CBRN forces should work in tandem for great effectiveness, expert says

CBRN reconnaissance forces need to continue to merge together and compliment one another, Dr. Alexander Grabowski said in a recent interview with CBRNEworld.com.

“This means CBRN reconnaissance and decontamination are always on the same level,” Grabowski, decontamination director at Wehrwissenschaftliches Institut für Schutztechnologien, told CBRNEworld.com. “Defense and procurement agencies simply have to do whatever it takes to keep the relevant technologies up to date in accordance with the conceptual requirements and doctrine to allow task accomplishment. Since the strategic environment is changing constantly, this is a permanent challenge and a virtually never-ending story.”

Grabowski said that until fairly recently, decontamination was aimed at restoring the operational capability of large units contaminated in a high intensity conflict. Today, Grabowski said, defense forces face new challenges in opponents who compensate for their conventional inferiority by using unconventional tactics. Such groups take advantage of the permanent availability of weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, on the world market.

"This explains why the CBRN defense component of a military force faces a wide spectrum of scenarios ranging from crisis prevention to peacekeeping to peace enforcement,” Grabowski told CBRNEworld.com. “The mere presence of CBRN hazard potential holds the risk of CBRN incidents occurring. Even if the probability of occurrence is small, the risk has to be classified as high due to the large extent of the damage to be expected.”

As a result, Grabowski said, a graduated system of CBRN defense capabilities in which tasks are carried out at the appropriate echelon is needed.

Downsizing and streamlining decontamination equipment and technology for CBRN forces has become and will continue to be necessary, Grabowski said.

“Due to resulting weight, size and performance parameters, it is impossible to develop a single system which, on the one hand, meets all requirements with regard to the decontamination process or processes but which is, on the other hand, compatible with the typical operational profile of airborne operations,” Grabowski said, CBRNEworld.com reports. “In this context, the challenge is to implement the various required capabilities in individual systems. At the end we will have small, compact units which can be tailored to the operational scenarios of air-mobile forces by adjusting the number and type of systems to the requirements of the specific situation.”