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CBRNC3 partners with DPG.

Our Nation is vulnerable to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats. However, through the combined efforts of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School (USACBRNS) Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Captain's Career Course (CBRNC3) and Dugway Proving Ground (DPG), Utah, the U.S. Army Chemical Corps is actively reducing that vulnerability in order to meet the "CBRN Regiment 2016-2020 Strategy" vision of "... standing ready to defeat all hazards, material threats, and combat weapons of mass destruction (WMD) ..." (1)

This article discusses U.S. CBRN and WMD vulnerabilities and gaps, the responsibility of the Chemical Corps in combating CBRN and WMD, the synergistic effects of the partnership between CBRNC3 and DPG, how the CBRNC3/DPG partnership enhances the training and education of company grade officers, and how company grade officers returning to the operational force can enhance the ability of the military to combat CBRN and WMD.

A Vulnerable Nation

Like many nations, the United States is vulnerable to CBRN and WMD threats from a growing number of adversaries. President Barack Obama states, "Since the dawn of civilization, infectious diseases have shaped the course of human history. During the 20th century, we made remarkable progress in advancing public health; but in many ways, we are currently more vulnerable than ever." (2) The vulnerabilities stem from the proliferation of adversarial CBRN and WMD capabilities. CBRN and WMD have long been concerns of the military; as a result, several national strategy documents have been developed to address these concerns over the past 12 years. While nations become more vulnerable to CBRN and WMD threats, the Chemical Corps works harder to plan and develop mitigation measures.

Gaps in CBRN and WMD Defense

House Report 109-452, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, indicates that there are current gaps in Service and joint CBRN doctrine, training, and education. (3) Some of these gaps are minor, while some are more egregious. The Armed Services Committee, U.S. House of Representatives "... directs the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, in coordination with the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy, and Secretary of the Air Force, to perform a gap analysis on nuclear, chemical, and biological (NCB) defense training ... for both the [Regular Army] and Reserve Component." (4)

The House of Representatives has ordered more than 30 studies on CBRN doctrine, training, and education. These studies indicate a lack of realistic CBRN training, and one of the studies reveals that all Services need to improve responsiveness and operations during CBRN attacks. However, the good news is that, in the 12 years since the first report was produced, the Chemical Corps has shown steady improvement in creating realistic training scenarios. Likewise, the Chemical Corps has shown improvement in implementing doctrine through training and education, which have become important aspects of the overall success of the Corps.

The Chemical Corps Role

As the number of adversaries with CBRN and WMD capabilities grows, it is important that the United States--specifically, the Chemical Corps--be able to combat current and future CBRN and WMD vulnerabilities across the range of military operations at home and overseas. According to Matthew F. Kelly, "The largest arm of the DOD [Department of Defense] is the United States Army; and while other organizations exist within DOD to combat WMD ...," it is the U.S. Army Chemical Corps that is most responsible for the military's state of preparedness to combat CBRN and WMD operations. (5) Therefore, it is important to produce leaders who are adaptable experts, standing ready to counter the entire range of CBRN and WMD threats across the full spectrum of operations. As a recent CBRNC3 small-group leader stated, "... we need to develop integrative doctrine, force structure, training, materiel, leadership, and education." (6)


The Chemical Corps recognized the need to enhance the force and has since leveraged its capabilities by using realistic training and current education at USACBRNS. Through attendance at the 22-week CBRNC3, captains receive world-class training and education backed by a scientific foundation and collective capabilities. During the course, which is internally and externally directed, captains develop leadership, training management, and written and oral communication skills. In addition, they are educated in the areas of CBRN defense, decontamination, reconnaissance, operational radiological safety, hazmat response, WMD nonproliferation/counterproliferation, consequence management, and threat doctrine. Moreover, doctrine, education, readiness, and realistic training are further integrated within CBRNC3 so that students are better able to conduct CBRN and WMD operations. Officers leave CBRNC3 with a better understanding of the context, breadth, and depth of CBRN and WMD capabilities and threats.

The CBRNC3/DPG Partnership

In response to the reports indicating a lack of realistic CBRN training, the Chemical Corps developed a realistic, hands-on capstone training event, which is conducted at DPG near the end of CBRNC3. The 3 1/2-day capstone event represents a combined CBRNC3/ DPG effort to solidify the students' expertise. Thanks to USACBRNS and DPG leaders, CBRN operations are coordinated, synchronized, and integrated into the capstone event, thereby linking the cognitive objectives of CBRNC3 with the tactical actions of DPG. The location of the capstone event at DPG allows CBRN captains to complete training that could not be employed in the USACBRNS environment at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. The capstone event is conducted according to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet (Pam) 525-3-0, The U.S. Army Capstone Concept, which describes the interactions and capabilities of a comprehensive operational environment that reflects future Army forces. (7)

The CBRNC3/DPG partnership began with an initial planning meeting held at DPG. The commander of the 84th Chemical Battalion; the commander and command sergeant major of the 3d Chemical Brigade; and the chief of the Individual Training Division, Directorate of Training and Leader Development, USACBRNS, discussed the scope of, and training requirements for, CBRNC3. The project manager then provided the budgetary cost estimate and statement of work; once these items were approved, funds were allocated to support the capstone event. The partnership changed and enhanced CBRNC3, which serves as the last formal technical training that CBRN officers attend during their careers.

CBRNC3 Capstone Event at DPG

The CBRNC3 capstone training event at DPG is managed by the Special Projects Division and the West Desert Test Center (both organizations within the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, DPG) and conducted according to TRADOC and USACBRNS guidance.

The capstone event consists of a day of mandatory and introductory briefs to safely prepare students, half-day of CBRN training, half-day of CBRN energetic training, day of biological training, and half-day of practical exercises. The event takes place in state-of-the art chemical/biological/ homemade-explosives classrooms, laboratories, and interactive training sites. Chemists, biologists, and other scientists from the Special Projects Division and West Desert Test Center simplify the highly technical and complicated concepts into useable information that is easy to understand, analyze, synthesize, and apply through relevant, realistic, challenging, and hands-on training scenarios. Furthermore, the Special Projects Division seamlessly integrates training materials (including training on improvised explosive devices, dispersal devices, and chemical and biological stimulants) throughout the entire capstone event.

According to a recent training participant, "Dugway is unique in that it allows for us to train on our core CBRN competencies in a near-real-world CBRN environment." (8) CBRNC3 students report that they are better able to detect, collect, process, and analyze the situational threat after receiving true hands-on training at DPG. A recent CBRNC3 graduate stated, "The exercise at Dugway is unrivaled by any other CBRN training I have experienced." (9)


According to the National Defense Strategy of the United States of America, DOD "... will give top priority to dissuading, deterring, and defeating those who seek to harm the United States directly, especially extremist enemies with [WMD]." (10) As adversaries continue to pursue the possession and proliferation of CBRN weapons, the Chemical Corps will continue to capitalize on the synergistic effects of partnerships with government agencies such as DPG, providing relevant and realistic training and closing the CBRN and WMD gaps that have been exposed in various reports.

The CBRNC3/DPG partnership advances the Chemical Corps mission to enhance tactics, techniques, and procedures to better protect our Nation. CBRNC3 graduates are better able to provide defense support of civil authorities and support unified land operations involving chemical, biological, and explosive incidents.

According to a recent CBRNC3 graduate, "Dugway provides training that is relevant to today's threats and better prepares captains for future CBRN assignments." (11) Today's captains, without a doubt, enhance the military with adaptable experts, standing ready to counter the entire range of CBRN and WMD threats across the full spectrum of operations.


(1) "CBRN Regiment 2016-2020 Strategy," Army Chemical Review, Summer 2013.

(2) National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats, National Security Council, November 2009, < _Countering_BioThreats.pdf>, accessed on 19 March 2014.

(3) House Report 109-452, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, Armed Services Committee, 109th Congress, 5 May 2006, < /congressional-report/109th-congress/house-report/452/l>, accessed on 19 March 2014.

(4) Ibid.

(5) Matthew F. Kelly, "United States Army Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Corps Capability for Combating the Contemporary Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat," master's thesis presented to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 8 June 2012.

(6) Sean T. Carmody, "Chemical Corps Role in a Unified Exploitation Concept," Army Chemical Review, Summer 2013.

(7) TRADOC Pam 525-3-0, The U.S. Army Capstone Concept, 19 December 2012.

(8) A1 Vogel, "48th Chemical Brigade Likes DPG's Personalized Training," The Dispatch, May 2013, <http://>, accessed on 20 March 2014.

(9) Personal communication with Captain Benjamin A. Michael, 1 August 2013.

(10) The National Defense Strategy of the United States of America, DOD, March 2005.

(11) Personal communication with Captain Michael.

Captain Dellerman is a CBRN officer assigned as a CBRNC3 small-group leader. USACBRNS, Fort Leonard Wood. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
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Author:Dellerman, David A.
Publication:CML Army Chemical Review
Date:Jun 22, 2014
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