1998 Congressional Hearings
Special Weapons
Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and Missile


 

THE CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY
OF

MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE FRIEL

COMMANDER, UNITED STATES ARMY
CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE COMMAND

FOR A HEARING ON

"FEDERAL RESPONSE TO DOMESTIC TERRORISM INVOLVING WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION STATUS OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SUPPORT PROGRAM"

TO BE GIVEN BEFORE
THE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE
ON
MILITARY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

21 March 1998

Mr. Chairman, I am Major General George Friel, commander of the Chemical and Biological Defense Command. My purpose in testifying here today is to describe the Army's overall efforts in executing the Domestic Preparedness program and the future direction of the program.

Under Public Law 104-201, the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici (NLD) legislation, Domestic Preparedness program formed a training initiative the purpose of which is to enhance the capability of federal, state, and local emergency responders in incidents involving nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism. This coordinated interagency training initiative is led by the Department of Defense with the Department of the Army as the Executive Agent and includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Public Health Service, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others as partners. The Domestic Preparedness program will cover one hundred and twenty cities during fiscal year 1997 through fiscal year 2001.

The Domestic Preparedness program consists of first responder training and expert assistance (section 1412 of the NLD legislation); chemical and biological emergency response program (section 1413); and exercises and preparedness testing (section 1415).

The initial step in the development of the training for the first responders was to identify a set of performance objectives. To achieve this end, a subgroup was chartered and tasked by the Senior Interagency Coordination Group (SICG). This subgroup was chaired by a DoD representative, specifically the Chemical and Biological Defense Command's (CBDCOM) Program Director for Domestic Preparedness, and consisted of representatives from Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and Public Health Service, and others. A set of performance objectives at the macro-level were developed by CBDCOM, in conjunction with other federal, state and local partners, by reviewing 29 CFR 1910.120, Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) (OSHA); NFPA 472, Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials Incidents, and NFPA 473, Standard for Competencies for EMS Personnel Responding to Hazardous Materials Incidents, and the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCHAO). This subgroup reached agreement on the performance objectives at the macro level.

The macro-level performance objectives were then reviewed, commented on, and supplemented by various federal, state and local emergency responders, their professional associations and various training agencies via four focus group meetings hosted by CBDCOM to produce the micro-level performance objectives. The four focus groups consisted of nearly 100 individuals in the following categories: 1) Firefighter, HazMat, and Incident Command, 2) Law Enforcement, 3) Emergency Medical, and 4) 911 Operators/Dispatchers. From these focus groups, twenty-six performance objectives were established and the training program was initiated.

The twenty-six performance objectives were organized into four competency levels with three separate levels of training (Basic, Advanced, and Specialized). These four competency levels consisted of: 1) Awareness (Employee/Responder), 2) Operations, 3) Technician/Specialist (non-medical and medical response), and 4) Incident Command. These competencies reflect the levels identified in OSHA's 29 CFR previously mentioned. This ensured the necessary competencies would be consistent from city to city while still permitting the cities the flexibility to determine to which levels they needed to be trained.

The training program utilizes a "Train-the-Trainer" approach designed for city trainers to provide similar instruction to emergency responders in their respective communities. A "Team Teaching" approach is used as the teaching method. This approach, which couples an emergency responder with a subject matter expert, provides the ability to combine the skills and expertise of the nation's nuclear, biological and chemical experts with the skills and expertise of experienced emergency responders.

Train-the-trainer courses are offered in the following areas: Responder Awareness, Responder Operations, Technician-Hazardous Materials, Technician-Emergency Medical Services, Hospital Provider, and Incident Command. In addition, there are two courses targeted directly for the student as opposed to train-the-trainer. These two courses are: 1) Employee Awareness which is a 30 minute video course primarily for those working in or near a potential target area and 2) Senior Officials Workshop which is taught directly to senior-level officials such as the Mayor and his cabinet.

The training is tailored to each city with emphasis placed on those needs as identified by the city. Cities are encouraged to include mutual aid requirements and reciprocal agreements when establishing training needs. In addition, the cities are encouraged to invite their state training representatives. Typically, the training covers a one week period, Monday through Thursday, with Friday of the training week devoted to a tabletop exercise for the benefit of the trainers who have just completed the training. The training is generally offered at multiple locations such as the Fire and Police Training Academies. The purpose of offering training at multiple locations is that it has the potential to convert travel time to meaningful training time. We've listened to the cities and for them, training time is at a premium.

On average, we've been training from 250-300 personnel in each city. A synopsis of each of the courses of instruction follows:

AWARENESS TRAINING

Employee Awareness

The Employee Awareness course is an introductory 30-minute video presentation to acquaint diverse employees at potential terrorist target facilities and 911 operators. The video will be presented in layman terms in both English and Spanish. There is no instructor requirement; however, a facilitator (provided by the facility employer) is recommended to introduce the video. The video will cover the general aspects of nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism; information on recognizing a nuclear; biological or chemical terrorist incident through signs and symptoms; possible dissemination devices and self protection measures. Instructional materials include a facilitator's guide, a pamphlet for the participants and a 911 checklist for future reference.

Responder Awareness

Unlike the Employee Awareness course, the Emergency Responder Awareness course is designed for initial emergency responders of a possible terrorist incident. These responders include firefighters, police officers and emergency medical responders. The goal of this four-hour course is for emergency responders to recognize signs and symptoms of a nuclear, chemical or biological incident, to protect themselves and make proper notification.

This course covers:

Introduction to the NBC Terrorism Threat
Radiological, biological and chemical materials and weapons
Dissemination Devices
Responder Actions

Prior to enrollment in the Responder Awareness course, participants should have a basic understanding of principles and procedures for responding to a hazardous material incident. Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to teach other responders the signs and symptoms of chemical and biological agents and nuclear materials; potential devices used for dissemination; and defensive actions to safeguard themselves and their community.

OSHA Level A protective ensembles for hot zone entry are examined.

OPERATIONS TRAINING

Emergency Responder Operations

The Emergency Responder Operations course is designed specifically for incident response teams in a defensive mode. Responder Awareness is a prerequisite. This four-hour course covers:

Responder Actions at the operations level
Chemical Downwind Hazard Analysis
Personal Protection
Introduction to Detection and Identification
Emergency Decontamination Procedures
Practical Exercise

After completing this course, participants will be able to instruct the technical aspects of nuclear, biological and chemical incidents, and the defensive actions required for responders to protect themselves and their community.

Technician - HAZMAT

The HAZMAT course is a 12-hour stand-alone course specifically designed for current HAZMAT trainers. HAZMAT trainers will learn the difference between responding to nuclear, biological and chemical terrorist incidents compared to a standard HAZMAT event. This course covers:

Responder Actions at the HAZMAT Technician Level
NBC Agents at the HAZMAT Technician Level
Protective Equipment
Decontamination Procedures
Chemical Classification, Detection and Identification
Practical Exercise

Technician _ Emergency Medical Service

This eight-hour course provides instruction to trainers of emergency medical technicians and paramedics on the unique aspects of responding to a terrorist event involving nuclear, biological or chemical materials. This course includes recognizing nuclear, biological and chemical exposure; trends indicating possible events; safe and legal antidote requirements; unique triage of potential mass casualties and emergency medical field treatment demands. Unique considerations for treating children and elderly victims of an NBC terrorist incident are also addressed. The course will consist of lectures, demonstrations and field exercises to include personal protection measures, detection, decontamination and triage.

Hospital Providers

This eight-hour training course is designed for emergency department physicians and nurses. This course will include the same subjects as the EMS course, however, at a more advanced level. Not only will it describe how to properly manage, decontaminate, diagnose and treat victims of a nuclear, biological or chemical incident but how to protect against cross-contamination using personal protective measures. The course will include nuclear, biological and chemical-unique public health guidelines. This course consists of classroom lecture with demonstrations and case studies.

Incident Command Training

This six-hour course provides incident commanders with the necessary information and considerations necessary to effectively command a nuclear, biological or chemical incident. The course consists of four hours of lecture and two hours of a tabletop exercise. Specific topics include coordination of resources; protective measures and associated risks; evacuation versus shelter-in-place considerations; perimeter security measures, management of mass casualties; and applications of the Federal Response Plan. This course covers the following modules:

Challenges and Consequences of Management in an NBC Incident
Tactical Considerations and Actions for nuclear, biological and chemical incidents
Understanding the Roles of the Federal Government in an NBC Terrorist Incident
NBC Terrorism Response and Planning Exercise

Senior Officials Workshop

The workshop is a six-hour course which includes a three-hour lecture and a three-hour exercise for the Mayor and his cabinet. The objective of the workshop is to instruct and inform the senior leadership to:

Employ an integrated planning, training and exercising effort among local agencies, multi-jurisdictions and mutual aid partners for response to a nuclear, biological or chemical terrorist incident.
Recognize probable nuclear, biological and chemical situations and the implications for the community.
Interact with state and federal agencies so operational assets can be assembled, assigned and employed with maximum effectiveness.
Interact with the media to calm public fears and maintain public confidence in local government.

The training is augmented by a training equipment set estimated at $300K per city and which consists of the following areas: 1) personal protective equipment, 2) detection equipment, 3) decontamination equipment, and 4) training aids. The training aids category is that equipment or items which are absolutely essential to permit the conduct of training of the emergency responders in a given city/metro area by the local "trainers". The training aids portion is non-discretionary relative to the city; the remaining areas, i.e., personal protective equipment, detection equipment and decontamination equipment are discretionary to the city/metro area needs and will be tailored in accordance with the training emphasis described by the city/metro area officials.

Complementing the CBDCOM Domestic Preparedness training program is the city exercise program. As mentioned previously, a training exercise normally occurs on Friday following the training which occurred the previous four days. The exercise serves to reinforce the training objectives, to allow the city to coordinate their response to a proposed terrorist attack using a weapon of mass destruction, and to identify areas which need improvement. The exercise immediately following training is a chemical weapon table top exercise developed in close cooperation and coordination with the city. The exercise is tailored to accurately reflect the city's normal response mechanisms through careful review of their Emergency Operating Procedures and subsequent dialogue with city officials. The city selects the chemical agent involved, the location, the civic event and the time of occurrence. The table top exercise normally lasts approximately eight hours and consists of four modules: 1) Warning, 2) Notification, 3) Response, and 4) Recovery and Restoration. One of the most important benefits we have seen is that these exercises have served as a catalyst to stimulate discussions and coordination between the various federal, state and local functional organizations who must respond to these types of events. In addition, a one day functional exercise is scheduled to occur approximately six months after training has been provided to the city. This time period allows the city to provide training to some of the response units who then will participate in the "muddy boots" exercise. In this exercise, the scenario will actually involve dispatch of response units to a hypothetical attack. Again, this exercise allows the city to examine their plans and procedures and identify areas for improvement. In addition, these exercises serve to boost the confidence of the first responders by allowing them to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in safely and effectively responding to a weapon of mass destruction incident. Also, during this time period, a biological table top exercise is planned for the city. A biological attack involves a response that could be fundamentally different from a chemical weapon attack. Again, this exercise will allow the city to test their response plans and procedures.

The second element of Domestic Preparedness exercise program involves an annual exercise with federal, state, and local responders. Last year, our first federal, state, and local (FSL) exercise, Measured Response 98-2, was held at Denver, CO. For that exercise, we deployed federal elements of the federal response from DoD, FEMA, EPA, PHS, FBI, and DOE and others. These elements deployed prior to the Summit of the Eight conference to exercise with the local first responders and remained on-site throughout the conference to conduct hands-on training with the Denver area responder units. The first annual FSL exercise successfully demonstrated the ability to deploy specialized chemical/biological federal assets, their ability to coordinate and execute response activities with local first responders, and most importantly, the ability to interact and interface with the city of Denver's incident commander who utilized federal assets to assist and augment their first responders.

This year, the annual FSL exercise, Keystone 2- 98, will be held in concert with the city of Philadelphia's functional exercise during the period 17-19 September 1998. Rather than deploy assets to this exercise, the concept is to conduct a two-day table top exercise immediately before and after Philadelphia's functional exercise. Keystone 2-98 will focus on command and control issues involving response units that cut across federal, state, and local levels. In addition, this exercise will more closely follow the expected time frame that federal assets would be arriving at Philadelphia in response to a terrorist attack involving a chemical weapon of mass destruction.

The third element of the Domestic Preparedness exercise program is the Improved Response Program focusing on Consequence Management aspects. This program employs a systematic approach to identify improvements in concepts, plans, procedures, and equipment through the utilization of two host cities as test beds. These two cities of New York and Baltimore serve as the biological and chemical test beds, respectively. In addition to the city's responders, participants in this program are drawn from various federal and state agencies including select, highly qualified responders from other communities across the nation. To date, a series of workshops and exercises have been held with Baltimore and the surrounding communities.

Another generic area of responsibility under the CBDCOM Domestic Preparedness Program is that of expert assistance. The expert assistance umbrella covers the following specific initiatives: 1) hotline, 2) helpline, 3) web page, and 4) equipment testing.

The Hotline is operated by the National Response Center in Washington, D.C. This Center is a Coast Guard activity run under the auspices of the EPA and other federal agencies. The hotline is utilized strictly for notification purposes. When alerted to an incident the NRC makes concurrent notifications to the responsible activities immediately. In order to establish the hotline, NRC hardware and software modifications were required to address the chemical and biological requirements and personnel were added to the existing manning requirements. The hotline was activated on 31 December 1997.

The CB Helpline is another tool available for use by emergency responders across the United States. Emergency responders include firemen, law enforcement officials, emergency medical personnel, hazardous material (HAZMAT) experts and emergency management officials who have responsibilities for planning, training, and conducting exercised in domestic preparedness. Other responders such as bomb disposal experts, emergency operators and other state and local personnel who may be involved in a CB incident response are also eligible to call the Helpline.

The CB Helpline offers technical assistance in non-emergency cases to state and local emergency responders. Dedicated operators are trained to listen and respond to questions from the field pertaining to CB preparedness issues, quickly retrieving the most current information relevant to the specific question. A skilled research staff, experienced in CB agents and defense material, provide detailed information on even the most esoteric questions.

With over 80 years of chemical and biological warfare experience, DoD maintains an unparalleled level of expertise, equipment and facilities to support the Helpline. CBDCOM has access to the following types of information that may assist Helpline Staff respond to inquiries from emergency responders:

Detection Equipment

Personal protective equipment

Decontamination Systems and methods

Physical properties of CB agents

Toxicology information

Medical symptoms from exposure to CB agents

Treatment of exposure to CB agents

Hazard prediction models

Federal response assets

Applicable laws and regulations

Replacements for training materials

The Web Page was activated in September 1997. The Web Page is envisioned to eventually be the preeminent means for community information to the Nation's emergency responder community via the internet. The Web Page is linked to the web pages of the other federal agency partners and contains information in the following areas:

General DP information

Protection

Detection and decontamination equipment

Other program related news

DP points of contact

The Web Page will be an area of increased program emphasis in the future.

In addition to the above, CBDCOM is also conducting a Personal Protective Equipment Testing program. Under this testing program various types of commercially available responder equipment is being tested against simulants and nerve agent. CBDCOM will not be endorsing any particular piece of equipment but will rather simply make known the test protocols which were used and the performance data pertinent to each piece tested. The various cities and associated emergency responder communities will determine how best to meet their needs, but will be aided in this endeavor by the performance data generated. This, in essence, will serve as a consumer guide/index for the emergency responder community. This testing program is closely tied to the Improved Response Program under the Exercise portion of the overall program. Of particular note to the firefighter community is the testing which is being done on the turn-out or bunker gear used by the firefighters. This testing will be focused on identifying what type of protection is offered and how that protection factor might be made more effective through some type of field expedient measure.

Test planning was initiated during the 2QFY98 to investigate the risk associated with bunker gear used in a chemical agent environment. Team members met with Montgomery County, MD fire department (MCFD) personnel to ensure test procedures and bunker gear composites were in line with current use protocols. MCFD personnel wearing full bunker gear and self-contained breathing apparatus will be challenged with validated, innocuous simulants, representing agent vapors and aerosols, to acquire protection data. Test data will be used to quantify risks associated with various duration exposures to airborne CB contaminants in concentrations estimated for specified terrorist attack scenarios. Follow-on efforts include incorporating test findings into exercise scenarios to further investigate bunker gear use in events dealing with WMD.

CBDCOM was also responsible for the development and recommendation of a DoD chemical/biological rapid response team organizational structure composed of specialized units working in this area. Working jointly with the U.S. Army Forces Command, CBDCOM developed and proposed a concept of operations which included an organizational structure. This organizational structure employs a command and control headquarters, the Response Task Force, commanded by either the 1st or 5th Army in the continental United States, and a highly specialized Chemical/Biological Rapid Response Team (C/B-RRT). The C/B-RRT provides a centralized and coordinated command and control element for the deployed specialized chemical and biological assets. The commander of the C/B-RRT also serves as the DoD technical point of contact during the incident. The C/B-RRT provides a graduated, tailored response to the incident and utilizes the following existing DoD units, as required: the Army's Technical Escort Unit, Army Materiel Command Treaty Laboratory, Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense, Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases; and the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) (United States Atlantic Command asset) and other service assets that are regionally located; the Marine Corps Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force (United States Atlantic Command asset); and the Navy's Naval Medical Research Institute, Navy Emergency Preventive Medicine Units, and Naval Research Laboratory. DoD's response units will be deployed to advise and assist the local responders at their direction to an incident involving a chemical or biological weapon of mass destruction.

While we believe that the Domestic Preparedness Program has made great strides and been successful in many areas, we feel that there is much that remains to be done. We feel comfortable with the overall guidance and plan which has been established through our interagency partnership and remain committed to "getting it right." We believe that we are on the right track and this has been confirmed in city after city where we have trained. Our after action reviews that we conduct at the conclusion of the training indicate customer satisfaction on the part of those trained and the management officials involved.

We look forward to addressing the continuing challenges the nation faces in domestic preparedness.

DOMESTIC PREPARENESS TRAINING SCHEDULE

4Th Q FY97

1. Philadelphia
2. Boston
3. Detroit
4. Chicago

1st Q FY98

5. NYC
6. Los Angeles
7. San Antonio

2nd Q FY98

8. Washington D.C.
9. Memphis
10. Kansas City
11. San Jose
12. Honolulu
13. Indianapolis
14. Dallas
15. Seattle
16. Miami
17. Baltimore
18. Houston (20 March 1998)

18 Cities trained from program inception through March 20, 1998

2nd Q FY98 (cont)

19. Atlanta
20. San Francisco

3rd Q FY98

21. Portland
22. Jacksonville
23. Phoenix
24. San Diego
25. Columbus
26. Anchorage
27. Denver
28. Milwaukee

4th Qtr FY98

29. City #29
30. City #30
31. City #31
32. City #32
33. City #33
34. City #34
35. City #35

31 Cities to be trained during FY 98