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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats 3 Operations: Specific Findings and Recommendations INTRODUCTION How can the principles elaborated in Chapter 1 be translated into real improvements in the chemical and biological weapons defense posture of U.S. naval forces? This chapter explores the operational dimension and priorities for achieving tangible operational improvements, both near term and far term, regardless of the state of the art of supporting technical capabilities. The discussion, expanded in the remainder of the chapter, focuses on three basic findings and recommendations: Operational requirements. The committee found that the Navy—and in some respects the Marines—have not defined the chemical or biological warfare defense operational requirements for mission success. The committee recommends that this situation be remedied throughout the entire force by defining a comprehensive concept of operations (CONOPS) with supporting policies and practices. This CONOPS should address all dimensions of naval operations that go into sustaining a mission: how to prevent an attack, how to recover from and minimize the impact of an attack, how to restore naval operations after an attack, and, above all, how to achieve mission goals. How U.S. naval forces plan to operate and fight in a chemical or biological warfare environment should then drive naval priorities in doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF), as well as in research and development (R&D) and acquisition.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats Focal point for CONOPS. The Navy appears to lack a focal point for the development of policy, concepts of operations, and doctrine for chemical or biological warfare defense; the Marine Corps appears to place greater emphasis on the problem. The committee recommends that the Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) and the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) be clearly designated as the primary authorities and given the requisite resources for the development of policy, concepts of operations, and doctrine for chemical and biological warfare defense issues. Readiness. Navy readiness for chemical and biological warfare defense needs improvement. Sustained improvements toward remedying these deficiencies require establishing standards for readiness, training and exercising to those standards, and developing a reporting system attuned to this area. Special urgency should be given to bases and shore installations and to the logistics chain. In fact, if the Navy chooses to implement only one recommendation from this report, it should be that of committing to dramatically improve readiness. OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS Operational Finding: A Need to Expand and Clarify Although this committee reviewed a great deal of material about the chemical warfare (CW) and biological warfare (BW) threat and the requirements of CW and BW defense, it found little evidence that the Navy has effectively defined the operational requirements for mission success in the presence of such threats across its full mission space. To be sure, the Navy has thought about the requirements of operating ships at sea in contaminated environments, but in asymmetric strategies, attacks on ships at sea are less likely than are attacks on ships in port and on shore installations and logistics infrastructures. Attacks on ships in the littorals also seem a higher probability than do attacks on ships in deep-ocean waters. The need for concern regarding shore installations and logistics as potential points of CW or BW vulnerability is especially evident in the context of findings of the USS Cole Commission regarding the October 2000 attack on that ship in Yemen.1 In surveying this broader base of naval targets, the Navy’s goal must be an understanding of how to sustain the mission—how to minimize the effects of such attacks if it is unable to prevent them in the first place, how to recover from attacks once they are conducted, how to restore normal operations, and how to achieve mission goals in a post-attack environment. 1 Crouch, GEN William W., USA (Ret.), and ADM Harold W. Gehman, USN (Ret.). 2001. DOD USS Cole Commission Report, Washington, D.C., January 9. Available online at <www.defenselink.mil/pubs/cole20010109.html>.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats Operational Recommendation: Comprehensive CONOPS Define the chemical and biological warfare defense operational requirements for mission success across the entire naval force through a comprehensive concept of operations, with supporting policies and practices. The scope must address all dimensions of naval operations. Ships at sea. These ships make very difficult and thus unlikely targets for attack with biological or chemical weapons, although it is important for the Navy to address potential contingencies as a result of other indirect means. The Navy has some tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for such contingencies, but those reviewed by the committee appear to be outdated, inconsistent, and/or incomplete with respect to the types of consequences that might be expected from an attack of this kind. Ships in the littorals. These ships make far more lucrative targets to asymmetric adversaries seeking to impede force projection operations than do ships at sea. In such situations, chemical weapons in particular may be a threat. Here again, U.S. Navy TTPs and protective equipment allocations reviewed by the committee appear to be holdovers from the Cold War era and do not effectively address current threats. The focus of these TTPs seems to be on the challenges of protecting personnel from the adverse effects of chemical or biological attack without sufficient attention to sustaining and/or restoring combat operations or other missions. Shore installations and bases. The committee believes that shore installations are at risk to a broad spectrum of asymmetric threats. They are both operational and symbolic targets, offering an adversary the opportunity to disrupt power projection operations while also punishing nations which host that presence and tarnishing the image of American power. In general, the committee found in its review no TTPs for shore installations that effectively address these vulnerabilities outside the recent Joint Staff guidance.2 Navy shore installations appear better equipped to deal with chemical attacks than with biological attacks, but their emphasis has been on consequence management from a hazardous material (HAZMAT) perspective more than on field decontamination and collective protection capabilities as needed to sustain and/or restore operations. At present, relevant expertise resides largely in base fire departments and HAZMAT teams. In addition, given the potential that such an attack may cause broad area contamination as well as many casualties (and if biological, may go undetected for days or longer), the committee believes that base commanders should forge strong relationships with local civil authorities in 2 “Chemical Warfare (CW) Agent Exposure Planning Guidance” Joint Staff memorandum MCM0026-02, April 29, 2002, Office of the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, referred to in Chapter 1, provides CW defense planning guidance that covers the spectrum of operating environments.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats charge of emergency response and public health care.3 On the basis of its limited observations, the committee believes that the requisite leadership-level relationships, which must be both formal and informal to be effective, have been established in only a few cases; most working relationships between base and off-base HAZMAT and other first-responders, where they do exist, have not been reinforced by adequate joint exercises. In contrast, the Marine Corps appears markedly better prepared with respect to chemical and biological warfare threats to shore installations and bases, if the committee’s limited exposure accurately reflects the larger picture. In particular, the committee applauds the leadership of the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and its partnership program with Onslow County, North Carolina, designed to improve safety, security, and emergency response. Objectives of the Camp Lejeune–Onslow County partnership include cooperative efforts in the areas of fire and rescue, law enforcement, and hospital and medical services, as well as in other important areas such as common/interoperable communications capabilities and school safety concerns. The committee observed that the Camp Lejeune– Onslow County partnership provides a model that would yield significant benefits if adopted by base commanders throughout the Navy and Marine Corps. Commercial ports. Today’s naval forces are dependent on continuing access to and use of a wide range of commercial capabilities and facilities. Despite this dependence and the attendant vulnerability—and despite the hard lessons learned from the USS Cole attack—the committee found in its review little more than sporadic evidence that the Navy’s TTPs effectively address defense against chemical or biological attack while ships are in port. On a positive note, the fact that the Office of the Secretary of Defense is sponsoring a new advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) focused on the problem of contamination avoidance at seaports of debarkation suggests some level of recognition that the problem needs to be addressed. Logistics. The committee observes that the supply chain provides a delivery mechanism for surreptitious chemical or biological attack. Our nation’s recent experience with anthrax delivered through the U.S. mail system provides a relevant illustration of the disruption and psychological response that such an attack can cause. Food and water supplies offer similar delivery opportunities. Attacks by such means should be considered within the context of an overall risk assessment, since they could significantly degrade operational readiness. In each of the operational dimensions discussed above, it is necessary to have a clear idea of how an adversary might use chemical and/or biological 3 SECNAV Instruction 3300.3A, “Combatting Terrorism Program Standards,” May 16, 2002, Office of the Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C., includes links to the civilian sector. Available online at <http://neds.nebt.daps.mil/directives/3300_3a.pdf>.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats attacks to achieve its objectives, whether operational or political. And it is necessary to have a clear idea of how to restore mission-essential capabilities in the wake of such attacks, while also coping with their consequences and trying to prevent follow-on attacks. As this review of TTPs suggests, the Navy’s current efforts at dealing with these issues address only a small part of the problem. The committee believes that, as a more focused aspect of the operational net assessment recommended in Chapter 2, defining the operational requirements for mission success is essential before the Navy and Marine Corps can take further steps for achieving significant improvements in chemical and biological warfare defense. How U.S. naval forces plan to operate and fight in a chemical or biological warfare environment should then drive naval priorities in doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF), as well as in R&D and acquisition. Joint Publication 3-114 prescribes that U.S. armed forces be prepared to conduct operations in a chemical or biological warfare environment with minimal degradation of warfighting abilities. Units of the Navy, and to some extent the Marine Corps, do not fully comply with this requirement today because they lack an effective warfighting strategy for these environments. Absent a comprehensive strategic concept, it may actually be counterproductive to acquire the various pieces of hardware currently in development by the Joint CBD Program. A comprehensive strategic concept should recognize that the effects on personnel, methods of delivery, and resulting force vulnerabilities would be different for a chemical attack and a biological attack. Modeling, simulation, and force- and unit-level experimentation can help sort out what that operational concept might be, but these are operational rather than technical issues. At the root of Navy and Marine Corps discussions in each of these areas is an operational decision regarding how they plan to fight and win in an environment that has been or may be contaminated by biological or chemical agents. The operational perspective adopted by naval forces will, in large measure, determine how the Navy and Marine Corps address challenges posed by chemical and biological threats. For example, one could assume that biological and chemical weapons pose an overwhelming threat to the effectiveness of naval operations whenever the forces are not on the high seas. Alternatively, one could take the position that chemical and biological weapons create a special environment in which the Navy and Marine Corps will continue to conduct operations in support of national objectives. The former might lead to a focus on detection, avoidance, and retribution. The latter might lead to placing higher priority on consequence management and the ability to sustain operations (as is being recommended 4 Kross, Lt Gen Walter, USAF, Director, Joint Staff. 1995. Joint Doctrine for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Defense, Joint Publication 3-11, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C. Available online at <http://www.oep-ndms.dhhs.gov/CT_Program/Response_Planning/NBC_Defense.pdf>.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats throughout this report). This latter approach might include inquiry into agent fate and effects in a marine environment, decontamination, systems analysis of the effectiveness of various approaches to personnel protection versus acceptance of minimal exposure, and so on. DOCTRINE Operational Finding: No Focal Point To conduct an operational net assessment of the type discussed in Chapter 2—that is, wide-ranging, integrated, tactical, and strategic—requires that the Navy have designated primary authorities and the requisite resources, that is, a focal point. This committee did not find one in the information provided to it. The NNWDC believes that aspects of support could fit within its scope of responsibility, but is not sure that others would agree. The Office of the Chief of Naval Operation’s (OPNAV’s) recently created Office of Counterproliferation (N70CP) appears to be focused primarily on the Joint CBD Program for technology development and acquisition rather than on operational issues, and the staff from the new office who interacted with the committee had little subject matter expertise in this area. No emphasis on systems analysis was evident from these interactions, possibly due to the lack of staff expertise but more likely due to the absence of tasking. Yet such analysis, underpinned by modeling and simulation, is essential to inform the development of operational procedures, given the diverse spectrum of potential threats and the equally diverse possible consequences. Operational Recommendation: Roles for NWDC and MCCDC The Navy should recognize and strengthen the Navy Warfare Development Command in its role of developing and promulgating a concept of operations and the supporting policies describing how naval forces will execute their warfighting and base support missions in an environment that has been or may be contaminated with chemical or biological agents. The Marine Corps should build on the work already under way at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and with its Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force—and the Navy should leverage that work. Why NWDC and MCCDC? The committee discussed, but ultimately decided not to recommend, establishing a separate command to lead Navy warfighting efforts in chemical and biological threat environments. Unlike Navy mission areas (such as antisubmarine warfare), chemical or biological attack or the threat of such attack defines an environment in which all naval forces must be prepared to carry out their as-
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats signed missions in support of national strategy; thus, a separate operational commander for CW and BW does not appear to be appropriate. As an alternative approach, some experts who met with the committee suggested that OPNAV could motivate the necessary operational changes. In the Office of Counterproliferation, a core of chemical and biological defense acquisition expertise appears to be coming together, but the organization seems not well suited to the operational challenge identified above. A staff support office with greater depth and seniority than is currently invested in the Office of Counterproliferation is necessary if the requisite expertise, visibility, advocacy, and coordination of planning and programming issues related to BW and CW are to be accomplished. To illustrate this point, let us pose a simple hypothetical question: How would the OPNAV staff be organized two months after a successful chemical or biological attack on a deployed naval unit or on a major naval base in the continental United States? At the very least, it would be invested with more seniority and expertise than are currently found in the responsible OPNAV offices. The operational answers that the Navy needs can only be found in that part of the Navy devoted to doctrinal questions—the Navy Warfare Development Command. This command appears to be proactive and innovative in analyzing what the Navy should be doing in the near term as well as the long term with respect to both fleet operational procedures and priorities for headquarters actions and acquisition. Reportedly, NWDC seeks to stimulate parallel development of warfare concepts, supporting technology, and the requisite doctrine to effectively employ any new operational capability inherent in the concept. On the basis of the information presented to the committee, it appears that NWDC has devoted only minimal attention thus far to concept development for explicitly addressing chemical and biological threats. However, joint TTPs for chemical and biological weapons environments have just begun to appear, and the CNO should strengthen this command to develop such concepts. He should also recognize that success will necessarily require an augmentation in terms of subject-matter expertise. The Marine Corps focuses its concept development and center of warfighting expertise in the Marine Corps Combat Development Command. Fortuitously, it has already expanded MCCDC’s scope to include concept development for chemical and biological threats. Concepts for response are also being put into practice and refined through a dedicated operational unit, the Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF), described in the next subsection. The committee commends the progress of both organizations and recommends a sustained effort, especially to address biological threats more comprehensively. An important point to be made in CONOPs and policy development for this area is that tabletop and computer-simulated experiments are unlikely to be sufficient for defining practical approaches. The Air Force is discovering this with its
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats field tests on agent fate at contaminated airfields. The committee understands that in these experiments, previously accepted re-aerosolization and/or decomposition and absorption assumptions derived from laboratory results are inconsistent with data being obtained. The data, in fact, would suggest that there is far more latitude for resuming sortie generation than had been previously thought.5 NWDC and MCCDC should assess the technical basis for assumptions defining their own doctrines and undertake the necessary field experiments in relevant maritime operating environments where those assumptions may not be well founded. Synergistic Efforts The role of a focal point is in part to integrate the expertise and capabilities of organizations beyond the focus organization. There are a number of valuable assets for NWDC to enlist as it moves to define the operational requirements of mission success. These include the following: Commander, Fifth Fleet, has been working these issues in his area of responsibility because the threat of chemical or biological attack is acknowledged as real and urgent. NWDC’s ideas will need to be subjected to rigorous operational analysis and validated in fleet experiments. NWDC has worked with the Fifth Fleet to develop standard operating procedures for chemical and biological weapons in Fleet Battle Experiment Foxtrot (FBE F), and continued partnership with Commander, Fifth Fleet, toward this end is recommended. Commander, Fleet Forces Command (CFFC), as the parent command of NWDC, can contribute lessons learned in fleet exercises by setting up a center of naval warfighting expertise in CW and BW environments. Operating forces and naval commanders need the advice that could be available from such a center. Establishing this center of warfighting expertise under the CFFC is a logical choice—and may overlap the expertise gathered at NWDC for CONOPS and doctrine development. The naval analytical community also has something to contribute to the effort of defining the operational requirements of mission success—a defense analysis capability that is currently underutilized. (For example, the Center for Naval Analyses Corporation (CNAC) has developed operational net assessment capabilities specific to the needs of the Commander, Fifth Fleet, but has not been recruited to apply that skill base to other functions in the Navy.) The Homeland Security Office, recently reassigned from USJFCOM to the U.S. Northern Command (Homeland Security) (NORTHCOM), has a matur- 5 The committee further understands that there is some controversy associated with the data and that the Joint CBD Program is undertaking a more comprehensive test program.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats ing and well-thought-out approach to this problem, focusing on installation preparedness and working with responders in the civilian sector. The Marine Corps’s Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force is a unique institutional resource that should prove extremely helpful in developing operational mastery of the chemical and biological threat. Naval leadership should understand the full importance and promise of CBIRF. Created in 1996, CBIRF is organized, trained, and equipped to support a lead federal agency in managing the consequences of a terrorist attack. The CBIRF mission states: When directed, forward-deploy and/or respond to a credible threat of a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high yield explosive (CBRNE) incident in order to assist local, state, or federal agencies in the conduct of consequence management operations by providing search, rescue, and personnel decontamination; and emergency medical care and stabilization of contaminated personnel.6 CBIRF is a sizable force of about 300 military and civilian contractor personnel—all have other assignments and duties. About half of the force is on alert at any time, while the other half is off alert but working and available in a crisis or emergency. CBIRF’s mission statement indicates that it has capabilities for nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) detection, identification, and reconnaissance; casualty extraction; casualty decontamination; technical rescue; provision of medical trauma supplies; and explosive ordnance disposal. It works best if it can be pre-positioned. Its strengths include these: It is self-contained. It possesses a command and control system that can lead or subordinate itself to local authorities. It has the equipment and training to work in a contaminated environment. It offers search and rescue capabilities. It can provide personnel decontamination services. It can provide for emergency medical care and stabilization of contaminated personnel. It can offer flexibility in types of personnel deployed for a given situation. 6 Hammes, Col Thomas X. USMC, Commanding Officer, Fourth Marine Expeditionary Brigade, “United States Marine Corps Chemical Biological Incident Response Force,” presentation to the committee on December 18, 2001.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats The ability of CBIRF to conduct both domestic and foreign operations has expanded its impact, and the unit has become a catalyst for enhanced chemical and biological warfare defense training throughout the Marine Corps. Although the CBIRF title includes both chemical and biological incidents, the unit’s early emphasis has been on responding to chemical attacks. The committee notes that the CBIRF charter specifically calls for a capability to provide incident response and consequence management training to the other Services. The only instance of which the committee is aware in which the Navy availed itself of this training was by the Commander, Fifth Fleet. It is recommended that the Commander, Fleet Forces Command, direct the utilization of this valuable resource, particularly for or by shore establishments. The Fourth Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-terrorism), or 4th MEB(AT), which was activated on October 31, 2001, encompasses CBIRF. It is chartered to provide unified combatant commanders with a specialized antiterrorism force to conduct initial incident response as well as to combat the threat of worldwide terrorism. The Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)s) have an enhanced internal capability, in terms of NBC threats, to support operations from ships in the littorals. The enhanced capability consists of 19 personnel who are trained in the requisite occupational fields and receive an additional level of expertise that is supervised by CBIRF during workups at the home base. This capability should be exploited for cross-training with the Navy during deployment aboard amphibious ships at sea. Leveraging the Progress by the Marine Corps The contrast between Navy and Marine Corps progress in defining the operational requirements for mission success, especially in a chemical warfare environment, is striking. The Marines have made significant strides in the development of doctrine to support these activities, whereas the Navy’s doctrine development process does not appear to have effectively considered these threats. While acknowledging the growing gravity of the chemical and biological threat, NWDC currently has little of the needed expertise. The committee observes that the Navy could leverage the doctrine developed by the Marine Corps to strengthen its own efforts. The committee also notes that there are opportunities for the Navy to provide officers to the Fourth Marine Expeditionary Brigade command element; staffing the positions could enable the Navy to synchronize its efforts more closely with those of the Marine Corps. Policy Issues Working with all of the many assets described above, the Navy should be in a position to define operational requirements by mission area. The more deeply it
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats delves into these operational questions, however, the more likely it will encounter some analytical problems with significant policy dimensions. This study did not include a comprehensive policy review but did identify a number of problems in which operations and policy overlap. Some of them are described below. Decontamination. A classic example of operations and policy overlap is in the area of decontamination, as seen in these questions: When is it not possible to fully remove all contaminant, or at least not to do so quickly in time of crisis or war? When has some level of “clean enough” been reached to allow resumption of military or other activity? What should that standard (level) be? Ideally the standard would be established as common across all Services. Levels of protection for warfighting. Current doctrine appears to imply that incurring zero casualties is the only acceptable outcome for forces under chemical or biological attack. Yet acceptance of some level of casualties is inherent in every other form of warfare. The issue here is when and how to don protective gear and how long to wear it. The committee believes that in many operational situations it may be acceptable for operational forces to wear normal battle clothing, augmented by an adequate mask and gloves, rather than the entire individual protective equipment (IPE) ensemble. Some increase in personnel injury or death from chemical and/or biological attack may be experienced, but the resulting warfighting capability could be significantly greater than that of a similar force that is fully protected in IPE. More importantly, the net threat to the force may, in fact, be reduced more in partial IPE gear than if the naval forces were fully outfitted. An example of an operational scenario in which a trade-off might be appropriate between increased personal protection against the effects of chemical weapons on the one hand and increased mobility and dexterity on the other would be that of a force under conventional high-explosive attack shortly after a chemical agent attack. Mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP)-level TTPs are, in the committee’s view, insufficiently flexible to permit continued operations in a “dirty” environment. Commanders should be provided with a wider array of protective equipment materiel and operational options. It is recommended that NWDC undertake a review of MOPP-level standards and definitions specifically to establish a mask-only condition (currently the mask is donned only at MOPP levels three and four (after the outer garment and boots)). It is equally important to provide local commanders with guidance on when to select one protection option rather than the others. It is noted that both Army and CBIRF doctrine allow employment of a mask-only posture in certain circumstances. Scope of protection at shore establishments and bases. Defining acceptable levels of risk is important not just at sea but also in shore-based facilities. Since such installations house civilians and dependents in addition to military personnel, questions arise as to who should be issued personal protective equip-
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats ment and at what level.7 Personnel at shore establishments (e.g., active duty, civilian employees, dependents) are, in the vast majority of cases, not furnished with personal protective equipment. The level of protection required by these personnel does not rise to the level required by warfighters and should be sufficient only to permit escape from contaminated areas. It is recommended that the CNO’s Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics) (N4), in cooperation with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), consider the definition of a requirement for disaster evacuation escape kits (basic overgarment, hood with filter) in selected high-threat/high-value shore facilities. These kits are available commercially for under $500 each. Design standards for protective gear. An important policy concern relates to the design standards appropriate for personal protection gear for naval personnel. Recall the Air Force experience: it came to understand that the operational requirements of sustained air operations in a CW or BW environment were different from operational requirements from a ground combat perspective (as seen by the Army as the lead agency). The Air Force then began to define performance standards for protective gear unique to its own requirements and to use the Joint CBD Program more directly to support its needs, or to turn to developmental activities outside the Joint CBD Program when its Service-specific requirements were not being met. The Navy faces a similar issue. For example, as described in Chapter 1, it is acquiring protective clothing and respiratory protection designed to meet very specific challenge conditions that have roots in the Cold War. The Navy must consider whether these challenge levels are appropriate for the post–Cold War threat environment. All such examples lead policy makers to seek greater understanding of the risk being accepted—and these are questions requiring long-term investment—but clear policy guidance, based on what is already known about the threat and practices of other Services, is nonetheless needed now to ensure consistency in near-term actions. Medical countermeasures. Questions involving operations and policy overlap in this area include these: Who—among the military, dependents, contractors, host nationals, and so on—should be vaccinated and under what indemnification agreements? When is post-exposure treatment more appropriate? 7 The Joint Staff recently issued new guidance for chemical agent exposure (Joint Staff Memorandum MCM-0026-02, April 29, 2002) that recommends individual protective gear for “other personnel” in addition to military and essential civilians who support military operations. It also comments on what to do with contaminated commercial sea lift ships.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats READINESS Operational Finding: Low Readiness Levels Although the committee did not visit or evaluate a sufficient number of ships or stations to provide a fully generalized conclusion on overall Navy BW and CW defense readiness levels, the data gathered throughout the study combined with the collective experience of the committee point to a clear conclusion: Navy chemical and biological warfare defense readiness needs improvement. In particular, careful attention must be paid to threats in ports and at shore installations. All elements of readiness were found to be deficient to one degree or another: establishment and enforcement of standards, performance and material condition of installed protective systems, availability and condition of protective equipment, shelf life of medical countermeasures, field exercise programs, basic and unit training, and readiness reporting. To make lasting operational improvements will require addressing each of these areas. This is a topic about which the Navy has previously received strongly worded advice. For example, a recent GAO report8 pointed out that in 11 years since the completion of Operation Desert Storm, the maintenance and reliability of installed CW and BW defense systems appear to have declined markedly. One notable exception to the Navy’s generally inadequate chemical and biological defense readiness was found in the U.S. Fifth Fleet. In the Fifth Fleet AOR, an acceptable degree of near-term readiness has been achieved—and is being maintained—through rigorous maintenance of legacy systems, aggressive training and exercise programs, training visits by CBIRF, use of CNAC to support ongoing operational net assessments, and most importantly, a command climate which accepts the threat as real and appreciates that the potential consequences are grave. This commendable degree of readiness to confront CW and BW threats was reportedly achieved at reasonable cost. With the exception of the Fifth Fleet AOR, little evidence of leadership involvement in CW and BW readiness above the unit/base level could be found. Wargaming for these threats has been minimal, although the Desert Breeze series conducted by the Commander, Fifth Fleet, is a notable exception. A robust training program that addresses chemical and biological threats is a vital component of operational readiness, but such training appears woefully inadequate. There is also no uniform unit-level tracking or evaluation of readiness to operate in a chemical or biological threat environment. 8 General Accounting Office. 2000. Chemical and Biological Defense: Units Better Equipped, But Training and Readiness Reporting Problems Remain, GAO-01-27, Washington, D.C., November, p. 17. Available online at <http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d)127.pdf>.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats Recommendation: Establishing Standards and Raising Readiness The Navy should institute a system of exercises, training, assessment, and reporting aimed at meeting high standards of chemical and biological warfare defense readiness. Central to its effort to come to terms with the readiness challenge is the requirement to define appropriate standards of readiness in each of its mission areas; these standards should be derived from the operational requirements generated by the recommended operational net assessments. Once again, the Marine Corps provides an important model of how to get started on the problem of establishing standards and raising readiness. The Fourth MEB(AT) has devoted significant attention to chemical and biological defense training. CBIRF also offers a training program from which the Navy could benefit. In addition, the Army has a training program that could be more fully exploited—the Navy currently limits its participation in this program largely to medical personnel, and even that level of participation is low (see Chapter 5). The MEU(SOC) units receive both individual and unit training prior to deployment, they participate in field exercises, and they are then certified as ready. In addition to this unit, all sailors and Marines in the MEU(SOC) are qualified in NBC individual protective measures before they deploy. While this training meets current requirements, there is an ongoing effort within the Marine Corps to enhance the training content, particularly with regard to biological warfare defense. This capability is resident in the MEU(SOC) units deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Standards The committee observed that a subset of the Marine Corps, specifically the MEU(SOC) units, has established readiness standards in place and is extending them throughout the Marine Corps. In the Navy, CW and BW defense readiness standards are to a large degree defined by individual commanders and commanding officers. It is recommended that the Commander, Fleet Forces Command, coordinate the establishment, validation, and promulgation of readiness standards for CW and BW defense. These standards should be comprehensive and should include exercise frequency, chemical/biological equipment stock levels, C-rating criteria with perishability standards, and reporting requirements. At the very least, given the drop in readiness over the past decade, it is recommended that the Chief of Naval Operations direct increased attention to the upkeep and maintenance of installed Collective Protection Systems (CPS) and countermeasure washdown systems. The assistance of the president of the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey should be solicited in this effort. Of most concern to the committee is that there appear to be no chemical or biological warfare defense readiness standards in place for the shore establish-
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats ment. Given that this is an area of significant vulnerability, the Chief of Naval Operations, through N4, should establish CW and BW defense readiness standards for all Navy shore installations and ensure their adoption and implementation. In particular, CW and BW defense of shore installations will depend heavily on effective cooperation with local civilian first-responders. The standards should include a requirement for shore installation commanders to establish and exercise civil–military disaster response protocols periodically. The committee believes so strongly in this last point that it is further expanded as a separate recommendation (see the subsection below, “Operational Recommendation: Shore Establishment”). Exercises and Training The development of innovative and provocative CW- and BW-related wargames and exercises is sorely needed throughout the Navy. The committee observes that useful tabletop exercises, the Desert Breeze series (Commander, Fifth Fleet) and the Coral Breeze series (Commander, Pacific), have been developed and that learnings from the exercises led to both operational and materiel changes in force posture. The CNO should task the CFFC to enlist the appropriate expertise to enable more such exercises. These exercises should be conducted by the numbered fleet commanders and by OPNAV staff at the three-star level to facilitate education in dealing with chemical and biological threats. The long-term solution to the readiness requirements on both ship and shore is a sustained education and training program for both officers and enlisted sailors. As an interim measure, it is recommended that a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team for chemical and biological weapons be established within CFFC to (1) validate readiness standards, exercise objectives, training levels, and training and exercise scenarios; (2) develop threat, consequence, and recovery scenarios; and (3) evaluate TTPs for the operating forces as well as for the shore establishment. On a more permanent basis and in keeping with the CNO’s training initiative, chemical and biological defense–specific training should be a priority element of Task Force ExCEL (Excellence through Commitment to Education and Learning). Consideration should be also given to increasing the number of officers with graduate education in chemistry and biology. Reporting The standard operational readiness reporting system is largely silent on chemical and biological warfare defense readiness reporting. It is recommended that the Chief of Naval Operations include CW and BW defense readiness reporting in the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) for the operating forces and in an appropriate parallel system for the shore establishment. The
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats committee observed that the Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable) are already using the SORTS system for this purpose. Operational Recommendation: Shore Establishment Special urgency should be attached to the readiness of shore installations and bases. The Chief of Naval Operations should direct his regional commanders to develop and exercise cooperative safety, security, and emergency response capabilities with their local communities. The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans, Policy and Operations) (N3) and Director of Naval Reserve (N095) should support regional commanders to access and leverage, where possible, active and/or reserve consequence management units with specialized chemical and biological capabilities that could assist in this area, or to add new units if necessary. Partnerships with Local Responders The Navy should focus attention for shore-based units and installations on (1) protecting perimeters and contents of shore installations and ships in port from attack, (2) being prepared to respond in the event of an attack, and (3) planning to mitigate the consequences of any such attacks. The Marine Corps already has an active program focusing on these goals and is making steady progress. The reality of executing these tasks is complicated, however, because the impacts of chemical or biological attacks will rarely be constrained to the boundaries of either military or civilian communities. It is therefore essential that military and civilian leadership and response forces work together in the localities that they share. In fact, the military will not typically be the dominant factor in many localities where significant numbers of military personnel reside, and many installations will have to deal with many rather than one local government entity to achieve cooperative arrangements. In addition, if a chemical or biological attack occurred in communities containing military installations, there would be a nonmilitary local incident commander unless the incident was confined to the military base. The local military commander would then be supporting the local (or state) incident commander or the lead federal agency in the area. As noted above, in its briefings from and visits to CONUS Navy installations, the committee found scant evidence of chemical and/or biological defense TTPs for shore installations in the event of a military or terrorist attack. Selected elements of the Navy have instituted protocols and Memorandums of Agreement with specific civil agencies to provide for cooperative action in the event of an attack or incident requiring emergency services. However, the committee did not see evidence of any concerted effort to ensure that all Navy installations develop cooperative arrangements both to reduce the likelihood of asymmetric attacks and to mitigate the results of accidental or intended incidents.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats The keys to successful military–civilian working arrangements include frequent dialogue among military and civilian counterparts with similar functional responsibilities, annual or more frequent exercises, and mutual assistance, when needed, on a day-to-day basis. A true partnership program goes far beyond the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding or other formal agreement to cooperate. As civilian communities and base commands of other Services are already learning, it is better to sort out how to cooperate and integrate military and civilian activities before a crisis rather than during one. The Navy and Marine Corps force protection and emergency response personnel in U.S. locations should develop excellent working relationships with their civilian counterparts in their areas in light of the asymmetric threats facing the nation. As noted above, an excellent model of how to accomplish this exists in the award-winning community partnership program that brings together Camp Lejeune on-base capabilities with those of neighboring Onslow County, North Carolina, to improve safety, security, and emergency response. The lessons learned from the activities of this program include the value of— Focusing on a laudable goal for all (i.e., improving public safety), Achieving improvements through cooperation and synergistic efforts among previously independent entities rather than by requests for added funds, and Letting others receive the credit for success (e.g., local politicians and superiors). All the benefits of this partnership were gained at little marginal cost through the synergies of collective effort. The benefits of such military–civilian cooperation should be sought by all Navy and Marine Corps installations in the United States. Another laudable Marine Corps effort is an aggressive training process for developing TTPs for all Marine Corps bases for force protection and consequence management. Each exercise, which is based on a contractor-developed scenario, is designed to standardize procedures for incident response and coordination with local agencies and authorities. The Marine Corps is urged to place greater emphasis on chemical and biological attack issues in these exercises at each base. The committee also believes that such exercises would be of benefit to the Navy as it develops its own procedures. Specialized Response Capabilities Besides the Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force, there are two other specialized response capabilities of note—the National Guard’s civil support teams (CSTs) and the Joint Task Force/Civil Support (JTF/CS).
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats A CST is a federally funded National Guard unit established under Presidential Decision Directive 39.9 Under current plans, each state will have at least one CST; more than half of these teams have been certified to date. The mission of a CST is to augment local and regional responders to terrorism attacks in events known or suspected to involve weapons of mass destruction when the local and regional responders need the added and/or specialized skills of the CST. Each CST has about 23 members, all of whom are individually selected and highly cross-trained in multiple specialties. CST capabilities include these: Rapid confirmatory analysis of chemical or radiological hazards and presumptive identification of biological agents; Expertise to advise on event mitigation, medical treatment, follow-on resources, and other response concerns; Verification of the perimeter of the exclusion zone and reconnaissance, surveillance, detection, and sampling capabilities within the contaminated area or “hot zone”; Downwind contamination projection and assessment of the extent of area to be evacuated; On-site analysis of nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological agents in a mobile laboratory, and sample preparation for subsequent analysis by state and federal laboratories or law enforcement agencies; and A communications suite to integrate CST radios with local responders and facilitate wide-bandwidth data reach-back. The committee also received briefings on the JTF/CS at the Joint Forces Command (recently reassigned to the U.S. Northern Command (Homeland Security)). The JTF/CS can provide a company-sized force (“quick-response force”) to support civil authorities in a civil emergency within a 4-hour reaction time, or a battalion-sized force (“rapid-response force”) within 18 to 24 hours. The task force is designed to provide life saving, protection, populace care, logistics, engineering, and medical support to civil authorities during emergencies in which state and local authorities need more help. The committee observes that the JTF/CS, CSTs, and CBIRF contain complementary capabilities and that they are chartered to support different missions. From all three, the Navy can learn much to improve its own preparedness. In CONUS, Navy installations should assess whether naval units will be needed in addition to the expanded set of National Guard CSTs for adequate responsiveness to naval needs and/or to provide backup in case of multiple attacks. For Navy and Marine Corps units and installations overseas, 9 The White House. 1995. Presidential Decision Directive 39 (U.S. Policy on Counterterrorism), Washington, D.C., June 21.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats the questions are whether the benefits warrant the costs for new, specialized, active duty units and/or what viable alternatives exist that would meet needs in different localities. The committee recommends that the Navy and Marine Corps determine such needs by performing chemical and biological risk assessments for each base. The committee further recommends that the Navy establish a program, much like that of the Marines, whereby each base commander is directed to take action to ensure responsive access to the spectrum of capabilities recommended by such assessments. Options include agreements to draw on assets resident within the local community, established contractor support, and trained military personnel. Such agreements might also include Navy assistance to local communities, including emergency evacuations by ship. Operational Recommendation: Logistics Readiness of the logistics system to meet mission requirements under a chemical or biological attack should also be made a priority. The CNO’s Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics) (N4), and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) should continue to assess biological and chemical threats to their logistics chain and take action to defend essential support as well as to mitigate the consequences in case of an attack. Logistical support for Navy and Marine forces, whether they are in or near CONUS or thousands of miles from their home ports and bases, is highly dependent on continuing access to and use of a wide range of commercial capabilities and facilities such as these: Container ships (including Marine Corps pre-positioning ships), Air freight, Ports and airfields, Stevedore and air cargo services, Fuel vendors and delivery systems, Food and potable water sources, and Ship maintenance and salvage capabilities. Absent these and related commercial elements of logistical support, Navy and Marine Corps forces would be incapable of operating forward in any tactically significant way. In other words, U.S. naval forces are unable to sustain themselves without commercial support. Despite this dependence, the committee did not find that the threat of surreptitious chemical or biological attack delivered by means of the logistics chain has been assessed, much less adequately addressed. During the course of the
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats committee’s several visits to ships and stations and numerous briefings, the issue of operating and support force vulnerability through logistics was never raised. The omission in itself is a concern. The Navy must appreciate that the nearcomplete reliance on commercial logistical support, both U.S. and foreign, is the Achilles’ heel of the forward-deployed force. In the committee’s relative assessment of chemical or biological weapons attack options available to adversaries (illustrated in Tables 1.1 and 1.2 in Chapter 1), the most serious vulnerability/ consequence scenarios appear to be chemical or biological weapons attacks on commercial ports and airfields and/or on other elements of the logistics chain. Chemical or biological weapons attacks on logistics support nodes and capabilities overseas are much easier to execute than are similar attacks on U.S. bases and ports. Moreover, at the overseas facilities (such as Fujaira, United Arab Emirates), commercial dependence and its attendant vulnerability is greatest. Playing this story out, the committee believes that moderately successful overt attacks on overseas elements of logistics support may be sufficient to induce host countries to deny U.S. forces their use. In some cases the threat of such an attack, or even the perception of such a threat, will be sufficient. While the risk cannot be eliminated, it can be significantly mitigated. The committee recommends that a threat and consequence analysis focused on the logistics chain, particularly overseas, be undertaken. Findings will assist the regional commanders in adjusting force protection measures. Findings should also be provided to Navy logistics staffs (e.g., Commander, Task Force (CTF) 73) and Military Sealift Command regional offices. Such an analysis can be incorporated into the exercises and gaming activities recommended in the section on “Readiness” above. SUMMARY Box 3.1 provides a summary of the findings and recommendations in this chapter.
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats BOX 3.1 Summary of Findings and Recommendations: Operations Operational Requirements Finding The Navy has not effectively defined the chemical warfare (CW) or biological warfare (BW) defense operational requirements for mission success across its full mission space, most especially with the shift from Cold War to asymmetric threat environments. Recommendation for the Navy Define the chemical and biological warfare defense operational requirements for mission success across the entire naval force through a comprehensive concept of operations, with supporting policies and practices. Explicit consideration should be given not just to ships at sea, but also to ships in the littorals, ships in port, shore installations and bases, and logistics. Implementation of this recommendation will require commitment throughout the operational Navy, starting with leadership by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and Commander, Fleet Forces Command (CFFC). (See the recommendations below for more specific actions and assignments.) Doctrine Finding The Navy appears to lack a focal point for chemical and biological warfare defense policy, concepts of operations, and doctrine development related to chemical and biological warfare defense. The Marine Corps appears to utilize the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) for this role. Recommendations for the Navy The Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) should be recognized and strengthened in its role of developing and promulgating a concept of operations and the supporting policies describing how naval forces will execute their warfighting and base support missions in an environment that has been or may be contaminated with chemical or biological agents. The Marine Corps should build on work already under way at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and with its Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force—and the Navy should leverage that work. Both the Navy and the Marine Corps should enlist the expertise and support of key assets: the Fifth Fleet; the Commander, Fleet Forces Command; the naval analytical community; the U.S. Northern Command (Homeland Security); the Marine Corps’s Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force; the Fourth Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-terrorism); and Marine Expeditionary Units (Special Operations Capable).
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Naval Forces’ Defense Capabilities Against Chemical and Biological Warfare Threats Readiness Finding Navy readiness for chemical and biological warfare defense needs improvement in the following areas: establishment, validation, and enforcement of standards, performance and material condition of installed protective systems, availability and condition of protective equipment, shelf life of medical countermeasures, field exercise programs, basic and unit training, and readiness reporting. Recommendations for the Navy The Navy should institute a system of exercises, training, assessment, and reporting aimed at meeting high standards of chemical and biological warfare defense readiness. Central to its effort is the requirement to define appropriate standards of readiness in each of its mission areas; these standards should be derived from the operational requirements generated by the recommended operational net assessments. Specific actions should include the following: The Commander, Fleet Forces Command, should coordinate the establishment, validation, and promulgation of readiness standards for CW and BW defense. These standards should be comprehensive and should include exercise frequency, chemical/biological equipment stock levels, C-rating criteria with perishability standards, and reporting requirements. The CNO should include chemical and biological warfare defense readiness reporting in the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS) for the operating forces and in an appropriate parallel system for the shore establishment. The CNO should direct increased attention to the upkeep and maintenance of Collective Protection Systems and countermeasure washdown systems, with the assistance of the president of the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey. The Navy Warfare Development Command should develop and conduct innovative and provocative CW- and BW-relevant wargames and exercises, such as the “Breeze” series set up for the Commander, Fifth Fleet, and the Commander, Pacific. As an interim measure, it is recommended that CW and BW special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams be set up by CFFC to validate readiness standards; training; exercises; and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for the fleet and shore establishment. Both the Navy and Marines should attach special urgency to the readiness of shore installations and bases. The CNO’s Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans, Policy and Operations) (N3) and Director of Naval Reserve (N095) should support regional commanders to access and leverage, where possible, active and/or reserve consequence management units with specialized chemical and biological capabilities that could assist in this area, or to add new units if necessary. The CNO’s Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Logistics) (N4) and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command should continue to assess biological and chemical threats to their logistics chain and take action to defend essential support as well as to mitigate the consequences in case of an attack.
Representative terms from entire chapter: