Air Force to hold CBRN training session

The U.S. Air Force’s Center for National Response will hold a major training session, known as the Air Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Challenge, beginning on July 18 in West Virginia.

The four day event will give 10 bioenvironmental and emergency management teams representing nine Air Force major commands and the U.S. Air National Guard the chance to hone their skills in detecting and neutralizing CBRN threats, according to

The Air Force initially held the challenge at the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, but it has since been moved to a 2,800-foot-long tunnel in West Virginia that was once part of a highway system. The tunnel has been outfitted to provide training in everything from counterterrorism to weapons of mass destruction consequence management.

"This installation is able to provide realistic scenarios," Maj. Robert Schmidt Goessling, the cadre lead for the challenge, said, reports. "Most installations are not able to provide realistic scenarios where they're using live agents, live material, to where they get real responses on the equipment."

In one expected scenario, team members will be required to deduce what chemical or biological agents are present in a simulated attack on Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. The smallest details are to be recreated, including broken furniture, discarded beverage containers and wrecked vehicles.

"We try to come up with all of these questions (the participants) would ask," Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Yang, a cadre member at the challenge, said, reports. "For instance, what is the weather? What was the suspicious activity? We even have the name of the suspect and background information and him."