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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

20th CBRNE Command supports Prominent Hunt

August 21, 2015

By Walter T. Ham IV, 20th CBRNE Command Public Affairs

LONG BEACH, California (Aug. 21, 2015) -- Soldiers from 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives) trained with interagency partners in Southern California during Exercise Prominent Hunt, Aug. 13 - 17.

In support of the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Task Force, or NTNF, a U.S. Army Nuclear Disablement Team and CBRNE Response Team served in the Ground Collection Task Force during the exercise.

According to the Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, or DNDO, the exercise involved a simulated terrorist nuclear detonation near the ocean that required the task force to collect forensic evidence at sea for the first time.

Post-detonation fallout samples provide evidence to the source of the nuclear device and help U.S. officials to determine who was responsible for the attack. The DNDO said nuclear forensics is the technical pillar of nuclear attribution, which fuses law enforcement, intelligence and nuclear forensics information, to identify the source of the device and the persons or groups responsible for its use in acts of terrorism.

U.S. Army Nuclear Disablement Teams and CBRNE Response Teams are assigned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 20th CBRNE Command, the Defense Department's only multifunctional formation that combats chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats around the world.

Serving on 19 posts in 16 states, 20th CBRNE Soldiers and civilians train and operate with allied, interagency and joint partners to combat the world's most dangerous weapons.

In addition to their Ground Collection Task Force mission, Nuclear Disablement Teams perform nuclear infrastructure disablement to reduce or eliminate proliferation and short term use of nuclear-related Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Made up of Chemical Corps and Explosive Ordnance Disposal troops, CBRNE Response Team are capable of tackling a variety of challenging missions, including initial sampling, limited decontamination, packaging, escorting, detection, munitions assessment, explosive threat mitigation and contaminated sensitive site exploitation.

During Exercise Prominent Hunt, 20th CBRNE Command troops also trained with the Energy Department and Los Angeles County Sherriff's Department.

"DNDO helps ensure the nation is prepared to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism," said Dr. Huban Gowadia, the director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. "It is in this preparedness that we can best minimize the consequences for our nation and guide national responses. Further, our national attribution capability should deter a terrorist or sponsoring nation from attempting the attack in the first place."

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