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


 

Statement By

Brigadier General Roger Schultz,

Deputy Director of Military Support,
Department of Defense

Before the

United States House of Representatives
Committee on National Security
Military Research and Development Subcommittee

March 21, 1998

Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee. Throughout my military career as a National Guard Officer, and in my current position as the Deputy Director of Military Support, it has been my privilege to work with and support the first responder community. I thank you for the opportunity to be here in Indianapolis today to discuss the Department of Defense initiatives towards preparing this nation to respond to an attack using Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Secretary Cohen's comments to the National Press Club this week underscore the Department of Defense's commitment to improving our nation's ability to respond to nuclear, biological, or chemical attacks and our commitment to support local, state, and federal emergency response personnel and agencies in their efforts to deal with the overwhelming impact of such an attack.

MG Friel addressed one aspect of DoD efforts to enhance domestic preparedness. I will address an integral component of DoD's overall program _ enhancing the DoD consequence response capability.

In November, a team of experts began preparing a plan to integrate the significant capabilities of the Reserve Components, including the National Guard, into the military support for a catastrophic attack. This plan is based on the interagency strategic planning and the evolving plans for response to nuclear, biological and chemical attacks, and on recently completed Department of Defense studies addressing transnational threats of terrorism and concepts of homeland defense.

The plan identifies the specific functions the military may be asked to perform following an attack or incident, identifies the specific elements required to perform those functions, and lays out the steps necessary to identify, train, and equip those units.

A jointly-staffed program integration office, being established now, will implement this plan. As with other Military Support to Civil Authority efforts, it reports to the Secretary of Defense through the Department of Defense Director of Military Support and the Secretary of the Army.

In implementing the plan, the Army will task, train, and equip Reserve Component units, preparing them to perform the tasks that local, state, and federal authorities may request. The program integration office will develop the organization of each element as well as the training and equipment necessary for that element.

Our efforts will also work to ensure the many significant WMD response efforts underway within the Department are coordinated and the military support is fully integrated with local, state, and federal response plans and teams.

If local responders are overwhelmed by any disaster, they request additional support from mutual aid providers, neighboring communities and the state. If the state, including its National Guard, does not have sufficient assets to meet the needs, the Governor may request federal assistance. The President directs the federal response to disasters, both natural and man-made. For most disasters, the "all hazards" Federal Response Plan, guides the cooperative process that orchestrates the actions of 29 federal agencies.

When local or state authorities request federal help, FEMA, the lead federal agency for consequence management, requests military support through the Secretary of Defense or the on-scene Defense Coordinating Officer. Military elements capable of providing the necessary response are then sent to the area to work with other local, state, and federal response personnel.

For a response to a weapon of mass destruction incident, the Department of Defense would likely establish a response task force to control the responding federal military elements. This task force would perform assignments from the local and state officials when other federal agencies ask for our help.

The Response Task Force Commanders, Defense Coordinating Officers, and Reserve Component Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers from all services, which are assigned in every state and region, are identified and trained to work in this interagency process.

The task force commander forms the organization as requests for assistance are received from the lead federal agency. Today, that task force commander only has a limited number of specially focused technical response assets to call on_and their capacity for large or multiple events is not sufficient. These elements, including the Army's Technical Escort Unit, the Navy's Medical Research Institute Lab, and the Marine Corps' Chemical Biological Incident Response Force, serve as the models and prototypes for the functions, training, and equipment required to respond to a nuclear, biological, or chemical incident.

All of the proposed elements are based on the planning and integrated local, state, and federal exercises conducted prior to the Centennial Olympics Games in Atlanta, and refined in other special events throughout the country during the past two years. All are designed to supplement other local, state, and federal teams.

This program will dramatically increase the elements that are prepared to respond on a moment's notice. These elements will range in size from small teams of 5 or 6 people to larger elements of 50 or 60 personnel. During the first year of the program, we will establish three types of elements: 10 Assessment elements, 65 Decontamination elements, and 27 Reconnaissance elements, and begin training some of the medical personnel.

The rapid assessment elements will form the tip of the military response to WMD attacks. They will augment local responders by helping them assess the situation, provide advice, and facilitate requests for additional state or federal response assets. Twenty-two full-time National Guard soldiers and airmen, commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, will undergo intense technical training for about a year. Specific courses for each position have been identified.

The reconnaissance team will survey the area to determine the nature and extent of the contamination. They will be equipped with very capable detection and analysis equipment, as well as computer models for various types of attacks.

The physician, nurse, and environmental scientist will provide a medical assessment and advice to response personnel. The security liaisons will coordinate with law enforcement officials and the air liaison will coordinate movement of the team as well as logistics support. The logistics and communications teams will provide support to the team and coordinate with other response elements.

As a National Guard element, it may be employed by the Governor or be federalized and deployed to respond with other federal assets. The location of the initial state rapid assessment elements has not been determined yet, but will be based on a number of factors, including the existing capabilities of the states, demographics of the response area, airlift support, and interstate compacts.

The structure, training courses and equipment for the decontamination and reconnaissance elements are described in the plan. These, and the subsequent elements, are created by focusing existing units on consequence management mission tasks, providing specific training, and delivering supplemental equipment to enhance their current capabilities. This capitalizes on the current structure and leverages their current training. Using National Guard and reserve elements already stationed throughout the United States also improves the response time to incident sites. The National Guard elements may be employed as state assets or as federal assets under the Response Task Force.

In addition to tasking, training, and equipping response elements, the program will:

improve the information flow between military response elements;

document the specific functions, positions, and procedures for each element;

develop distance learning capabilities that will allow us to train and sustain these elements;

refine the planning and training for subsequent elements;

Integrate training of Defense Coordinating Officers, Response Task Force Commanders and their staffs, and Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers through exercises; and

document the location and capabilities of these elements in the DOD Resources Data Base

In conclusion, our military personnel need to be trained and equipped to operate safely alongside the first responders that they would support in a nuclear, chemical, or biologically contaminated incident. This DoD program organizes, trains, and equips elements formed from within existing force structure. It is designed to assist and support the efforts of first responders and enhance our nation's war fighting ability.