NBC Defense Operations Fundamentals
1. Purpose. This chapter provides a discussion of NBC defense fundamentals applicable to the theater of operations.
2. Overview. NBC defense operations present many unique challenges to commanders. A clear understanding of the effects of WMD, coupled with the implementation of the principles of NBC defense, can significantly reduce these challenges.
3. Weapons of Mass Destruction and Agents Effects. This section describes the lethality and range of effects of weapons and agents in an NBC environment.
a. Nuclear. Effects of a nuclear detonation are primarily in three areas: thermal radiation, blast, and nuclear radiation. Corollary effects, such as electromagnetic pulse (EMP), can break down electronics system protection, disrupt communications, and have significant psychological impacts on friendly forces.
(2) Blast. Blast, consisting of shock waves, high overpressures, and severe winds can demolish buildings, equipment, and uproot trees. Even though the shock front achieves sufficient strength to devastate most land features, the type of nuclear burst determines the severity of destruction. Blast is not an instantaneous effect. A finite amount of time will elapse between the "flash" and the arrival of the shock wave relative to a person's distance from the point of detonation (ground zero). This time will allow individuals to find some protection, whether it be in a building, vehicle, or dropping to the ground if caught in the open.
(3) Nuclear Radiation. The most widespread and longest lasting weapon effect comes from the emission of radioactive products. These appear in two forms: initial and residual radiation. Initial radiation, which is emitted during the first minute after detonation, produces deadly gamma rays and neutrons. Residual radiation is most prevalent in ground bursts where the detonation heaves up land, buildings, and other materials that are later dispersed as radioactive fallout. In the case of an air burst, residual radioactive emissions are extremely limited.
(4) Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP). If the high currents and voltage signals induced by an EMP event are delivered to unprotected electronic devices, the devices can be permanently damaged or temporarily degraded. Radio communications will be subject to a wide variety of possible disruptions during and after a nuclear exchange. These interruptions may range from minor disruptions lasting just a few minutes to essential communication links being rendered useless. Hardening techniques include: electromagnetic shielding, proper grounding, circumvention circuits to sense an EMP and "turn off" or isolate critical circuits, filtering of broad bandwidth EMP signals, use of voltage and current limiting devices, and proper device selection and design to tolerate EMP surges.
(5) Psychological Effect. In addition to causing massive physical destruction, explosion of a nuclear weapon can cause tremendous psychological effects that can impact on a unit's ability to fight. Immediately after an attack, personnel may show alertness or evidence denial or disbelief. Following weapon detonation, some survivors will remain effective, others will be dazed and stunned, and some will be in a state of panic or acute confusion.
(2) Toxins. Toxins are poisonous substances produced as by- products of microorganisms, plants, and animals. Some toxins can be chemically synthesized, and some can be artificially produced with genetic engineering techniques. Toxins exert their lethal or incapacitating effects by interfering with certain cell and tissue functions. The signs and symptoms of toxin poisoning can be confused with both chemical poisoning and infectious diseases.
(3) Enemy Biological Weapons Employment. Delivery systems for biological warfare agents most commonly generate invisible aerosol clouds with particles or droplets that can remain suspended for extensive periods. The major risk is retention of inhaled particles. To a much lesser extent, particles may adhere to an individual or to clothing. Vectors, which are organisms (e.g., insects) that transmit pathogens, may be involved in the spread of a disease. The effective area covered varies with many factors, including wind speed, humidity, and sunlight. In the absence of direct evidence of an attack, the first clue would be mass casualties fitting a clinical pattern compatible with one of the biological agents; however, diagnosis may be difficult because of the possible use of multiple pathogens. Toxins, although nonliving, affect the body in a manner similar to CW agents. However, toxins are generally much more potent. Mucous membranes, including the eyes, are also vulnerable to many biological warfare agents. Potential targets of biological agents include the following:
(b) Troop assembly areas.
(c) Ports of debarkation or supply points, airfields, and industrial centers prior to the outbreak of hostilities.
(d) Naval operations near land.
(e) Forward combat areas and logistical areas.
(f) Any area that presents a likely target for a terrorist or insurgent group.
(b) Defend avenues of approach.
(c) Neutralize personnel.
(d) Protect flanks.
(e) Degrade unit efficiency.
(f) Restrict the use of terrain and facilities.
(b) Produce immediate casualties on targeted population before an assault by an initiator.
(c) Degrade and suppress enemy forces by forcing them into a higher MOPP level.
(d) Allow occupation with minimum decontamination
a. Operational Stress. Physical and mental demands of military operations can have profound effects on the performance of individual Service members and units. This is particularly true when the stress of combat is intensified by heat, continuous operations, and NBC protective clothing worn as part of a unit's MOPP.
b. Principles of NBC Defense. NBC defense for the theater requires cognizance of the principles of NBC defense--avoidance, protection, and decontamination--coupled with a proactive theater- level program of intelligence, psychological operations, deception, and obscuration. Theater-level intelligence assets gather information on the state of the AOR and enemy capabilities and intentions. Psychological operations support deterrent measures and, in the event of the failure of deterrence, enhance reactive measures as a force multiplier. Deception at the theater level supports large-scale maneuvers. Obscuration increases survivability of large-scale operations and port and airfield operations. If the enemy uses NBC weapons, an effective NBC defense program gives our forces an advantage in operational tempo. This advantage causes the enemy to cease NBC warfare or continue the conflict on less favorable terms. Nuclear weapons cause casualties through blast, heat, and radiation effects. Biological and chemical weapons cause serious injury or death and restrict the use of terrain or equipment. NBC weapons also degrade force effectiveness by causing military personnel to don cumbersome protective clothing and equipment. To counter these effects, NBC defense adheres to the three principles: avoidance, protection, and decontamination.
(b) Active avoidance includes contamination detection, marking, alarms, warning, reporting, and control measures.
(b) Protecting Personnel. Ordinary clothing can provide some protection against the thermal effects of a nuclear detonation, but more sophisticated protection is required against biological and chemical weapons. These measures may include medical prophylaxis (pre-treatments) protective masks or protective ensemble, antidote, or other medical treatments.
2. Biological and Chemical. Other biological and chemical measures include providing individual and collective protection measures or relocation of personnel to toxic-free areas.
(d) Physical Defense Measures. The optimum conditions for the enemy to employ biological aerosols or chemical attacks exist in the late evening or early morning. When threat conditions exist, it is recommended that during the hours of darkness as many personnel as possible remain inside any available fixed or improvised collective protection systems (CPS) or wear their protective masks.
2. In the case of personnel who may have been exposed to a biological aerosol while outside the facility, a potential hazard will only be created by particles deposited on the outer layers of their clothing (and possibly their hands, head, and hair if these were not covered). If possible, they should remove their outer clothing and wash their hands, face, and hair.
3. Use of Individual Protective Equipment. The mask is the most effective protection against biological and chemical agents. Wearing a respirator provides virtually complete protection against a biological aerosol attack. Effective respirator filters will remove any biological aerosol particles that are present in the air and will protect against all known weaponized chemical agents.
4. Use of Improvised Refuges. The term "improvised refuge" is used to describe systems that offer only limited protection and can be created even when a supply of filtered air is not available. The simplest form of improvised refuge is a room or space with the doors and windows that can be closed off.
b. Further protection can be achieved if doors, windows, and other openings can be sealed, but this may seriously reduce the habitability of the space.
a. Operations Tempo. The operations tempo may be profoundly affected by the introduction of NBC weapons. Some of the sustainment considerations that should be reviewed by the combatant commander are outlined in Chapter IV.
b. Reconstitution. The component commanders' capabilities for force generation may be severely hampered with introduction of NBC weapons because of the disruption of normal personnel and materiel replacement processes in theater. In addition, the scale of the requirement for reconstitution may be dramatically increased, especially in a biological or nuclear environment. The number of anticipated casualties, even if afforded some protection, would severely tax reorganization and reconstitution systems.
c. Military Performance in Chemical Protective Clothing and Equipment. The use of protective equipment will cause serious degradation of friendly forces' capabilities to perform their mission. The wearing of chemical protective clothing and equipment will increase the risk of heat stress. Commanders must consider adequate water intake, fatigue, and heat acclimatization.
(2) All Service members can expect deficits in performance because of the awkwardness of chemical protective clothing and equipment. Several factors may increase the probability that individuals will experience heat or combat stress while in MOPP. Inexperienced individuals unfamiliar with MOPP or those who are new to the unit are more likely to be affected. Service members who work shifts of indefinite length (who do not know when they will get relief from MOPP) are also more susceptible. Commanders are encouraged to stress training involving visual tasks, especially weapons use, manual dexterity tasks and communication tasks, while in MOPP because certain jobs are more likely to be affected than others (e.g., tasks that require clear vision; precise hearing; fine motor skills; social and emotional support; or communication by facial expression, gestures, and inflections in voice). Service members who have trained often and realistically in MOPP should be able to compensate for the constraints it places on communication, vision, and movement.