20th Support Command (CBRNE)
The 20th Support Command (CBRNE) mission is to integrate, coordinate, deploy, and provide trained and ready Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosives (CBRNE) forces. The Command is capable of exercising command and control of specialized CBRNE operations to support Joint and Army force commanders primarily for overseas contingencies and warfighting operations, but also in support of homeland defense. The Command maintains technical links with appropriate Joint, Army, Federal and State CBRNE assets, as well as the research, development, and technical communities to assure Army CBRNE response readiness.
The 20th Support Command's full time focus is on combating WMD, countering CBRNE threats, and defeating all types of IEDs, tactical through strategic. The Command provides command and control to joint, Army, and other government agencies' specialized WMD/CBRNE analytic, staff and operational forces. It is also a force provider of trained and ready expeditionary CBRNE force packages to execute the wide range of combating WMD missions and the core element of Joint Task Force for Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction (JTF-E). The Command promotes reachback communications connectivity from field to subject matter experts at headquarters, national level laboratories, industry, academia or other state/federal CBRNE resources.
The 20th Support Command (CBRNE) was first constituted on 6 May 2004 in the Regular Army as Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Company, 20th Support Command and was activated on 16 October 2004 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. The 20th Support Command was created as a major subordinate command under US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) with the mission of providing an operational headquarters to command and control Army CBRNE operations and serve as the primary Army force provider of specialized CBRNE capabilities. Assigned to the new headquarters were the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) Group, and its 5 EOD battalions, and the 22nd Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort), formerly know as the Technical Escort Unit. In June 2005, the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) was activated at Fort Carson, Colorado. By June 2006, 3 new EOD battalions were assigned to the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) and the 110th Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort) was activated at Fort. Lewis, Washington.
Even before the Command reached full operational capability, operational requirements led to an expansion of the Command's mission. The publishing of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review required further alterations to the 20th Support Command’s structure, organization, manning and equipment in order to meet its new requirement to stand-up and serve as the headquarters for the Joint Task Force for the Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction (JTF-E).
In May 2007, the establishment of the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity (CARA) with 4 remediation response teams, multiple mobile exploitation laboratories, and an aviation section, marked a key milestone in the Command's ability to provide the Army with the full spectrum of specialized CBRNE forces and capabilities. The Headquarters, Headquarters, and Service Company, 20th Support Command was reorganized and redesignated on 16 June 2007 as Headquarters, 20th Support Command.
In September 2007, the final major organizational piece was completed when the 48th Chemical Brigade was activated and assumed command of three Chemical Battalions and the 2 Chemical Technical Escort Battalions. In addition to the Command's organic assets the 20th SUPCOM (CBRNE) had Training Readiness Authority over the US Army National Guard's 111th Ordnance Group (EOD) and in 2008 the Command assumed operational control of the US Army Reserve Consequence Management Unit, as well as administrative control of the 1st and 9th Area Medical Laboratories. The 20th Support Command also executed command and control of 6 WMD-Coordination Elements that deploy to augment combatant commanders or lead federal agencies with their significant CBRNE and combating-WMD expertise and communications assets. The Command's 2 Nuclear Disablement Teams provided the final piece of the puzzle and the Command's ability to execute full-spectrum counter-CBRNE and combating-WMD operations at home and abroad.
In 2008, elements of the 20th Support Command deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for sensitive missions leveraging the unique capabilities of this command. The Command deployed over 20 units and headquarters per year in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom for counter-IED operations, and CBRN force protection, exploitation, and elimination operations. At that time more than 20 percent of the Command was deployed abroad in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
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