us outlay how chemical and explosive ordnance disposal units proved freedom of maneuver for fighting forces. We’re integrated into the battlefield picture so units know where to go for help.”
While operations in Europe and on the Korean Peninsula each have their own challenges, Kazor said what the command is learning while refining the TCC concept will pay dividends in both theaters. The command will support an exercise in South Korea soon after the end of Global Defender 22.
“After this, we’re immediately going to South Korea, where we’re expanding our concepts,” he said. “We’ll continue to refine our processes and integration with higher headquarters there.”
Binot said despite the challenges associated with moving the 20th CBRNE Command to Texas, Global Defender was a great opportunity for the Soldiers.
“Any time we get an opportunity to bring out our Soldiers and give them the opportunity to exercise their tasks and drills, it’s a good day for the Army, it’s a good day for our unit, and it’s a good day for our Soldiers,” he said.
Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied military operations.
The 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the active Army’s EOD technicians and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five weapons of mass destruction teams and three nuclear disablement teams.