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Homeland Security

Chapter 3

Civil Support Team Mission, Organization, and Equipment

Chapter 3 briefly addresses the CST mission, unit organization and capabilities, and primary tasks. A brief summary of their equipment capabilities is included.



3-1. The CST mission is to support civil authorities at a domestic CBRNE incident site by identifying CBRNE agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures, and assisting with appropriate requests for additional support.

3-2. In response to a CBRNE situation, the CSTs provide a well-trained team to support the state response as a lead element for the NG. The CSTs provide assessment of the current and projected consequences, technical and analytical consultation, and transmission of the situation to higher headquarters (HQ) to assist in requesting follow-on assets.

3-3. The CST is designed to support the state and local emergency response system, but it is not intended to replace those system functions normally performed by the EFR community. Where these systems are in place, formal requests for assistance (RFAs) will flow through them and any support provided will be done in conjunction with support being resourced through the incident command system (ICS).

3-4. The mission of the CST has been developed and congressionally authorized for CM support for an incident or attack involving WMD. Controlling authorities for the CST (such as the governor and TAG) should carefully consider the impact of deploying (such as team recovery/rest time, resupply) the CST in support of non-CBRNE response situations prior to directing such an employment.

3-5. In addition to the response capabilities, the CST brings a number of ancillary capabilities to the state in which it is assigned (or the state to which it is deployed). In particular, the expertise and focus of the unit provides a multidisciplined integration of CBRNE information and a dedicated group assigned to understand the potential response organizations and plans within the state. Preincident coordination with other state and local emergency response agencies and organizations will greatly facilitate a postincident response and can greatly increase statewide preparedness.



3-6. CSTs deploy to areas within the US, DC, Puerto Rico, and US territories and possessions to accomplish their assigned missions. CST mission planning (see Chapter 4) helps to ensure effective and efficient execution of identification, assessment, advisement, and assistance support functions.



3-7. Identify a suspected CBRNE agent. The CST uses its organic capability to identify suspected contaminants. A technical reach-back capability may also be used to support the identification process. The information contributed by the CST could be used to support incident command assessments and decisions. CST planning ensures the readiness of CST survey team elements to be prepared for different types of contamination. The CST also conducts packaging of CBRNE samples as required and transfers chain of custody to the applicable receiving organization. The identification process directly links to the other CST functions (assess, advise, and assist) and provides the commander with a full dimensional picture.



3-8. Assess a suspected CBRNE event in support of a local IC. The CST rapidly deploys to a suspected or actual terrorist attack, conducts reconnaissance activities to assess the effects of the terrorist attack and provides situational understanding to appropriate command channels. The assessment begins when the unit is notified. CST members use open-source data and classified channels to gather information pertaining to the situation. Upon arrival at the incident site, the command group conducts link-up operations with the IC and initiates the CST assessment of the situation through interviews with civil response personnel. The command group obtains the IC assessment of the situation, performs a unit level review of the occurrences at the scene, and identifies potential or actual impacts. The assessment falls into two categories-general assessment and technical assessment. For both categories, the goal is to determine who is involved or affected by the terrorist situation, what has happened, when it occurred, where exactly the affected area is located, and to estimate why the attack occurred.



3-9. Advise civilian responders regarding the appropriate plan. The CST conducts interagency operations to provide technical expertise and consultation to the local authority. Advice includes managing the effects of the attack so that the emergency management authorities can tailor their actions to minimize the impact of the event. The CST takes the results of the assessment and informs the IC on the means and methods to minimize the effects of the event on the civilian populace, and minimize the damage to property. It also advises on methods to keep critical public services operating.



3-10. Assist emergency response officials and organizations. The CST provides input on the capabilities of potential response assets. This assistance may help emergency response officials prepare RFAs. The CST also provides a full-dimensional picture of the operating environment caused by the impact of CBRNE use. With this full-dimensional picture, CST personnel can assist in understanding the METT-TC variables in the operating environment. From this understanding, comes the ability to anticipate the impact of specific CBRNE military response actions upon the environment. To assist in this regard, the CST must understand military doctrine and the standing operating procedures (SOP) of the supported unit or activity. To better assist supported civilian agencies and military units, the CSTs must understand the unique cultures and procedures of all civilian and military agencies and organizations with whom they may interface.



3-11. In addition to the response capabilities, the CST brings a number of ancillary capabilities to the state in which it is assigned. In particular, CST expertise and focus provides a multidiscipline integration of CBRNE information and a dedicated group assigned to understand the potential response organizations and plans within the state. Preincident coordination with other state and local emergency response agencies and organizations can greatly facilitate a postincident response.



3-12. The CST is a high-priority response unit (see Figure 3-1) supporting civil authorities in responding to a CBRNE emergency. The unit is commanded by a lieutenant colonel (LTC) and is staffed with Army National Guard (ARNG) and Air National Guard (ANG) personnel encompassing multiple military occupational specialties (MOSs). The unit is federally resourced, trained, equipped, and sustained with the state NG providing the personnel, stationing, and common support. The adjutant general can employ the CST to support the state response under the direction of the governor or deploy the CST to support another state (under a supported governor).

Figure 3-1. CST Organization

Figure 3-1. CST Organization


3-13. A total of 22 full-time NG service members are assigned to each CST. CSTs are organized into six functional areas: command, operations, A&L, communications, medical, and survey.

3-14. CST members receive specialized training and state-of-the-art equipment appropriate for their assigned functional areas. This specialized training and equipment enable the team to supplement local and state response organizations and provide a technical reach-back capability to other experts who may assist the local response.



3-15. The CST supports local ICs and local emergency responders, and provides mutual support to other CST elements. The CST is designed to mirror the functions carried out under the ICS as an inclusive team. The CST accomplishes the following functions:

    • Provides and maintains internal C2.
    • Establishes an operations center to synchronize operations and support interagency forces.
    • Furnishes C2 forces.
    • Provides situational understanding to military command channels.
    • Conducts unit level A&L.
    • Communicates internally and externally, maintaining tactical, operational, and strategic secure and nonsecure real-time voice, data, and video access.
    • Provides high technical analytical collection and presumptive identification.
    • Conducts unit level decontamination.

3-16. The CST structure maintains unit integrity and ensures that the team does not burden the IC for required external support. The CST is able to conduct operations independently up to 72 hours with internal supplies and resources, depending on the number and timing of hot-zone entries made. CST functions can integrate into the ICS infrastructure to provide specific support as assigned by the IC.

3-17. The CST is neither designed nor intended to replace functions carried out under the ICS, nor to replace those functions normally performed by the EFR community. Prior coordination with EFRs in the geographic coverage area should help facilitate CST integration into ICS response planning. The CST maintains a level of readiness that allows a rapid response. The CST is provided the means to facilitate a rapid recall and permit an expeditious response to requests for assistance validated by TAG (or his representative) from local or state responders.

3-18. The CSTs were specifically designed to provide advice to ICs, make assessments of the requirements for follow-on forces needed to supplement the response operation, and assist the ICS in developing valid and concise RFAs that can then be expedited through the emergency response system (local, state, and federal).

3-19. The CST provides significant capabilities for CBRNE incident assessment advice and facilitation of RFAs. The team is organized and equipped to rapidly respond to an incident. Most unit equipment is stored in the vehicles for rapid deployment and is designed to be removable for maximum flexibility.

3-20. The unified command suite (UCS) provides a technical support interface with robust communications capability across the varied first-responder and support agency frequencies to assist the C2. Through the UCS, the team can perform reach-back activities to other subject matter experts (SMEs) within a number of agencies and connect to key modeling capabilities and labs throughout the US. This reach-back to technical support provides an additional capability for the IC.

3-21. The Mobile Analytical Laboratory System (MALS) and dismounted analytical platform (DAP) provide an enhanced chemical, radiological, and presumptive biological identification capability. With these capabilities, the CST can perform an added function of serving as on-site observers for other experts from around the country. It can take the samples, readings, and observations that enable responsive and accurate assistance to the IC.

3-22. Team personnel are trained and certified to OSHA standards. The team can provide agent analysis; maintain communications with and between local, state, and federal response forces; and can reach back to automated database processing-based hazard identification, to modeling, and to other experts in a CBRNE response.



3-23. CST sections include command, operations, medical, communications, survey, and A&L. See Appendixes H through M for more information on CST section operations.



3-24. The positions in the command section are designated as branch immaterial to support the state adjutant general's ability to fill these positions with the most qualified ARNG or ANG officer. Individuals selected for the command section will be familiar with the concepts of emergency domestic response.

3-25. The command section consists of two personnel:

    • Commander: LTC, branch immaterial.
    • Deputy Commander: Major (MAJ), branch immaterial.

3-26. The command section performs the following primary tasks (see Appendix H for more information on command section operations):

    • Provides C2 of the CST.
    • Coordinates the actions and approves the plans of all subordinate elements of the CST to ensure that all critical CST functions are performed as rapidly as possible, consistent with law and safety.
    • Interfaces with external agencies and organizations central to the accomplishment of the CST mission (such as local response elements, and state and federal agencies).
    • Provides advice as required (requested) to the first responder community on appropriate incident responses.
    • Executes a reach-back system. This system provides access to SMEs and military units involved in incident responses.
    • Facilitates introduction of follow-on DOD forces into a consolidated response team. This mission is conducted in coordination with higher military HQ responsible for incident response.
    • Oversees development of the team incident action plan, site safety plan, and risk assessment.
    • Ensures that sample collection and handling procedures are conducted safely, accurately documented, and chain of custody is maintained.



3-27. The operations section consists of four personnel:

    • Operations officer.

    • Senior operations noncommissioned officer (NCO).
    • Operations NCO.
    • Assistant operations NCO.

3-28. The operations section forms the CST OPCEN, which is the C2 node for the unit. The operations section monitors the employment of the unit and manages the unit mission conduct on behalf of the commanding officer (CO). The operations sections is the main coordination link with the tactical interagency response forces at the incident site and compiles a common operating picture of civil and military forces conducting terrorism response and CM operations. The operations section supports the CST commander in formulating and communicating concerns related to follow-on support.

3-29. The operations section performs the following primary tasks (see Appendix I for more information on operations section functions):

    • Establishes and maintains OPCEN.
    • Conducts hazard plume modeling.
    • Provides information for vulnerability analysis.
    • Facilitates force protection (FP).
    • Coordinates air and ground movement of CST.
    • Coordinates and directs CBRNE surveys.
    • Coordinates and monitors unit training.
    • Provides real-time meteorological data.
    • Coordinates with the ICS operations personnel.
    • Prepares site safety and incident action plans. medical section



3-30. The medical section consists of four personnel:

    • Physician's assistant.
    • Medical operations officer.
    • NBC science officer.
    • Medical NCO.

3-31. The medical section is responsible for the medical support of the unit and receives and analyzes incident-related samples. The medical section provides medical advice and consultation to the CST CDR, the IC, and, as directed, to public health agencies and local hospitals on the management of contaminated casualties, or provides an initial medical assessment of the effects of the terrorist incident. The medical section, as required, may also support public health agencies and local hospitals.

3-32. The medical section performs the following primary tasks (see Appendix J for more information on medical section functions):

    • Establishes and maintains the medical surveillance and monitoring programs for the unit.
    • Conducts lab analysis of incident-related samples.
    • Conducts medical reach-back coordination with medical labs and SMEs according to the CST commander's guidance.
    • Advises EFRs, the medical community, and public health authorities on health effects and impact of CBRNE contamination.
    • Secures and prepares samples for transport and subsequent transfer.
    • Ensures the sample chain of custody is maintained.
    • Provides emergency medical stability for CST members that can include basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and advanced trauma life support (ATLS) levels of care.



3-33. The communications section consists of two personnel:

    • Communications section chief.
    • Information systems operator.

3-34. The communications section provides internal and external communications for the unit. The unit interconnects with tactical communications at the incident, transmits situational reports (SITREPs) to the unit's HQ, and reaches back to obtain technical references and advanced modeling. The communications section ensures reliable communications to transmit assessments of the CBRNE situation, provides reach back for information and subject matter expertise, and communicate with higher and supporting HQ.

3-35. The communications section performs the following primary tasks(see Appendix K for more information on communications section functions):

    • Provides voice and data communications through a variety of networks designed to support CST operations.
    • Maintains communications within the team, with higher HQ, with other responding agencies, and with SMEs.
    • Establishes secure communications links, as required.
    • Maintains communications security (COMSEC) equipment and keying material for secure communications.
    • Augments ICs communications, within capability.



3-36. The survey section consists of eight personnel:

    • Survey section leader (officer).
    • NBC reconnaissance NCO.
    • Two NBC team chiefs.
    • Four NBC NCOs.

3-37. The role of the survey section is to enter an area that may be contaminated by a CBRNE hazard and provide an initial assessment of the type of hazard and concentration and collect a sample to provide to the medical section for further analysis. The survey section will be proficient in operating in teams of two or more members. A two-person (or more) rescue team is on standby to conduct the retrieval of a downed survey member.

3-38. The survey section performs the following primary tasks (see Appendix L for more information on survey section functions):

    • Conducts missions in appropriate PPE up to and including Level A.
    • Enters a suspected hot zone to conducts search for CBRNE hazards.
    • Detects suspected CBR agents. Conducts initial identification of suspect chemical and radiological events.
    • Provides initial agent identification information to the CST OPCEN for dissemination to the ICS.
    • Collects and preserves incident-related samples for delivery to the MALS/DAP according to chain of custody requirements.
    • Identifies, marks and reports contaminated areas.



3-39. The A&L section consists of two personnel:

    • Logistics NCO.
    • Administrative specialist.

3-40. The A&L section provides logistics, administration (ADMIN), technical maintenance, and combat service support (CSS) for the CST. The A&L section works directly with the Defense Consequence Management Support Center for forward area support, emergency resupply, and reconstitution after deployment.

3-41. The A&L section performs the following primary tasks (see Appendix M for more information on A&L section functions):

    • Sustains the ability of the CST to conduct operations.
    • Maintains logistics status reports.
    • Interfaces with the integrated logistics system.
    • Procures and stores unit equipment according to command guidance.



3-42. The CST has the following limitations:

    • The CST can only conduct self-decontamination (see Appendix N for more information on CST decontamination operations).
    • The CST cannot conduct explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operations.
    • The CST can conduct only limited area NBC reconnaissance operations.
    • A CST deploys with stocks to sustain full spectrum operations for a limited duration. To sustain extended operations, a deployed CST must receive additional logistical and personnel augmentation.
    • The CST may not be employed outside the US, DC, Puerto Rico, and US territories and possessions.



3-43. To integrate DOD support of other federal assets and attain the widest possible coverage of the continental US (CONUS), a CST was fielded in each of the ten FEMA regions of the US. In October 1999, Congress authorized additional teams to provide coverage and support to other parts of the country.

3-44. CST stationing is designed to support an expeditious response to all major population centers within the CONUS via the unit organic ground transportation. States were selected to optimize population and geographical coverage and to minimize the overlap in response areas of the teams. The resulting distribution of the teams places 90 percent of the nation's population within 250 miles of a team. Factors such as transportation access, facilities, proximity to airlift, and proximity to other state and regional planning organizations are also important stationing considerations.



3-45. CST units are equipped with standard systems to perform their mission in support of local, state, and federal response officials. This equipment is authorized in their table of distribution and allowances (TDA). All changes to the TDA must be requested through the NGB to help ensure unit standardization. The unit equipment includes—

    • PPE including OSHA-approved Levels A, B, and C protective ensembles; MOPP; M40-series protective masks; and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
    • Sampling equipment with CB sampling kits and CBRNE detection equipment.
    • Analytical equipment, such as the MALS or DAP, to provide analysis of incident-related samples.
    • Communications equipment, such as the UCS, to provide enhanced architecture and ensure communications and data connectivity between federal, state, and local response forces. The UCS is a self-contained, air-transportable system that is capable of continuous fixed and mobile operations. Its capabilities include high-frequency, ultrahigh-frequency (UHF), very-high-frequency (VHF), and tactical frequency-modulated (FM) satellite communications; secure phone; facsimile (FAX) copy; telecomputer; printer; teleconference/video; global positioning system (GPS); and an internal and external power generation.



3-46 The CST is authorized eight vehicles. Two of the trucks are special-purpose vehicles that provide sophisticated communications and MALS platforms.

3-47. The UCS provides communications interface across the varied first responder frequencies and other response organizations.

3-48. The MALS provides analysis of incident-related samples. The MALS or DAP provides the capability to further analyze a broad range of CB contaminants. The medical and survey teams work together to gather and analyze samples. Information derived from survey and sampling operations will be used to assist the IC. The lab includes two work stations, internal and external lighting, sampling collection and preparation kits, a generator, a refrigerator, a microscope with fluorescent capabilities, hand-held assay (HHA) tickets, a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS), a glove box (MALS) and filter system, and an interface to the UCS for transmission of digital sample information. The DAP consists of a dismounted package, including GC/MS, sampling, collection, and preparation kits; and an HHA.

3-49. With MALS/DAP and UCS, team members can function as on-site observers for experts from around the country and can take the samples, readings, and observations that enable responsive and accurate assistance to the IC.

3-50. The team is organized and equipped to rapidly respond to the scene using unit response vehicles. Most of the equipment is stored in the vehicles for rapid deployment and is designed to be removable for maximum flexibility. The vehicles and equipment should be certified for air transport.

3-51. Due to the sensitive nature and special management of WMD terrorism, military support requires a low signature. The open display of military force may disclose imminent military support or cause undue concern by the civilian population. Hence, the CST maintains a low or discreet military signature using commercial vehicles. Additionally, a cost benefit analysis demonstrated that commercial vehicles were more cost effective than military vehicles. The commercial vehicles are under a General Services Administration (GSA) full-service lease, which includes fuel, wash, maintenance, and replacement. The remaining six vehicles consist of four 9-passenger sport utility vehicles, two 4-wheel-drive pickup trucks, and two cargo vans. The vehicles are equipped with after-market modifications that include emergency lights, bumpers, winches, tow packages, and caps for the trucks.



3-52. CST operations involve working in an environment that contains a multitude of substances and chemicals that are immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH). Coupled with chemical warfare (CW) and BW agents, military response forces are required to maintain PPE sets above those commonly provided to military forces to provide protection against all hazards. Though exempt from the applicable civil regulations for personal protection, CSTs voluntarily train and equip to civil standards in order to operate in an area containing unknown contamination. Additionally, higher-end detection equipment is required for a greater range of substances, to identify toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) and organic substances versus CW and BW agents. Nonstandard chemical defense equipment (CDE) that is interoperable with the first responders that these units support can be found in Appendix O.



3-53. The military standard issue of chemical detection and protection equipment provides the unit with the ability to detect and protect against a number of CBRNE agents.

3-54. The CST is provided with computer equipment to handle automation requirements, modeling, logistics management, and administration. Computer equipment performs a mix of tactical and administrative functions.

3-55. Tactical equipment is also provided to the unit to conduct its mission. For example, light sets (for area illumination), hand trucks, and other equipment support all missions that the unit performs.


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