The end of the Cold War and
the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact introduced a complex strategic
environment. That environment is multi-polar, interdependent,
and regionally oriented. Emerging powers are rapidly transforming
the strategic landscape and exhibiting new trends. One such trend
is the changing nature of regional conflict. It is an alarming
prospect that developing nations, with hostility towards the US,
may have nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) munitions --
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The growth of these weapons increases the chance that many nations could use them. So, potential use of WMD dramatically alters the nature of regional conflict across the continuum of operations.
The premises of the Cold War,
rooted in superpower adversarial relationships, give way to a
new strategic pragmatism based on diversified, regional threats
that may have WMD. Some experts argue that reducing WMD in the
arsenals of major world powers lessens the likelihood of their
use. This seems applicable only in the context of global conflict,
a diminishing probability in these momentous times. We must consider
the use of WMD as we have no assurance that we shall face a nation
that has them.
The US can no longer intervene
in regional conflicts involving use -- or potential use -- of WMD.
We cannot reasonably expect their use to cease simply because
our forces arrive. To the contrary, the belligerent who has the
most to lose -- or the most antipathy toward the US -- may use WMD
to escalate the conflict. So, potential use of these weapons has
become a major cause of destabilization in regional conflict.
The lessened chance of global
confrontation and a concomitant rise in regional instability and
conflict are new realities. We cannot say the threat of WMD in
Europe is extinct. We can only say that it is lessened by the
contemporary political climate. While traditional superpowers
no longer have political aims that would justify using these weapons,
widespread growth in developing nations increases their likelihood
The growth of WMD in the developing
nations is an arms race within an arms race. Major world powers
continue to reduce their inventory of conventional weapons and
WMD. However, a significant number of developing nations maintain
ambitious arms programs. These programs are designed to
enhance conventional weapons capabilities and develop or improve
their capability to use WMD.
The developing nations arms
race is multi-dimensional, manifesting itself in vertical and
horizontal growth. Vertical growth, the more traditional form,
occurs as nations known to have NBC capability help their allies
and client states. Horizontal growth proceeds as regional powers
try to get weapons and technology, through development and/or
purchase. WMD, growing throughout developing nations, present
a danger we must contend with in assessing the new strategic environment.
One serious result of such growth is the chance that WMD may fall
into the hands of terrorists.
Terrorism is the threat of
coercive violence for political ends. Practiced by nations, groups,
or individuals, it takes on an entirely new perspective with the
potential use of NBC weapons. We are aware that nations known
to support international terrorism seek to become regional nuclear
During the Cold War, possible
possession of nuclear weapons by these nations raised no significant
alarm. Their use against the continental US seemed an impossibility.
The perspective is much different as our focus turns from force
projection to regions of conflict. Furthermore, the international
community's informal policy of benign growth - looking the other
way -on nuclear arms in the developing nations seems in continuance.
An analysis of current growth rates reveals that over the next
30 years more than 40 nations could produce nuclear weapons. Many
more may have biological and chemical weapons.
The growth of WMD dramatically
alters the nature of regional conflict. While the Army removes
NBC weapons from its arsenal, other nations are getting them at
an alarming rate. At any stage of build-up, during hostilities,
and even during redeployment operations, US forces may come under
attack by NBC weapons. Planning and training for operations in
such an environment are urgent. No one should ignore the risks
associated with WMD.
It is not the sheer killing
power of WMD that signifies the greatest effect. It is the strategic,
operational, psychological, and political impact of their use.
The presence of these weapons will dramatically influence public
opinion. This impacts on the decisions of policy makers at the
strategic level, as well as commanders at the operational and
tactical level. Introduction of forces into regional conflicts
will become increasingly risky due to the potential use of WMD.
Many regional powers have
the capability to escalate a conflict well beyond the tactical
level and immediately raise the stakes of our involvement. Rapid
response and a swift end to the conflict will partially negate
the potential rise in the use of these weapons.
The effective combination
of active and passive operations is a prerequisite to nullify
use of WMD by an adversary. Active measures include raids, strikes,
and operations designed to locate and neutralize the threat of
these weapons. Passive measures include adapting proactive NBC
defense measures and planning for an effective air and ballistic
missile defense to counter NBC weapon delivery systems. A significant
consideration is an adversary's willingness to use these weapons
and the conditions that would prompt him to do so. A clearly viable
operational concept might defeat enemy forces, but result in the
use of WMD. This would negate any national policy gains or potential
for early conflict termination. As the scope and nature of conflict
changes, so to do the objectives and outcomes.
Regional conflict will expand
as the integration of ballistic missile technology and nuclear
warhead technology proliferate in the developing nations and provide
new challenges for deterrence. Basic nuclear technology, now over
40 years old, is readily available to any nation, group, or individual
seeking it. The growth of ballistic missiles in the developing
nations is of paramount importance as it couples the conventional
arms race to WMD. Ballistic missiles, some with the potential
to adapt warheads, are in the inventories of more than a few nations.
The growth of nuclear weapons expands the scope and nature of
conflict, increasing the risk of escalation.
The integration of nuclear
weapons and long-range ballistic missile systems expands the scope
of regional conflict. Ballistic missiles significantly reduce
reaction time. They create complex planning and decision criteria
for power-projection forces. Some developing nations have the
ability to use WMD at extended range using ballistic missiles.
This significantly enhances their effectiveness as instruments
of terror against unprotected targets.
With the ability of nations
to use missiles at extra-regional targets comes the possibility
of conflict escalation beyond the boundaries of the recognized
region. Any attempt to expand conflict by attacking other nations
is clearly an escalator act. Long-standing conflicts between adversaries
will take on new dimensions as enhanced ballistic missile technology
and growth of WMD continue to coalesce.
Intervention before or during
a conflict involving nuclear weapons requires a detailed assessment
of the value of the interests involved and potential costs in
terms of casualties and political outcomes. Campaign planners
advise the commander on an adversary's capability to use nuclear
weapons and under what conditions he is most likely to do so.
A critical planning consideration is to create force dispositions
that do not provide lucrative targets for nuclear weapons.
The immediate effects of nuclear
detonation are blast, thermal radiation, initial nuclear radiation,
and electromagnetic pulse (EMP). These effects can cause significant
personnel and materiel losses. Secondary effects include urban
devastation, fires, and radiological contamination. EMP can cause
a severe degradation of command, control, communication, and intelligence
systems. Residual radiation can have long-term effects on personnel,
equipment, facilities, terrain, and water sources.
The US has renounced the use
of biological weapons. Many other nations have not. Still others
have shown a willingness to ignore treaty commitments in this
area. The availability of biological weapons (BWs) to possible
adversaries requires our forces to prepare for operations in a
biological environment. BW involves the use of living organisms
or the by-products of an organism, such as toxins. Such organisms
or toxins attack the human body and either kill or render that
body ineffective. While the effects of BWs vary by type of organism
or toxin used, their characteristics for use are similar. Biological
agents, created to be highly infectious, ensure death or disablement,
and are relatively simple to introduce over large areas.
Because of the perceptions
caused by the use of BWs, psychological and political attitudes
would be strongly affected. Military forces would, of course,
be at risk. But the potential for grievous collateral damage is
enormous. So, defensive measures - both active and passive - would
be necessary to mitigate the effects of a biological attack. Populations
- both military and civilian - would need informational, psychological,
and medical preparation.
All current and future operations
have the potential to occur in a chemical environment. The US
has renounced use of lethal or incapacitating chemical munitions.
However, the first choice among WMD by other nations or terrorists
groups may most likely be chemicals. Proper preparation for operations
in a chemical environment is deterrence. Deterrence limits many
of the possible advantages of an adversary's use of these weapons.
Use of chemicals also poses a special dilemma. The measures we
take to cope with them are militarily degrading.
Chemical weapons produce immediate
and delayed effects that will hamper operations through the contamination
of individuals, equipment, supplies, and critical terrain features.
Commanders must constantly monitor the current and future situation
through NBC recon and include NBC considerations in the intelligence
preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process. Commanders use these
tools to determine the best mission-oriented protective posture
(MOPP) to mitigate the effects of any possible chemical use. NBC
contamination avoidance (including NBC recon), protection, and
decon are three planning imperatives for all future missions.
Training for an NBC environment must be emphasized.
Extensive casualties and damage
can occur very quickly in an environment where WMD are used. Shock
and confusion control those who are not adequately trained and
equipped. Defensive measures (for example, wearing protective
clothing, responding to alarms) and the cumulative effects of
exposure to nuclear radiation or chemical agents affect performance.
So, long-term operations in this environment will degrade performance.
Battle command will be more
difficult. Command posts and headquarters at all levels may become
significant targets. Control will be difficult even in the smallest
unit as personnel in protective clothing will be hard to recognize
and slower to respond to rapid changes in mission. Only cohesive,
disciplined, physically fit, and well-trained units can function
in these environments.
The use of WMD will dramatically
alter the tempo of combat. When in conflict with an adversary
who has these weapons, our forces must operate in full awareness
that these weapons may be used at any time. We can never assume
that we are immune from such attack. Commanders must act to accomplish
the mission while minimizing acceptable risk.
Combined and coalition operations
become more risky with the threat of WMD. Strong NBC defense readiness
supports deterrence and should reduce the likelihood that an adversary
will attack coalition members. Effective identification, detection,
and warning systems within the theater further increase force
readiness. However, many countries are not prepared for or protected
from the use of WMD. So, they may become the primary target of
an enemy's use of WMD to disintegrate a coalition. We will have
to consider that possibility in all our operational and tactical
Continuous intelligence preparation
of the theater takes on new significance in locating and assessing
the probability of use of WMD. The integration of national, joint,
and combined intelligence means will be a prerequisite for intervention
in a regional conflict.
The primary effects of the
use of WMD would most likely be--
- Extensive casualties against
an unprotected force. This is particularly crucial for allies
or coalition members who may be less protected than our forces.
- Degraded command and control,
and effectiveness of weapons and vehicles.
- Restricted use of supplies,
weapons, and equipment due to contamination.
- Enhanced effects of other
- Reduced speed, cohesion, and
flexibility of movement.
- Restricted or denied use of
- Increased need for dispersion
and negated advantages of concentration.
- Escalated conflict and creation
of a more difficult environment for conflict termination and post-conflict
- Psychological impact of mass
casualties and operations for extended periods in protective equipment.
- Allocation of significant
combat power in countering or defeating enemy weapons and delivery
- Psychological impact through
the threat of use.
The doctrine of many potential
enemies of the US calls for the wartime use of NBC weapons. These
weapons require specific responses. Under NBC conditions, US commanders
must take a full range of NBC defensive measures. For example,
under nuclear conditions US commanders must disperse their forces
and take protective measures against possible fallout or further
nuclear attack. US forces must continually prepare for an enemy
nuclear strike that could defeat conventional forces or preempt
a US decision to use nuclear weapons. Similarly, an enemy can
use chemical or biological weapons at any level of war to degrade
US forces. CANE Evaluation Report, Phase I, gives the impact of
"The nature of
the direct fire battle changes dramatically (under NBC conditions)
. . . It takes the platoon almost twice as long to complete an
attack and, even though the battle is much less intense firing
rates decline by 20% in the defense and 40% in the attack), nearly
twice as many men are required for a successful attack . . . The
number of casualties suffered per enemy defender killed increases
by 75%. APC losses double . . . Of those shots fired, almost 20%
are fired at friendly personnel (fratricide) . . . It is more
difficult to locate targets accurately and radio calls for fire
take longer... Leaders at all levels indicated that they did not
have time to accomplish all their duties (because of added duties
such as supervision of NBC activities) . . . Leaders reported
severe degradation in their ability to direct fire and maneuver
. . . Communications were degraded by at an
least 50% . . . transmission times during
the battle increased by more than 100% . . . the
number of camouflage actions decreased by 39% (as fatigue and
frustration overcame sound tactical practices)."
US forces must prepare to
fight and win under these conditions. missions in spite of the
use of such weapons by adversary. This chapter describes the threat
and the US national response. The remainder of the manual describes
the doctrinal principles used by commanders and leaders to conduct
combat operations under NBC conditions.
Force protection is crucial.
Units will survive in a should be swift and violent to take advantage
of WMD environment only by anticipating the use of concentration.
Training and equipping forces
to operate on a contaminated battlefield are the principal keys
to force survival. Dispersion of forces and installations, maintaining
tactical and operational mobility, and planning for rapid reorganization
of forces are a few other protection considerations. The likelihood
of use of these weapons against our forces - not necessarily against
our territory - is greater than ever before. Enhancement of force
protection by use of all available measures will reduce incentives
for use of WMD by an adversary. Force protection imperatives are--
- Training. Ability to perform
tasks will be reduced. Increased training is required to compensate.
- Maintaining alertness. Commanders
at all levels must be constantly alert to the use of these weapons,
They must balance risk against mission requirements and adjust
their MOPP level without losing momentum.
- Developing leaders. Leaders
are the most critical component in force protection. Confident,
competent leaders make the difference in such a complex environment.
Instilling discipline. Units
must continue their missions in spite of the use of such weapons
by an adversary. Personnel must be adequately trained,
properly equipped, and psychologically prepared the effects
of NBC weapons.
Avoiding detection. Units
must use active and passive measures to negate both mechanical
and human acquisition means. The combination of active and passive
force protection measures will significantly reduce any advantage
gained by WMD.
Retaining mobility. Tactical,
operational, and strategic mobility will enhance chances for survival.
Commanders at all levels must consider displacing or dispersing
whenever the threat of nuclear weapons is imminent.
Dispersing of forces and installations
to minimize potential damage. Commanders will disperse forces
based on an adversary's ability to use WMD. The extent of dispersion
will depend on METT-T (mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time
available). Dispersion will include plans for massing forces quickly
once there is a reduction in risk of use of WMD. The commander
will determine the type and size of maneuver forces and the timing
for their concentration. Troop concentrations should be brief,
deception of the highest quality, and plans sufficiently flexible
to accommodate sudden changes. Operations should be swift and
violent to take advantage of concentration.
Using terrain for cover and
shielding. Careful use of natural terrain shields personnel and
equipment from the effects of NBC weapons.
Ensuring logistical preparedness.
Combat service support personnel and installations will disperse
while continuing to sustain the force. Units must have sufficient
supplies, protective clothing, decon, and medical supplies to
continue operations without immediate need for resupply.
Planning for reorganization.
Commanders must anticipate the need to reorganize units following
the use of WMD. Prompt damage assessment of personnel and equipment
and the rapid implementation of reorganization measures will allow
the unit to maintain momentum and continue the mission.
Reducing risk. Commanders
plan and conduct operations with the knowledge that WMD may be
used by an adversary at any time. Reducing the risk of their use
is achieved primarily by avoiding detection and retaining mobility.
Operating offensively. Nullify
the use of WMD by attacking them at their source, before they
can be used against friendly forces and populations.
The growth of WMD has altered
the nature of regional conflict and subsequently the objectives
and outcomes. Furthermore, the introduction of forces into regional
conflicts has become increasingly risky. So commanders must use
an effective combination of offensive and defensive operations
to deter or limit the use of WMD by an adversary.
The potential for the use
of WMD requires planners to consider creating force dispositions
that do not provide lucrative targets. In addition, operations
must incorporate force protection imperatives to ensure force
preservation throughout the duration of the conflict or operations
other than war. Effective use of NBC recon, smoke, and decon assets
will enhance force protection during every phase of an operation.
Leaders must emphasize training to reduce the effects of the threat
or actual use of WMD.
US forces face a potential
NBC threat across a broad range of military operations. Many potential
adversaries use former Soviet-style equipment and doctrine. Others
use a mixture of military equipment and have developed their own
doctrine. So we must study potential threat forces, their general
military doctrine, and their concept for using WMD. By understanding
potential adversaries' NBC capabilities, a picture of the modern
NBC battlefield can be developed.
The growth of NBC capabilities
beyond those of major world powers has increased the likelihood
of NBC use. The number of developing countries seeking the technology
for nuclear weapons and advanced surface-to-surface missiles (SSM)
has increased. Since 1985 more than 20 countries are reported
to have chemical weapons. No developing nations' doctrine for
the use of NBC weapons exists. It would be safe to assume that
any doctrine used would be based on their sources of training,
systems, and technological advances. More detailed information
on this subject is available from other sources.
Thirty years after World War
II, nuclear weapons were the sole prerogative of five world powers:
the US, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, and China. The detonation
of a nuclear device in India in 1974 marked the first instance
of another nation joining the nuclear fraternity. Today a variety
of nations have or desire the technical capabilities to develop
a nuclear weapons program. Many nations are seeking access to
the materials needed to produce nuclear weapons. Many nations
known as aggressors to their neighboring countries are actively
pursuing these capabilities.
Many of these nations have
delivery means for nuclear munitions. The acquisition of nuclear
capability would give them the political advantage they need to
wage war at will.
Biological weapons have been
characterized as poor man's atomic bomb. Many BWs represent cheaper
and less sophisticated alternatives to chemical, nuclear, and
conventional weapons. According to the United Nation's testimony
of a panel of chemical-biological warfare experts in 1969, the
estimated cost per square kilometer of coverage (for BW weapons)
needed to produce mass casualties was only one dollar. In contrast,
the estimated costs for comparable coverage were $600 for chemical
nerve agent weapons, $800 for nuclear weapons, and $2,000 for
Today, production of a fissionable
device would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Botulinum toxin
can be produced for under $400 a kilogram. In addition, BW agents
can be produced with little difficulty in a relatively short time.
They can be produced covertly by those of modest education using
limited tools and space. In the 1980's, an increasing number of
Middle Eastern countries turned their attention to the development
of BW agents. Using commercially available equipment and established
microbiological techniques (perfected decades ago), several countries
rapidly put together viable offensive BW programs.
Vietnamese use of mycotoxins
in Kampuchea in the 1970's and 1980's proved the effectiveness
of toxins. Mounting evidence indicates forces on the battlefield
are susceptible to the hazards of toxins and genetically engineered
Most countries do not have
the technology or the resources to build nuclear weapons. However,
many countries could produce chemical weapons. In the 1970's and
1980's, there was an increased emphasis on the development of
chemical weapons in the Middle East. The actual use of chemical
agents in warfare in the Iran-Iraq conflict soon followed. Chemical
munitions require little more expense or expertise to manufacture
than conventional munitions.
The technology and literature
are readily available on the world market. Once the decision is
made to arm with chemical weapons, stockpiles can be rapidly produced.
Since the end of World War
II, combatants have used chemical weapons in Yemen (1963 to 1967),
Laos and Cambodia (late 1970's), Afghanistan (mid-1980's), and
the Iran-Iraq War (late 1980's). In some cases, notably against
large concentrations of untrained troops, chemical weapons have
been credited for major successes. World censure of chemical weapons
has been sporadic and ineffective.
Initially, developing nations
use of chemical weapons may be unsophisticated. The learning curve
for use, even with military advisors, will be slowed by rudimentary
training in basic skills. The combatants must learn to handle
the logistics burden, friendly protection, weapons effects prediction,
and difficulty in storage and handling. A potential aggressor
facing US forces would probably prefer to use a massive first
strike for maximum effect.
However, he may not have the
logistics or fire support base to support such an attack. Even
if he can support the strike, he may reveal his intentions through
intelligence indicators. Further, the threat of massive conventional
retaliation may disrupt the attacker's activities. We cannot predict
whether or not a developing nation would use chemical agents against
well-trained and well-equipped forces who have a devastating array
of retaliatory options. From our perspective, a decision to use
chemical weapons against US forces may seem ill-advised. However,
politico-military decisions of this nature rarely follow Western
Developing nations' adversaries
who follow former Soviet doctrine, with adequate stocks of chemicals,
will likely use persistent chemical agents to restrict air base
and port operations. Persistent nerve and blister agents will
slow or stop the servicing of aircraft and ships and hinder cargo
handling. Persistent agents on logistics facilities will impair
resupply and service operations. It will seriously delay medical
care and the use of pre-positioned stocks.
Developing nations' combatants
who use former Soviet doctrine, with adequate chemical stocks,
would likely use nonpersistent agents against front line troops
and on lines of attack. They would be inclined to use persistent
agents on bypassed troops, strongpoints, and flanks. They may
use persistent or nonpersistent chemicals in barrier and denial
plans. With small stockpiles, however, they may use chemicals
selectively to support a critical attack or defense, particularly
against massed troops or potential staging areas. Some of these
nations place a different value on human life than we do. The
use of non-persistent chemicals against an unprotected populace
would impact US and allied forces, both politically and militarily.
Competition for scarce medical resources and increased refugee
flow on main supply routes (MSRs) are just a few of the difficulties
planners must consider.
The possibility of use of
chemical weapons by terrorist groups must not be overlooked. US
forces must prepare for any adversarial use of chemicals. Any
country with a chemical or pharmaceutical industry can produce
chemical agents. Nation-states inclined to weaponize these substances
may hide their production behind the guise of pharmaceutical or
industrial chemical facilities.
In over eight years of military
operations against Iran, Iraq built a competent military force
committed to large-scale combined arms operations that include
the integration of chemical weapons. Iraq's success radically
changed the style of warfare in the Middle East. They are doctrinally
attuned and tactically capable of using chemical weapons by all
means to include artillery, rockets, helicopter fire aerial bombs,
and possibly by tactical ballistic missiles.
To avoid defeat, Iraq sought
out every possible weapon. This included developing a self-sustaining
capability to produce militarily significant quantities of chemical
warfare agents. In the defense, integrating chemical weapons offered
a solution to the masses of lightly armed Basif and Posdoran.
Chemical weapons were singularly effective when used on troop
assembly areas and supporting artillery. When conducting offensive
operations, Iraq routinely supported the attacks with deep fires
and integrated chemical fires on forward defenses, command posts,
artillery positions, and logistical facilities.
The overriding mission of
US armed forces is to deter war. Should deterrence fail, the US
will prosecute war to a successful conclusion. Should the enemy
use NBC weapons, US armed forces will respond with military operations,
which may include nuclear and conventional attacks. The goal of
these operations is to force the enemy to cease NBC warfare. See
Figure 1-3 for US employment policy during armed conflict.
US national security policy
is to seek a reliable, verifiable ban on the production, stockpiling,
and use of NBC weapons. Without such a ban, the US deters adversaries
development or use of NBC weapons through a balance of information
activities, political, economic, and military measures. International
cooperation through processes such as bilateral and multilateral
treaty negotiations and public education helps limit an adversary's
willingness to produce and use NBC weapons. These efforts are
also aimed toward destruction of chemical warfare (CW) stocks.
US military policy is to deter
enemy NBC use through a strong nuclear force and an NBC defense
posture that enables US forces to survive, fight, and win under
NBC conditions. The US seeks to control NBC weapons through treaties
and counter-proliferation initiatives.
The US may use nuclear weapons
to terminate a conflict or war at the lowest acceptable level
of hostilities. This means we may use nuclear weapons first. Another
nation(s) cannot attack us using conventional weapons without
risking nuclear war. When faced with a numerically superior enemy,
we reserve the right to use nuclear weapons against that enemy.
Nuclear weapons use requires Presidential release authority.
The US will never use biological
agents. Enemy use of biological agents or toxins against US or
allied forces will be considered a violation of the 1972 Biological
Weapon Convention and possibly the 1925 Geneva Protocol. US policy
allows the option of responding to such an attack with conventional
or nuclear weapons.
The US will not use chemical
weapons. We will try to deter enemy use or cease enemy use of
chemical weapons by conventional and other means.
The US considers neither herbicides
nor riot control agents chemical weapons. But, we have adopted
policies concerning their possible use during armed conflict.
The US has renounced first
use of herbicides in war except for control of vegetation within
US bases and installations or around their immediate perimeters.
The President must approve the use of herbicides in war.
The US has renounced first
use of riot control agents (RCAs) in war except in defensive military
modes to save lives, such as in--
- Riot control situations in
areas under direct and distinct US military control, including
the control of rioting prisoners of war.
- Situations in which civilians
are used to mask or screen attacks and civilian casualties can
be reduced or avoided.
- Rescue missions in remote
or isolated areas, such as recovering downed aircrews and passengers
and rescuing escaping prisoners of war.
- Rear-echelon areas outside
the zone of immediate combat to protect convoys from civil disturbances,
terrorists, and paramilitary operations.
- Security operations regarding
the protection or recovery of nuclear weapons.
The President must approve
the use of RCAs in war. Chapter 5 contains more information on
the use of herbicides and RCAs.
Throughout history new weapons
have been used primarily against troops who have limited defensive
or retaliatory capability. Chemical (gas) weapons were first used
on a large scale by Germany in World War I against Russia, France,
and Britain. Germany maintained a technological lead in chemical
warfare throughout World War I. This lead allowed German forces
to introduce chemicals and delivery systems that sometimes proved
Nations have shown little
restraint in their weapons selection when opposing an enemy that
could not defend itself against certain weapons or retaliate in
kind. The Italo-Abyssinian War of 1935 is one example. Major General
J.F.C. Fuller, military historian, reported, "It is no exaggeration to say the mustard gas sprinkled from airplanes (by the Italians)
was the decisive tactical factor in this war, because it shortened
its duration by months, if not by years."
Potential adversaries will
use NBC warfare to counter--
Contamination degrades the ability of commanders and their subordinate
leaders to set or change the terms of battle.
NBC contamination and protective measures have a degrading effect
on the mental and physical quality of friendly agility. This reduces
the ability of commanders and their subordinate leaders to rapidly
concentrate friendly strength against enemy vulnerabilities.
Combat actions frequently require more personnel under NBC conditions.
This additional concentration of forces in close operations reduces
the commander's ability to control the necessary space through
the depth of the battlefield and to maneuver effectively.
NBC weapons attack command, control, and communications, and degrade
the commander's ability to arrange battlefield activities to produce
maximum relative combat power at the decisive point.
The residual effect of NBC contamination strips away a unit's
versatility. Contaminated units are unable to shift rapidly from
one mission to another.
US forces will survive and
win under NBC conditions by using established doctrinal principles.
By being better prepared than the enemy for continuous operations
under NBC conditions, we will maintain an advantage. This advantage
will deter aggressor use of NBC weapons. If an enemy uses these
weapons, our advantage will force him to cease use or continue
the conflict at a disadvantage. US forces use three basic NBC
This principle forms the cornerstone of our defensive doctrine.
If we can avoid NBC effects through active or passive defensive
measures, we reduce our casualties. We avoid the burdens of protection
and decon, eliminating significant time and resource requirements.
Avoidance measures include camouflage and concealment, dispersion,
recon, detection, warning, and limitation of contamination spread.
If we must operate in a contaminated area, we must protect ourselves
and our equipment. In this way we can avoid losing combat effectiveness.
Protection involves hardening of positions, application of MOPP,
and individual and unit actions before, during, and after such
an attack. Protection also includes the use of collective protection
for our fighting systems.
If we become contaminated, we must decontaminate to allow a reduction
in protective posture. Reducing our protective posture increases
our combat power. Decon enhances survivability on the contaminated
Chemical units support the
force's use of NBC defense principles. Their presence is a factor
in the maintenance of deterrence (for example, strong NBC defense
capability). Chemical units operate throughout the theater, from
the communications zone to the combat zone. The important
combat support role provided by chemical units supports the force
with smoke, NBC recon, and decon operations.
Support responsiveness brings
about increases in combat power by providing needed obscuration
and NBC defense support. Chemical battle staff is integrated into
US Army force structure from company to Army service component
command (ASCC) level. These soldiers provide essential staff support
and advise commanders on implementation of NBC defense principles.
Chapters 4 and 7 contain more information on the principles of
NBC defense and chemical unit organization, respectively.
NBC response directly implements
US national security policy. All military operations pursue and
are governed by political objectives. Success in battle must translate
to a desired political outcome. This manual does not address theformulation of US strategies of warfighting. It provides chemical
leaders and staff officers with doctrinal guidance on how to fight
and win under NBC conditions.
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