Defense Department task forces to beef up disaster response.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
The Defense Department is creating special units to assist state and local governments in the event of a major catastrophe, said Paul McHale, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and America's security affairs.
The department is establishing task forces to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosive attacks or accidents. McHale said previously that the Defense Department will step in to assist when the homeland suffers "catastrophic" events similar to Hurricane Katrina or a terrorist attack where a weapon of mass destruction weapon of mass destruction (WMD)
Weapon with the capacity to inflict death and destruction indiscriminately and on a massive scale. The term has been in currency since at least 1937, when it was used to describe massed formations of bomber aircraft. is used.
These task forces will comprise more than 15,000 military personnel from the active, Reserve and National Guard forces, McHale said at a National Defense Industrial Association homeland security conference.
Units will rotate through and be assigned, trained and deployed for the CBRNE CBRNE Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Explosive
CBRNE chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives (US DoD)
CBRNE Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Enhanced Conventional Weapons mission, McHale said. Officials will divide the forces if needed to respond to multiple, simultaneous events.
One year ago, McHale bluntly stated the Defense Department and other federal agencies were woefully woe·ful also wo·ful
1. Affected by or full of woe; mournful.
2. Causing or involving woe.
3. Deplorably bad or wretched: unprepared to respond to 13 of 15 homeland disaster scenarios--most of which are related to weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or . Hurricane response and pandemic pandemic /pan·dem·ic/ (pan-dem´ik)
1. a widespread epidemic of a disease.
2. widely epidemic.
Epidemic over a wide geographic area.
n. flu were the only areas where he believed adequate plans were in place.
Called the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive consequence management response force, or CCMRE the team will assist and respond in the event of a major attack only when called up by the president or requested by a governor, a fact sheet said. The majority of personnel will come from the National Guard, McHale added.
Local emergency teams will be the first to respond to a CBRNE incident, followed by state agencies, the document said. The state response would include the National Guard's weapons of mass destruction civil support teams. A second National Guard group, called the enhanced response force package teams, will reinforce the first if needed, the document said. If all these forces are overwhelmed by an incident or attack, the new group could then be called to assist.
"The CCMRF CCMRF Common Cause Medical Research Foundation
CCMRF CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force would augment existing on-scene local, state, tribal and federal capabilities," the document said.
The new response force's capabilities will include command and control, search and rescue, explosive ordnance disposal The detection, identification, on-site evaluation, rendering safe, recovery, and final disposal of unexploded explosive ordnance. It may also include explosive ordnance which has become hazardous by damage or deterioration. Also called EOD. , aviation evacuation, medical response and decontamination decontamination /de·con·tam·i·na·tion/ (de?kon-tam-i-na´shun) the freeing of a person or object of some contaminating substance, e.g., war gas, radioactive material, etc.
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