US Army forces in conflict or war
do not operate alone. They form part of a unified or joint command
with other US armed services. Service components engage in unified
and joint operations to enhance their total effectiveness in air,
land, and sea military operations. Treaties and international
agreements also cause these forces to participate in combined
operations with forces of allied nations. In this century our
major warfighting experiences have been in joint and combined
warfare. Future wars involving NBC weapons on a large scale may
well occur in this context.
A theater commander controlling unified
and/or joint forces integrates NBC defense, smoke, and flame operations
into his theater plans to support his strategic and operational
objectives. At the strategic level of war the primary NBC goal
is deterrence. If deterrence fails, the secondary NBC goal is
to cause the enemy to cease NBC warfare at the lowest level favorable
to US forces. At the operational level of war the commander uses
appropriate nuclear operations or conventional retaliation to
accomplish the strategic objectives.
The theater commander's primary NBC
responsibilities is NBC defense for the total force. Nuclear weapons
employment is a separate category apart from NBC defense. Nuclear
weapons employment is described in FM 101-31-1. He conducts NBC
defense to enhance synchronized and unified effort. Unified and
joint operations use the standardized NBC warnings and reports
defined in FM 3-3 and FM 3-3-1. Light forces normally deploy with
a brigade-plus for low-intensity conflicts. If intervening headquarters
are not available, they report directly to the joint force commander.
Chemical downwind message/effective downwind message (CDM/EDM)
generation may originate from the joint operational level. The
Forward Area Limited Observer Program (FALOP) represents another
viable source of CDM data.
NBC defense for the total force combines
the principles of NBC defense, obscurant, and flame operations
with a proactive theater-level program of NBC recon, intelligence,
obscuration, and deception. Theater-level recon and intelligence
gather information on the state of the battlefield and enemy preparedness.
Large-area obscuration increases survivability of amphibious operations,
enhances protection of port and airfield activities, and reduces
vulnerability of joint logistics over the shore operations. Deception
at the theater level supports large-scale maneuver. This program
supports operational readiness for unified and joint operations.
Operational readiness describes the
capability of a unit, weapon system, or equipment to perform the
mission or functions for which it is organized or designed. The
term expresses a specific level or degree of readiness or a general
assessment of how well a force can accomplish its mission. To
maintain operational readiness in support of unified and joint
- Assess enemy NBC capability and intent.
- Include appropriate annexes to OPLANs.
- Assess whether automatic masking
procedures should be directed and what conditions should apply.
- Provide NBC protection guidance.
- Assess readiness of joint forces
under NBC conditions.
- Determine requirements for chemical
units (i.e., smoke, decon, NBC recon).
- Determine HNS needs for NBC defense
and consult with allies.
- Determine how to sustain operations
under NBC conditions (for example, survival of critical fixed
sites and mission--essential personnel, resupply of chemical defense
equipment treatment of casualties).
- Assess resiliency of the C2
system under NBC conditions.
- Determine NBC defense requirements
for mission-essential personnel.
During unified and joint operations
an effective program of NBC defense will allow friendly forces
to maintain a net advantage in operational tempo under NBC conditions.
This US advantage may force adversaries to cease offensive NBC
warfare to continue the conflict on terms more favorable to them.
Additionally, NBC defense allows friendly units to continue necessary
combat operations under NBC conditions. This continuation ensures
successful mission accomplishment.
US unified and specified commands
prepare supporting NBC defense annexes during the joint operational
planning process. Include logistical guidance as appropriate.
The annexes are part of the OPLANs that involve significant deployment
of forces to or within a theater of war. They outline general
requirements and critical tasks necessary to execute the OPLAN.
They also contain an assessment of the chemical capability required
by the OPLAN.
The joint force commander can direct
the Army to furnish NBC defense and smoke support to other services
or agencies. When no Army command exists in the required area,
he can attach chemical units to another service.
US Army chemical units may participate
in combined operations with forces of allied nations. In theaters
where the United States has forward deployed forces, they follow
principles and procedures developed in peacetime. Existing procedures
guide relations with the NATO in Europe and the Combined Forces
Command (CFC) in Korea. For theaters in which contingencies occur,
and international agreements do not exist, forces adjust doctrinal
applications, at the operational or tactical level, to remain
within the CINC's emplaced strategic boundaries. Normally, US
forces we required to request approval from the host nation through
civil-military channels for actions that impact the host nation's
environment, personnel, or civil-military operations. This includes
approval for decon sites and smoke operations.
Multinational forces achieve interoperability
through standardization of--
- Programs and policies to train and
educate the individual soldier and to build unit partnerships.
- Doctrine, SOPs, and international
- Equipment, supplies, ammunition,
US chemical doctrine implements existing
international agreements. Accords include NATO Standardizationagreements (STANAGS) and US-UK-CA-AUS quadripartite standardization
agreements (QSTAGs). NBC defense and smoke doctrine must be compatible
so that forces of one nation can effectively assist another. NBC
decon and recon are particularly critical. Combined forces must
establish common marking, identification, warning, and reporting
Language and cultural differences
can cause misunderstandings even when there are common procedures.
When possible, units should have liaison personnel who are fluent
in their allies' languages. Bilingual lists of symbols and key
NBC defense and military terms assist soldiers to perform together
The sustainment of units is normally
a national responsibility when operating with an ally. NBC defense
planners must carefully consider sustainment requirements in a
US national policy includes maximum
use of host nation support. This lessens the number of support
units the US armed forces would otherwise have to deploy to support
the combat forces in a theater of operations.
The use of host nation assets to
perform NBC defense and smoke tasks depends upon the nature of
the tasks and the ability of the host nation to provide support.
Available resources and agreements concerning their use are prime
factors in this decision. Payments for contractor services (personnel
or materiel) and locally procured supplies and equipment are processed
by the servicing finance unit (see FM 14-7). The host nation can
provide either military or nonmilitary resources.
Allied Government Agencies
The government builds, operates,
and maintains support facilities in many countries. These facilities
include weather reporting stations and communications and intelligence
facilities. These agencies operate their facilities to support
their services and US requirements by agreement.
Civilian Contractors and Civilian
Contractor service can be local,
third country, or US contractor using indigenous or third country
personnel. Mission-essential personnel providing critical support
need NBC protective equipment and training to ensure continued
support for sustainment. Provisions to conduct this training are
subject to negotiation between US and host nation forces.
Type B Unit Augmentation
These units use limited US military
personnel who provide only essential leadership and technical
expertise. Host nation personnel fill the remaining positions
upon unit deployment. The units provide host nation military units
within the US structure. This permits direct supervision of local
national soldiers by their own officers and noncommissioned officers.
These leaders, in turn, report to the US command structure.
The host nation may provide military
or paramilitary units to support US requirements for NBC defense
Supplies and Equipment
Some supplies and equipment such
as decontaminants may be more readily available locally than through
the US logistics system.
The NATO alliance covers a wide range
of cultures, languages, governments, allied forces, terrain, and
climate. Long-standing agreements and established headquarters
with international staffs ease the difficulty of using chemical
units in this diverse environment.
Most chemical units operate in a
national organization at corps level or below. Cross attachment
of allied chemical units is achievable through equipment and procedural
interoperability. Corps or theater chemical units can have a specific
mission to support allied units. In this circumstance US Army
chemical units would be under operational command of the allied
Each allied nation provides combat
service support to its own forces. However, US chemical units
can obtain common supply items from allied units and, in turn,
provide items to them.
US chemical units in the COMMZ operate
in territory under the control of allied governments. These governments
use territorial forces to conduct rear operations. They coordinate
HNS for US forces. US NBC defense and smoke activities in the
COMMZ take place in coordination with the territorial forces.
Within the Federal Republic of Germany
the territorial forces provide NATO chemical forces with expertise
on the local terrain, available resources, and equipment to perform
NBC defense and smoke missions.
The CFC consists of forces from the
United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Interoperability
in much of the doctrine and capabilities between US and ROK forces
enables successful combined NBC defense and smoke operations.
Most chemical units in Korea remain within their own national
organizations and receive support from them. Combat support coordination
teams in ROK army corps also facilitate working relationships
between US and ROK units for combined NBC and smoke planning.
Special operations (SO) are actions
conducted generally in enemy-held, denied, or sensitive territory
by specially trained, equipped, and organized military forces
in pursuit of national military, political, economic, or psychological
objectives. These operations are essentially of a political-military
nature and are affected more directly by political considerations
than conventional operations. Special operations may be conducted
to meet threats across the operational continuum. They may support
or be supported by conventional operations. They may be conducted
independently when conventional operations are inappropriate or
not feasible. SO may involve forces that are directly controlled
by higher echelons, up to the NCA, often with minimal involvement
of intermediate headquarters. They are frequently of a sensitive,
high-risk nature and may require oversight at the national level.
They differ generally from conventional operations in their operational
techniques, mode of employment, distance from friendly support,
and dependence upon detailed operational intelligence and indigenous
assets. By their nature, SO are usually very difficult to support
with chemical mission areas.
US Army SOF are comprised of active and reserve component special forces, special operations aviation, rangers, and selected special mission and support units. Also included under SOF management and service proponency are active and reserve component civil affairs and psychological operations units. All SOF have a limited chemical infrastructure and except for small special forces NBC detachments, no organic chemical units. SOF must rely heavily on detection and contamination avoidance. Deployed SOF detachments and their indigenous forces (in unconventional warfare) are normally foot mobile and carry all essential equipment with them. Extended wear of MOPP is unacceptable under almost all circumstances. Timely and accurate intelligence, use of field expedients, foreign or captured NBC equipment, and maximum use of weather and terrain are key principles for SOF operating under NBC conditions.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|