About 150 attendees and trainers from across the nation met for an introduction to response operations at the DoD Defense CBRN Response Force (DCRF) Mission Year 2019 Mobile Training Team (MTT) training held Nov. 27-29 here. This linked with the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) Leadership Development Program (LDP) also preparing the DCRF.
The 25-person Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) MTT trainer team helped DCRF forces prepare to assume mission operations in 2019.
“The details in JTF-CS’ specific disaster-response requirements and expectations are very important for us to learn prior to assuming the mission,” said Army Maj. Todd Bradford, executive officer, 36th Engineering Brigade, Ft. Hood. “It saves time and rapidly creates an understanding between us to allow the DCRF to deploy in an extremely short notice.”
The DCRF’s mission in the event of a catastrophic CBRN incident is to assist local, state, federal and tribal partners in saving lives, preventing further injury, and providing critical support to enable community recovery when conducting Defense Support of Civil Authorities response operations.
“I envision a response environment unlike anything we have seen before,” said Army Maj. Gen. Bill Hall, JTF-CS commander, who gave opening remarks and provided insight throughout the training. “There will be a lack of clarity, or fog, after an incident and our decision-making cycles will require hours and days instead of days and weeks.”
Hall added that in regards to the inevitability of a CBRN strike, he is an “if” person, but still must prepare the team for “when” and likened JTF-CS to a CBRN national insurance policy.
JTF-CS, located at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Newport News, Va., anticipates, plans, and prepares for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) response operations and provides command and control for those designated DoD specialized response forces.
The 84th Training Command, 2nd Brigade, Atlantic Training Division supported Hall’s point about condensed decision making with a block of instruction titled “The Rapid Decision Making and Synchronization Process.” The content compared and contrasted the traditional, methodical, and analytical decision making with a rapid intuitive process.
“The latter would be called upon especially during a catastrophe to produce timely and acceptable solutions to mission challenges,” according to Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey Dulgarian, with the 84th training division, which is based at Newport Naval Station, R.I.
The 84th was there to lead their training for the upcoming 2019 mission and better be able to integrate with the DCRF units, he said. Army Maj. Gen. Ray Royalty, commander, 84th Training Command, Ft. Knox, Ky., was present to be available for attendees’ questions and lend command guidance.
“This is not your everyday mission,” he said. “The threat is real and this mission is important. Somebody is trying to do something every day,” he said in regards to overall national security.
Another topic during the training that produced steady dialogue was focused on communication requirements and capabilities during a response.
“A challenge is managing expectations when using tactical networks during a crisis response,” said Rick George, chief of the JTF-CS joint communications center. “Users are accustomed to using the speed and throughput of their home station networks. A web page that loads in five seconds at home may take five minutes in a tactical situation.”
During the training, which included small-group break-out sessions, attendees focused on being in harmony with other first responders in the event of a crisis response.
“JTF-CS and the DCRF are integrated into the federal response with other interagency capabilities with a primary goal of achieving unity of effort under the National Response Framework (NRF),” said Hall.
The United States NRF is part of the National Strategy for Homeland Security and is designed to achieve a more comprehensive unified national response to disasters and emergencies.
JTF-CS and the DCRF rely upon the NRF when developing training scenarios to exercise DSCA, according to JTF-CS exercise planners.
“Without these training gatherings we couldn’t develop the relationships at the different levels of command because we are spread out all over the nation at various military installations,” said Lyndon Ramage, FORSCOM DCRF training administrator based at Ft. Bragg, Texas. FORSCOM is the U.S. Army’s largest provider of expeditionary land forces to combatant commanders. The DCRF is comprised of almost 75 percent Army personnel.
Many of the forces represented at the training are attached to the 36th Engineering Brigade, the 1st Calvary Sustainment Brigade, the 1st Air Calvary Brigade, the 1st Medical Brigade and the 48th Chemical Brigade, all based at Ft. Hood. The 716th Military Police Battalion, from Ft. Campbell, Ky., and the Air Force Radiation Assessment Team, from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, also attended among others.
The DCRF forces are aligned in Task Force Aviation, Task Force Operations, Task Force Logistics, Task Force Medical, and supporting forces.
The MTT covered a variety of topics in logistics, legal, medical, personnel movement, collaborative tools, media engagement and the 2-year plan for the DCRF while they are on that mission.
Attendees also received a briefing of the JTF-CS operational phases and their role during each phase of deployment and how they will operate during a catastrophic incident.
“It’s important to understand who is doing what, to who, when, where and why to leverage the life-saving capabilities within the DCRF,” said Army Col. Eric Oh, JTF-CS director of operations. “Collaboration during those operational phases is the cornerstone to success.”
During the final day of the training, the oncoming DCRF commanders conducted crisis analysis of a notional improvised nuclear device in a major metropolitan city, putting the knowledge they just learned into practice.
“Your efforts at this training set the conditions that, if ever we are called upon, will provide the response America requires,” said Hall.