Tuesday, May 22, 2012

S 3188 Introduced – WMD Civil Support Teams

Last week Sen. Gillibrand (D,NY) introduced S 3188, a bill to increase the authorized number of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Civil Support Teams. The bill would increase the current authorized number (23 to 55) of CST to 25 to 57 {§1043(a)(2)}. The current number is based upon a statutory requirement to have at least one CST in each State, territory and the District of Columbia.

There is no indication in the bill of where the two additional teams would be deployed, but I would expect that Sen. Gillibrand intends for at least one to be stationed in the New York City area. It seems like the fact that California has two teams and New York only one may be further aggravating the concern that the ‘largest terrorist target’ in this country does not have its own CST.

According to the National Guard WMD-CST web page the role of the teams are to:

Assess hazards, advise civil authorities, and facilitate military support during emergencies and incidents of suspected weapons of mass destruction or other disasters. Advise civilian responders on appropriate actions through on-site testing and expert consultation, and assist and facilitate the arrival of follow-on state and federal military forces.

I’ve long maintained that these teams may have an important role in responding to terrorist attacks on large chemical facilities or catastrophic accidents at such facilities. It would be nice to hear that such facilities have engaged these National Guard units in the emergency response planning process for such incidents.

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