Civil Support Team

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A Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (WMD-CST or CST) advises civilian responders in the event of a suspected weapon of mass destruction attack. CSTs are federally funded National Guard units established under Presidential Decision Directive 39. There are 57 full-time teams: one in every U.S. state, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands, and an additional team each in California, Florida and New York.[1][2]

Units[edit]

Mission[edit]

The mission of the WMD-CST is to support civil authorities at the direction of the Governor, at domestic CBRN incident sites by identifying CBRN agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures, and assisting with requests for additional support. In the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, Congress expanded the operational incidents a WMD-CST could be used to include the intentional or unintentional release of CBRN and natural or man-made disasters in the United States that result, or could result, in the catastrophic loss of life or property.[3]

Overview[edit]

The WMD-CSTs are National Guard units designed to provide a specialized capability to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) incident primarily in a Title 32 operational status within the United States, the District of Columbia, its territories and possessions, as established by 10 USC §12310. Congress, the President, and DoD recognized that the WMD-CSTs, responding under the authority of the Governor, provide significant capabilities to assist local and state agencies that may be overwhelmed by a large-scale terrorist attack or where specific technical capabilities to identify CBRN materials are required. In October 1998, Congress authorized and funded the fielding of the first 10 WMD-CSTs. With this fielding began the development and evolution of new capabilities and concepts to ensure that DoD could support evolving interagency response plans. Since 1998, Congress has authorized and funded the fielding of WMD-CSTs in the remaining States and territories.

The WMD-CST consists of 22 ARNG and ANG personnel serving in a USC, Title 32, Full-Time National Guard (FTNG) duty status; also known as State Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) status. The unit consists of six (6) sections: command, operations, administration/logistics, medical/analytical, communications, and survey. The WMD-CST is required to maintain a level of readiness that will allow for a rapid response within established timelines. The unit is specially trained and equipped to assist local, tribal, state, and Federal emergency response organizations with state of the art equipment. They also have a technical and analytical reachback capability to other experts who may assist the local response.

The certified WMD-CSTs provide unique capabilities, expertise, and technologies to assist the governors in preparing for and responding to a CBRN situation. These WMD-CSTs are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for rapid deployment for response operations. The WMD-CST complements and enhances local and State capabilities. In order to ensure that the WMD-CSTs are capable of a sustainable, rapid response in support of a validated request for assistance, the following response management plan outlines a standardized approach to provide WMD-CST support anywhere in the United States. The WMD-CST is manned, trained, and equipped to conduct continuous operations for a minimum of 72 hours using organic table of distribution and allowances (TDA) assets. If extended operations, past 72 hours are required, additional WMD-CSTs will be alerted to provide augmentation or relief. Codified as the Response Management Plan (RMP), this document ensures that a designated number of WMD-CSTs are always ready to respond to a national need, or to fill a request of a State without an available WMD-CST. A primary planning assumption is that each JFHQ-State is best informed to create contingency plans for WMD-CST coverage within its jurisdiction. Therefore, this plan is intended to be activated only when a specific support request is received at the NGB Joint Coordination Center (JoCC). NGB initiated operational support requests will be the exception.[4]

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