CHAPTER III

Theater NBC Defense Considerations


1. Purpose. This chapter provides considerations for the planning and conduct of joint NBC defense operations at the theater level.

2. Overview. NBC defense operations may be required throughout the full range of military operations. Because of the complexity and potential adverse impact of NBC warfare on US and allied theater operations, it is imperative that all facets of NBC defense be considered in formulating courses of action (COA). This chapter outlines the theater strategic and operational considerations.

3. Theater Strategic Considerations

a. The Full Range of Military Operations. The strategic environment within each theater consists of a variety of conditions--political, economic, social, ideological, psychological, military--and a range of NBC threats that may elicit a response from across a range of military operations to respond to those conditions and threats. The following discussion is intended to assist commanders in defining needs, devising strategies, and projecting resources when planning for the conduct of NBC defense operations. A detailed description of the states of the full range of military operations can be found in Joint Pub 3-0.

b. Theater Strategy. At the theater operational level of war, NBC defense encompasses those actions performed by combatant commanders and their subordinate commanders to provide protection for forces and the means to enable these forces to accomplish the strategic objectives of the combatant commander. The key considerations reviewed by the combatant commander in the NBC defense context include an assessment of the NBC threat in theater, an assessment of theater NBC readiness posture, an assessment of the risk associated with operating in an NBC environment, and NBC impact on contingency planning and force requirements.

c. Theater Strategic Protection. Combatant commanders determine wartime missions based on the in-theater threat and the environment and direction from higher authority. Mission analysis helps to identify specified tasks and determine implied tasks. Theater strategy is based on the combatant commander's intent, which is derived from the mission, intelligence evaluation, and characteristics of the theater. The potential for NBC warfare in the theater influences the theater protection posture.

d. Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES). The Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES) provides the rationale for the initiation of joint operation planning as described in Joint Publication 5-03.1, "Joint Operation Planning and Execution System, Volume I (Planning Policies and Procedures)" and Joint Publication 5-03.2, "Joint Operation Planning and Execution System," Volume II (Planning and Execution Formats and Guidance)." The Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) provides guidance to the combatant commanders, other members of the Joint Staff, and directors of Defense agencies to accomplish assigned strategic tasks. It is the initiating document for deliberate joint operation planning. A key part of the planning process is the assessment of threat NBC capabilities and intentions. If this assessment indicates an NBC potential, an operation plan or operation order would address measures necessary to counter the use of such weapons and provide broad guidance regarding NBC defense posture for the joint forces. The crisis action planning system requires a flexible adaptation of the basic planning process. Previously established contingency plans are used whenever possible, with appropriate modifications to the courses of action. The method by which the basic planning system is modified for crisis action planning is described in Joint Pub 5-03.1, "Joint Operation Planning and Execution System," Volume I, Chapter V.

e. Force Requirements. Force development remains a Service responsibility; however, the complex nature of NBC defense warrants special interest by the combatant commander and the staffs. The COA developed under JOPES, the campaign plan, or supporting operation plans will provide guidance to the Services and USSOCOM to ensure inclusion of units like biological use verification labs or teams, NBC decontamination and reconnaissance units, as well as multispectral smoke capability.

f. Risk Assessment. Risk assessment is a very integral and pivotal role for the combatant commander. Such an assessment in an NBC context is the deliberate process of calculating the possible loss of manpower and materiel to an anticipated NBC threat. It is a subjective measurement, usually expressed in a percentage, but qualified. For instance, the assumption could be added that, "We can expect 50 percent casualties to unprotected personnel in the event of persistent chemical attack." In the case of friendly nuclear targeting or attack, the risk to friendly personnel is expressed in adjectival ratings and is included in the NBC messages. See the Joint Uniform Message System outlined in Joint Pub 6-04.10, "Description of US Message Text Formatting Program."

g. Operational Planning Guidance. Responsibilities for NBC planning are shown in Annex B to Appendix A Considerations for operational planning guidance are included in Annex C of Appendix A sample NBC appendix to an OPLAN is shown at Annex D of Appendix A

h. Operational Readiness Considerations. Operational readiness describes the capability of a unit, weapon system, or equipment to perform the mission or function for which it is organized or designed. The term may be used in a general sense or to express a level or degree of readiness. To maintain NBC defense operational readiness in support of joint operations, combatant commanders should, at a minimum, accomplish the following:

4. Riot Control Agents (RCA) and Herbicides. Annex F (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense; Riot Control Agents; and Herbicides) to the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) provides guidance for the use of riot control agents and herbicides. The following is an extract from the JSCP.

a. Use in Wartime

b. Use in Peacetime

c. Authority

5. Theater Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I). Command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence are an integral part of all aspects of NBC defense. An unbroken chain of communications must extend from the National Command Authority through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, combatant commanders, commanders of Service and functional components, and all subordinate commanders. This is especially critical in a theater where the threat of NBC warfare exists.

a. Command and Control. Command in this instance generally means the commander's vested authority. When coupled with control as in C2, the expression expands to mean the process commanders use to plan, direct, coordinate, and control forces to ensure mission accomplishment. These terms hold special significance in an NBC environment because the process of commanding and controlling becomes more complicated and critical in an NBC environment.

b. Communications. Communications encompass the systems that support the command and control process. These systems take on a special significance under NBC warfare because of the inherent complexity of such warfare and the direct vulnerability of the communications systems. For instance, the basic ability for voice communications is hampered by MOPP because of difficulty in talking through a protective mask. Similarly, EMP directly impacts radio transmissions and sometimes even renders radios useless. This could occur at the very time when radio transmissions take on a new importance because NBC activity precipitates a need for additional reports. Full use should be made of digital data link message standards to facilitate warning. Communications also encompass the array of warning systems necessary in theater to provide adequate notice to the forces of an NBC attack imminent or in process. Reports are as outlined in Joint Pubs 6-04.21, 6-04.22, and 6-04.23, "US Message Text Formatting Program." The level of authority for approval of use of RCAs and herbicides also drives the architecture of communications in theater.

c. Computers. The speed and complexity of the modern battlefield, especially with NBC weapons present, make computers imperative in executing C2. Consideration must be given to protecting computers from the effects of WMD use.

d. Intelligence. To protect the forces, and specifically NBC forces and assets, commanders at all levels must ensure that all sources of intelligence (signals intelligence [SIGINT], imagery intelligence [IMINT], human intelligence HUMINT, measurement and signature intelligence [MASINT], open source intelligence [OSINT], technical intelligence [TECHINT], and counterintelligence [CI]) are considered and fully involved in the determination of the enemy's intentions, capabilities, and vulnerabilities. Additionally, the JFC J2 staff section should assist commanders in the development of unit- essential elements of information (EEI). A key aspect to the timely dissemination of intelligence is the availability of a dedicated communications system. Only with the access to real- time, all source intelligence disciplines can a commander adequately defend his personnel and equipment. (For further details, see Joint Pubs 2-0, 2-01, and 2-01.2.)

6. NBC Defense Force Assets. NBC defense force considerations or force developments remain a Service and USCINCSOC responsibility. Combatant commanders remain aware of the salient factors that pertain to NBC force requirements and USSOCOM or Service components' responses to their requirements through JOPES. The need for the combatant commander to take special cognizance in a potential NBC environment is because of the limited quantities of NBC specialties available through sourcing in the time-phased force and deployment data (TPFDD). The criticality of these types of specialties, for instance, was apparent in identifying laboratory specialist units for biological verification teams in Operation DESERT STORM.

a. NBC Reconnaissance. NBC reconnaissance assets might become critical in-theater because of the "near-real-time" need for NBC intelligence to protect the forces properly. In addition to conventional tactical NBC reconnaissance elements, special operations forces (SOF) have chemical reconnaissance detachments (CRD) that are uniquely equipped and trained to infiltrate deep into enemy rear areas to confirm or deny the enemy's NBC capability before it is employed. JFCs should work to streamline NBC reconnaissance tasking and reporting to ensure timely dissemination of NBC intelligence.

b. Decontamination. Depending on the level of use of NBC weapons in a theater, there may be a need for a surge capability for decontamination units. Current forces are configured to cope with only sporadic use of NBC weapons.

c. Battle Management. Combatant commanders successfully execute the campaign plan under NBC conditions through battle management at the operational level. Battle management for component commanders is equally important for combat, combat support (CS), and combat service support (CSS) units of all Services. It encompasses not only the NBC related actions but also all other actions that permit continuation of theater operations.

7. Alliance and Coalition Forces Considerations. In most scenarios, the combatant commander will be working with alliance and coalition forces in the prosecution of a conflict or a contingency. As such, it is imperative that full consideration be given to allied concerns. One of the most important concerns is development and implementation of an effective NBC warning system. This system must transcend communications interoperability and language barriers in near real time. In many instances, this requirement will necessitate transfer of equipment and exchange of liaison personnel.

8. Protection of US Civilian Personnel in Theater. The combatant commander, or JFC, has the intrinsic responsibility to provide protection to US civilians in the AOR, consistent with capabilities and operational mission. The responsibilities in this area are normally discharged by the Service component sponsoring the civilians in theater. These responsibilities may include, but not be limited to, the issuance of protective equipment, medical prophylaxis training on this equipment, instructions regarding movement, and procedures in the event of attack.

a. Issue of Protective Equipment. Protective equipment will be made available to US civilians consistent with supply availability and their risk of exposure. In the event of shortages of masks or protective overgarments, limitations may have to be made on movement. Sufficient quantities of the necessary protective equipment should be obtained as the theater matures.

b. Training. Civilian personnel need to be adequately trained on the proper use of protective equipment. Normally this training would only include measures necessary for individual protection.

c. Instructions. Operating procedures and orders should include instructions regarding the expected actions by US civilians. This may include protective equipment to be worn or carried, restrictions on locations that cannot be visited, or protected areas in which they are required to remain.

d. Noncombatant Evacuation(NEO). NEO plans should be developed and exercised regularly. NEOs are conducted under the overall direction of the Department of State which will outline which categories of civilian personnel are to be included. For instance, in the event of a high probability of hostilities, family members may be evacuated but necessary technical personnel and members of the media may remain.

9. Protection of Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW). US forces must safeguard enemy prisoners of war or civilian internees (EPW/CI) from attacks to include NBC. This will place additional requirements in training, liaison, decontamination, and logistical support on US forces. EPW may not have adequate protective equipment and must be issued and trained in the use of US equipment. NBC defense equipment in possession of EPW may not be compatible with US filters and other associated replacement parts.


07-10-1996; 10:06:19