CBRN defense

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For the cyanogen bromide molecular formula, see CBrN.
Nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) disposal technicians taking part in a training exercise.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN defense or CBRNE defense) is protective measures taken in situations in which chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare (including terrorism) hazards may be present. CBRN defense consists of CBRN passive protection, contamination avoidance and CBRN mitigation.

A CBRN incident differs from a hazardous material incident in both scope (i.e., CBRN can be a mass casualty situation) and intent. CBRN incidents are responded to under the assumption that they are intentional and malicious; evidence preservation and perpetrator apprehension are of greater concern than with HAZMAT incidents.

A 2011 forecast concluded that worldwide government spending on CBRN defence products and services would reach US$8.38bn that year.[1]


In English the term CBRN is a replacement for the cold war term NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical), which had replaced the term ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) that was used in the fifties. The addition of the R (for radiological) is a consequence of the "new" threat of a radiological weapon (also known as "dirty bombs"), in addition to end the joke among members of the Chemical Corps which called "NBC as NoBody Cares"[citation needed]. In the new millennium, the term CBRNe was introduced as an extension of CBRN - the e in this term representing the enhanced (improvised) explosives threat.[2] Leaders and members of the Chemical Corps also use CBRN as "Could Be Right Now".[3]

In Spanish the term NRBQ (Nuclear, Radiológico, Bacteriológico y Químico) has replaced NBQ.

By country or region[edit]


The Argentine Armed Forces has several CRBN response teams. The Batallón de Ingenieros QBN 601 of the Argentine Army, was the first CRBN response team created, in the 1990s, as a part of the country's Rapid Deployment Force. Civil defense, and firemen from Policía Federal Argentina teams also have CRBN training.


Brazilian Marine Corps training for CBRN defense.
Brazilian troops prepared for biological warfare.
Special Forces training for chemical warfare.

Brazilian firefighters are trained for NBC situations. Due to the 2016 Summer Olympics, police forces, like the GATE from Minas Gerais, the Federal Police and the National Public Security Force, are being prepared too.[4]

In the military area, there is CBRN equipment and personnel by all the Armed Forces. The Brazilian Army has two specific teams: the 1st Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Batallion, which is based at Rio de Janeiro and is responsible by decontaminating military equipment, weapon and personnel,[5] and the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense Company, based at Goiânia and part of the Brazilian Special Operations Command, that makes the decontamination and defense in CBRN situations.[6] The Brazilian Presidential Guard and Army Police also have CBRN units.[7][5]

The Brazilian Marine Corps has the CDefNBQR (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical and Radiological Defense Center)[8][9][10] that controls the ARAMAR Nuclear, Biological, Chemical and Radiological Defense Batallion, at Iperó, São Paulo, conceived to provide the physical security and to perform CBRN emergencies control actions at the Centro Experimental Aramar, responsible for developing Brazilian Navy nuclear researches;[11] the Itaguaí Nuclear, Biological, Chemical and Radiological Defense Battalion, at Itaguaí, Rio de Janeiro, where it's going to be hosted the first Brazilian Navy nuclear-powered submarine; and the Nuclear, Biological, Chemical and Radiological Defense Company, at Duque de Caxias, Rio de Janeiro.[12] The Air Force is making special teams for transporting victims from CBRN attacks/accidents.[13]


The term CBRN is in common use in disaster and emergency services organizations across the country.[14] Since July 2005, the Canadian Armed Forces also started using the term CBRN Defence, instead of NBC Defence, due to the increased threat of dirty bomb use (which is radiological in nature). CBRNE is a new term that is being used in both civilian and military organisations. The Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit is a Canadian Forces unit, under the direction of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, charged with supporting "the Government of Canada in order to prevent, control and mitigate CBRN threats to Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests."

All members of the Canadian Armed Forces are trained in CBRN defense, and maintain minimum standards tested at a minimum, every three years.

At the provincial level, cities are provided opportunities for their emergency services with CBRN training. In Ontario, emergency services in Windsor, Peterborough, Toronto, and Ottawa have obtained CBRN standing at NFPA Standard 472 Awareness Level 3.[15]

European Union[edit]

In mid-July 2016, the European Parliament negotiated a new draft counterterrorism directive aimed at protecting Europe's people from biological, chemical and other attacks. The timeline of the directive is illustrated in the following table:[16]

Date or target date Action
July 4, 2016 The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee approved

amendments to its directive counterterrorism.

July 14, 2016 Negotiations began. Monika Hohlmeier, the chief negotiator for the European Parliament,

is charged with negotiating the final text of the directive with the European Council (heads

of state for all 28 European Union countries). The European Commission will serve

as a facilitator in the negotiations.

Fall 2016 Negotiations expected to be concluded.

The directive would criminalize:[16]

  • Certain acts related to preparing for a terrorist attack, such as traveling abroad to meet with a terrorist group
  • Training to make explosives, firearms, and other dangerous substances
  • Public incitement or praise for terrorism and financing of terrorism

The directive also includes text to help victims of terror attacks.[16]

Hong Kong[edit]

Hong Kong has had CBRN response capabilities since the early 1990s and advanced training from 1998.[17] The Standing CBRN Planning Group (known as the SRPG) plans for all CBRN incidents in Hong Kong. The SRPG was set up with the support of the Secretary for Security by the Senior Bomb Disposal Officer in Hong Kong, Dominic Brittain.[18] It consists of representatives from 9 government departments who plan the response to CBRN threats. These departments include Police EOD, Fire Services, the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health, amongst others.The operational arm of the SRPG is the CBRN Incident Advisory Group (RIAG) who form up in the initial stages of a CBRN incident using telephone conferencing. RIAG consists of five experts who assist with the technical response to the incident by providing real time advice and support to the departments involved. The Hong Kong capability is well rehearsed, with regular departmental exercises conducted and a full scale CBRN exercise conducted every year.[19]


The Indian Army ordered 16 CBRN monitoring vehicles, of which the first 8 were inducted in December 2010. It was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Ordnance Factories Board.[20]

Ireland (Republic of)[edit]

Members of the Irish Defence Forces and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) at a CBRNE training exercise

The Irish Defence Forces have CBRNE training and equipment capabilities – in particular the Ordnance Corps (Explosive Ordnance Disposal/EOD teams), Engineer Corps and Army Ranger Wing (ARW) – and will aid the civil authority if requested. The Irish Army runs CBRNE defence courses, and has detection equipment, decontamination equipment and is reported to have purchased 10,000 protective CBRN/NBC suits, enough for all of its personnel.[21] All Army Reserve personnel undergo CBRN warfare defence training.[22]

The Irish national police force, the Garda Síochána, has a number of nationwide CBRN response teams. The teams are based regionally (in six regions; Dublin, Eastern, Northern, Southern, South-Eastern & Western) and began operating from 2004 with 100 trained officers (170 responders trained throughout the country as of 2009). There is a requirement for members to be re-certified within 18 months of training.[23][24] CBRN response teams are trained by the Garda Tactical Training Unit, and supported nationally by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).[25] Other emergency services also have limited CBRN expertise, such as the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB), who have a Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat) and Chemical Incident Unit.


The Malaysian Army formed a CBRN unit, Peperangan Nuklear, Biologi dan Kimia 3 Divisyen (English: Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Warfare Division 3; PNBK 3D) in April 2002.[26]

The Royal Malaysia Police has CBRN providers. The Pasukan Gerakan Khas (PGK) has two special operations detachments with HAZMAT expertise - 69 Commandos and Special Actions Unit. The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) also has a CBRN unit. Both PGK and FRU teams handle CBRN calls, before an army PNBK unit responds.[27]


The Spanish Army 1st CBRN Regiment 'Valencia' was formed in March 2005.Training in the defence against CBRN agents as part of combat support is the main aim of exercise 'Grifo' (Griffin) – the most important of this type that the Army undertakes. The National Police and the Spanish Civil Guard have their own CBRN units. The Military Emergencies Unit and emergency services have CBRN training.[28] [29]

United Kingdom[edit]

CBRN is also used by the UK Home Office as a civil designation.[30] Police, fire and ambulance services in the UK must all have some level of CBRN providers. Within the ambulance service this is performed by the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and Special Operations Response Team (SORT). Since the introduction of new equipment to UK fire services under the New Dimension programme, CBRN decontamination of personnel (including members of the public) has become a task carried out by fire services in the UK and they regularly train for such scenarios.

United States[edit]

The United States Army uses CBRN as an abbreviation for their Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Operations Specialists (MOS). The United States Army trains all US Army soldiers pursuing a career in CBRN at the United States Army CBRN School (USACBRNS) at Fort Leonard Wood.

U.S. Marines Training Exercise for Temporary Critical Support to Enable Community Recovery after a CBRNE Incident

The USAF uses Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC 3E9X1) U.S. Air Force Emergency Management, who are also CBRN Specialists. The USAF trains all US Airmen pursuing a career in counter-CBRN operations at the USAF CBRN School at Fort Leonard Wood.

The USMC uses CBRN as an abbreviation for two military occupational specialties. The Marine Corps runs a CBRN School to train Marine CBRN Defense Officers and Marine CBRN Defense Specialists at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. See also: Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (USMC CBIRF)

The USN requires all personnel to take a web-based CBRNE training annually to get a basic understanding of facts and procedures related to responding to a CBRNE incident.

The Russian Federation[edit]

The Russian government vaccinated around half a million reindeer against anthrax in 2015.[31] Around 1.5 million reindeer carcasses in Russian permafrost are at risk of melting due to global warming in the Arctic.[32] There is a risk that global warming in the Arctic can thaw the permafrost, leading to new infections in reindeer. An anthrax outbreak in 2016 in reindeer caused the Russian Armed Forces to evacuate a nomadic reindeer herding tribe.

In May 2012, BioPrepWatch reported that the Russian security service ordered over 100 "capsule cradles", which are devices that people can use to protect infants or even small pets in the event of a nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological threat. According to the article, Soviet military engineers invented the capsules in the 1960s. A company is currently producing the capsules in a factory in Russia.[33]

CBRN Products[edit]

Numbers vary, but news reports and market forecast reports place the market for CRBN products in 2013 and 2014 between $8.7-8.8 billion.[34][35] The market for CBRN products is expected to grow to over $13 billion by the year 2023.[34] CBRN manufacturers include Argon Electronics, Blucher GmbH, Bruker, FLIR Systems, HDT Global, MSA, Research International, and TSI.

  • Argon Electronics makes CBRN detection simulator called RADSIM 44-9-SIM that personnel can use in training exercises.[36]
  • Blucher GmbH produces a two-piece CBRN protective suit called the SCDF CBRN Protective Suit that gives first responders 24-hour protection against environmental threats.[37]
  • Bruker produces ion-mobility spectrometry for military and security personnel that separates, identifies and analyzes ionized molecules present in gas.[38]
  • FLIR Systems produces several handheld detection equipment devices, each for chemical, radiation, biological and explosives detection.[39]
  • HDT Global produces an air filtration system called ColPro Filtration that government forces can install in buildings, ships and vehicles to remove CBRN threats from the air.[40]
  • MSA produces the Safe Escape CBRN Respirator, a hood that filters CBRN particles for use by personnel responding to a terrorist incident.[41]
  • Research International creates a sensor system, called the ASAP V For Critical Infrastructure Protection, for subways and other public areas that uses multi-sensor surveillance technology that detects the presence of CBRN particles.[42]
  • CBRNE Tech Index sells top manufacturer CBRN products. CBRNE Tech Index is powered by MRIGlobal. .[43]
  • TSI makes technology called Bioaerosol Triggers that collect CBRN environmental samples for to identify and confirm threats.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE CBRN DEFENCE MARKET 2011-2021". visiongain. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "CBRNe hosted buyer - IB Consultancy". ib-consultancy.eu. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  3. ^ GUIDON staff (6 March 2014). "Army CBRN School, Chemical Corps bids farewell to 27th Chief of Chemical". army.mil. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Gate apresenta tecnologias e equipamentos para enfrentar ameaças terroristas em treinamento". Agência Minas Gerais. 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  5. ^ a b Comunello, Patrícia (2015-01-30). "Forças Armadas se preparam para combater ataques biológicos, químicos e nucleares durante os Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016". Defesa Aérea & Naval. Revista Diálogo. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  6. ^ "Cia DQBRN". COPESP. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  7. ^ "Exército faz treino contra ataque químico no Itaquerão". BOL Fotos. 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  8. ^ "Marinha do Brasil inaugura Centro de Defesa Nuclear Biológica Química e Radiológica". Ministério da Defesa. 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  9. ^ "Nossa missão é lidar com o inesperado, afirma tenente da Marinha". Portal Brasil. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-07-20. 
  10. ^ "Brasil terá laboratório móvel para detectar ameaças químicas e biológicas". Portal Brasil. 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  11. ^ Padilha, Luiz (2015-05-19). "Entrevista com o AE Leal Ferreira - "Forças Distritais"" [Interview with AE Leal Ferreira - "Districtal Forces"]. Defesa Aérea & Naval. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  12. ^ Lopes, Roberto (2015-11-26). "DOSSIÊ Impacto do Ajuste Fiscal no CFN: Fuzileiros levarão 15 anos (ou mais) para ativar batalhões nas fronteiras com o Paraguai e a Colômbia" [DOSSIER Impact of the Fiscal Adjustment at the BMC: Marines will take 15 years (or more) to active battalions at the border with Paraguay and Colombia]. Plano Brasil (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2016-09-11. 
  13. ^ Vasconcellos, Iris (2016-04-15). "FAB realiza certificação de equipamentos e trajes utilizados em ameaças DQBRN". DefesaNet. Retrieved 2016-07-20. 
  14. ^ Calgary Health Region CBRN Training
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ a b c Rozens, Tracy (2016-07-14). "European counterterrorism legislation calls for protecting victims of CBRN attacks". Homeland Preparedness News. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  17. ^ Hong Kong’s Response to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Attack (PDF), retrieved 2010-04-03 
  18. ^ "CBRNe World "Fighting Dirty"". Spring 2008. 
  19. ^ "SRPG fact sheet" (PDF). 
  20. ^ "India's first NBC recce vehicle launched in Pune". dna. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "CBRNe World Convergence - All Hazards Response 2013, Dublin". 16 April 2013. Department of Defence (Ireland). Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "Training and development in the Reserve Defence Forces". Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Annual Report of An Garda Síochána 2009" (PDF). An Garda Síochána. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Glimpse through the gates of hell". Daily Mail (Ireland). 17 November 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  25. ^ Boyle, Darren. "Gardai get 'dirty bomb' protection". 29 March 2007. The Mirror (UK). Retrieved 4 May 2014. 
  26. ^ Bernama (April 2011). "PNBK 3D capable handling terrorist threats". Penerangan. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  27. ^ Thompson, Leroy (December 2008). "Malaysian Special Forces". Special Weapons. Retrieved 2011-05-11. 
  28. ^ 1st Regiment 'Valencia' Opens the ‘Tap’ to CBRN Defence. Spanish Army. Retrieved 2011-12-01
  29. ^ (Spanish) UMR, CBRN training. Spanish Defense. Retrieved 2011-12-01
  30. ^ UK Resilience - Emergencies - CBRN
  31. ^ http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/n0691-40-now-hospitalised-after-anthrax-outbreak-in-yamal-more-than-half-are-children/
  32. ^ Revich, Boris A.; Podolnaya, Marina A. (2011). "Thawing of permafrost may disturb historic cattle burial grounds in East Siberia". Global Health Action. 4 (0). doi:10.3402/gha.v4i0.8482. ISSN 1654-9880. 
  33. ^ Purlain, Ted (29 May 2013). "Russian security service orders VIP CBRN-proof baby cradles". BioPrepWatch. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  34. ^ a b Sievers, Lisa (3 March 2014). "SDI predicts CBRN market will surpass $13.69 billion by 2023". BioPrepWatch. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  35. ^ "CBRN Defence Market Forecast 2014-2024". visiongain. London, U.K. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  36. ^ Cohen, Bryan (11 March 2014). "Argon launches new CBRN detection simulator". BioPrepWatch. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "SCDF CBRN PROTECTIVE SUIT". Blucher. Erkrath, Germany. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Ion Mobility Spectrometry". Bruker Corporation. Billerica, Massachusetts. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  39. ^ "FLIR Detection & Protection". FLIR Systems. Wilsonville, Oregon. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  40. ^ "CBRN/ColPro Filtration". HDT Global. Solon, Ohio. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  41. ^ "Safe Escape CBRN Respirator". MSA United States. Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  42. ^ "CBRN Products". Research International, Inc. Monroe, Washington. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  43. ^ "CBRNE Tech Index". CBRNE Tech Index. Kansas City, MO. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  44. ^ "Safety and Homeland Security (CBRN Defense)". TSI. Shoreview, Minnesota. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 


  • Eldridge, John, ed. (2006). Jane's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense 2006–2007 (19th ed.). Coulsdon, Surrey, UK; Alexandria, Va.: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2763-7. 
  • Hart, Benjamin C.; Garrett, John (2007). Historical Dictionary of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5484-0.  Includes bibliographical essay. Review

External links[edit]