Soldiers participate in WMD elimination training at Fort Irwin

Soldiers with the 20th CBRNE Command recently participated in a weapons of mass destruction elimination exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

The CBRNE Battalion task force, which operates out of the Maryland-based Aberdeen Proving Ground, was challenged with integrating into a maneuver force and brigade combat team. The CBRNE team worked with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division during the exercise, which simulated engaging with opposition forces that deployed mustard gas.

"This is the first time there's ever been a CBRNE Battalion task force included as part of a training rotation," Maj. Bradley Stremlau, a soldier with the 20th CBRNE Command, said.

After the 3-2 Stryker BCT secured an objective area and facilities suspected of housing chemical weapons, the CBRNE team moved into assess, characterize and exploit the site.

"There were several objectives, but basically we're charged with systematically locating, characterizing, and securing or destroying WMD programs, networks and related capabilities," Stremlau said. "There are four phases of WMD elimination. Isolation, exploitation, destruction, and monitoring/redirection; but first we have to safely shut down operations at each site, take samples, and mitigate associated hazards."

The NTC is known for its realistic training scenarios and its steep, mountainous terrain. In late January, the NTC introduced the ability to test units on dealing with WMD use and proliferation.

The NTC provides training to approximately 50,000 U.S. and multinational forces annually to ensure combat units are prepared for worldwide contingencies.

The 20th CBRNE Command serves as an operational CBRNE headquarters for the U.S. Army's active component CBRNE capabilities. The CBRNE Command also provides a worldwide deployable headquarters that can act as the core of a joint task force to manage WMD elimination operations.