Volume I, Domestic Preparedness Program in the Defense Against Weapons of Mass Destruction


4. DoD Chemical/Biological Warfare Information, Expertise, and Equipment that Could be Adapted to Civilian Applications to Meet Identified Requirements.

4.1 Information and Expertise

DoD and other Federal agencies routinely provide support to first responders at the local, state, and Federal level in the form of expert advice and assistance. A major source of the information comes from a vast knowledge base at CBDCOM and the Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC). The Defense Technical Response Group, part of the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technical Division, is a joint-service manager for explosive ordnance disposal. Finally, the 52nd Ordnance Group can be called upon for OD assistance. Specially trained EOD operators in DoD special mission units are the primary experts to be called upon by the FBI for access and device disablement operations involving weapons of mass destruction.

The current process used to identify and link up first responders and technical expertise is somewhat cumbersome. The initiative of establishing a Helpline and a Hotline focuses on streamlining the process so first responders know how to obtain information in both non-emergency and emergency situations.

4.2 Equipment

An annual report to Congress entitled "Department of Defense Nuclear/ Biological/Chemical (NBC) Warfare Defense" submitted as required by Section 1703 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 documents quantities, characteristics, and capabilities of fielded chemical and biological defense equipment which would be used in an NBC combat scenario. Although DoD does have a program for loaning equipment to civilian agencies, personal protective equipment such as the mask or protective suit, if adapted for civilian use, would require National Institute For Occupational Safety and Health or National Fire Protection Association approval.

Equipment currently used by chemical depot workers is listed in Department of the Army Pam 385-61, Toxic Chemical Agent Safety Standards. However, commercial protective equipment alternatives have been tested and are currently in use at many locations. A program will begin in 4th Quarter of FY 97 to evaluate and test additional commercial protective equipment in a chemical agent environment in order to provide a much larger database on commercially available equipment. The test results will be available for use by the local, state, and Federal agencies as they go through the decision-making process in selecting various items of protective equipment for their use.

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