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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Force projection is key to power projection and central to our national security strategy. Combatant commanders will attempt to resolve crises within their AORs with forward-presence forces. If forces are insufficient to meet the crisis, it will be necessary to project forces from CONUS or another theater.

Force projections may be deliberate or time sensitive. The Army's response to a regional crisis may be time sensitive and may occur in areas of the world where the Army does not have a significant presence. With the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, it could be that regional crises will involve nations which have an offensive NBC capability. An NBC weapons will make and operation more difficult, detailed planning is crucial. Chemical units and staffs must be prepared across the range of military operations will play an increasing role in force projection operations.

Early entry forces are those operational deploying forces required to support the Commander in Chief's (CINC) or other Joint Force Commander's (JFC) concept of operations in a pre-crisis or crisis situation. Early entry forces must possess capabilities to deploy rapidly, enter the operational area, secure the lodgment, and either immediately have decisive effect or create conditions for the arrival of substantial follow on forces that then conduct decisive operations. Early entry forces must consist of lethal and survivable units tailored to support or carry out the operational intent of the JFC. Chemical staffs and units will be integral parts of early entry forces.

In addition, force projection operations involving US forces may involve response to operations other than war, such as peacetime contingency, peacekeeping, insurgency/couterinsurgency, or terrorist incidents. The commander's PIRs include focus on enemy, insurgent, or terrorist capability to use chemical or biological weapons. Feedback supports the commander's decisions on MOPP and/or decisions on chemical unit deployment. A critical element of combat power, maintaining force protection, is crucial in these situations. Austerity will characterize our operations; unneeded losses can be offset by realistic training based on our mission-essential task lists or by taking needed actions to neutralize an enemy's capability.


This section describes early entry in the context of the first five phases of force projection operations: mobilization (if necessary), pre-deployment activities, deployment, entry operations, operations, postconflict/postcrisis operations, redeployment, and demobilization. These stages occur whenever missions require the projection of US forces from CONUS or elsewhere. Force projection operations often overlap in space and time and are not distinct, requiring commanders and units to deal with them simultaneously and/or sequentially. Force projection operations seldom begin with a clear identification of what the entire force package will be, or even with the ultimate purpose clearly in focus. Nonetheless, it helps to conceptualize a logical flow from phase to phase, as long as the force remains physically and mentally prepared to adjust as the operation evolves.

Pre-Deployment Activities

Following receipt of a mission requiring projection of US forces, commanders must conduct mission analysis and force preparation. During this phase, military forces are selected and a force is tailored for deployment to meet the needs of the crisis. The type of crisis will dictate if chemical staffs and units are involved. Intelligence concerning the threat's capability to use NBC or the type of commercial chemical hazards in the area of operations is critical to properly tailor the force.

Selected chemical units are alerted. Units recall and assemble personnel, upload equipment and prepare for movement to the marshaling area. The amount of time the unit has available may be limited. Thus, premobilization training and preparation is critical. Units must review their load plans and deployment plans to ensure that all mission-essential equipment deploys with the unit. Review mission essential task list (METL) and develop a training program to correct identified deficiencies as time permits.

Peacetime planning, combined and joint training opportunities, and pre-positioning of chemical materials and equipment improve our preparedness for NBC and smoke operations. Contingency plans must include host nation support (HNS) to substitute for chemical forces not available in the early phases of an operation.


Crisis response may consist primarily of active Army early entry forces. Developing METT-T may require the mobilization of resources to handle unique situations and requirements resulting from the crisis. Mobilization may include activating all or part of the Reserve Components as well as assembling and organizing personnel, supplies and materiel. A significant portion of the Chemical Corps force structure is maintained in the Reserve Component. To maintain quick response time, select Reserve elements may require higher levels of deployment readiness.

The amount and type of reserve forces mobilized depends on the crisis. This includes assisting in organizing personnel, material, and supplies and certifying the proficiency of individuals and units.


During this phase of the operation the force actually deploys to the area of operations. Carefully tailoring early entry forces to the situation at hand requires consideration of METT-T, available strategic lift, the capabilities of the joint, combined and host nation forces, and facilities in theater. During peacetime, deployment will normally be to the host nation directly by air or sea movement. In operations conducted during hostilities, or war, occupation and expansion of the lodgement areas may require a forced entry and immediate combat operations. If the threat has the capability of using NBC weapons, the use of these weapons during this phase may provide him with the greatest payoff against US forces. Combat forces and supporting forces will be sequenced into the area of operations to gain and sustain the initiative while protecting the force.

A tailored chemical force consisting of smoke/decon and NBC recon elements should be considered for early deployment if the threat warrants. If the threat has no offensive NBC capability, smoke/decon units could deploy without their decon equipment to minimize transportation requirements. When deploying elements include units such as light infantry divisions, they require chemical unit augmentation from corps assets.

Entry Operations

The requirements for entry operations following deployment will vary with each operation. Unopposed entry is favored. Here deploying units flow through air or sea ports into lodgement areas. Typically entry operations during operations other than war will be unopposed An opposed entry would require combat in order to land the deploying forces in the theater. The vulnerability of entry forces to weapons of mass destruction are acute during the initial entry stage. Force protection is critical. Chemical staffs and units will play a key role in providing force protection.

The objective during this phase is to rapidly build the capability of the force in the area of operations. Proper sequencing of forces into the area will contribute to the stabilization of the situation and allow the commander to conduct decisive operations as early as possible. Combat may or may not occur. In either case the emphasis is on developing the preconditions for executing decisive operations.

Principal tasks during this phase include-establishing a forward operating base, closing the force, expanding the lodgement, linking up with other forces, securing the lodgement by expanding the security area, and striking out to engage enemy forces in offensive operations. If the enemy has NBC weapons, a minimal decon capability needs to be available. Smoke elements provide force protection with large-area smoke.

Protection of the force is primary. Early entry forces must protect themselves from numerous threats to include biological/chemical attack, tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs), and terrorism. Smoke units can provide large area screens over vital areas or as part of a deception operation. NBC recon units are positioned to react to any report of NBC hazards or attacks. Decon units are prepared to rapidly decontaminate contaminated units or facilities. Terrain decon of vital areas, such as ports or air field may be necessary.

Unopposed Entry When No Combat is Taking Place

In this situation the intent of early entry force maybe to serve as a deterrent, to act as the advanced detachment for a much larger deployment that will follow, or to participate in non-combat operations such as disaster relief or humanitarian assistance. The composition of the early entry force will depend on a careful mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) analysis prior to deployment sequencing. In some cases, though combat is not expected, the composition of the early entry force should include smoke generator elements and non-lethal systems to enhance force protection.

Unopposed Entry Under Combat Conditions

In this case the early entry force is deploying units into the area of operations where combat is underway, or imminent, but ports and airfields are under friendly control. The composition of the early entry force may vary widely depending on the situation. For example, if the Host Nation armed forces are on the verge of being overwhelmed, US early entry forces may include maneuver units that can control terrain and prevent the enemy from seizing ports of debarkation. However, if the Host Nation's armed forces are conducting effective resistance but lack deep attack capabilities such as sensors and attack systems, early entry forces may require tailoring to satisfy that need. Each situation is different and will require force tailoring based on METT-T considerations. A chemical force package consisting of NBC recon, biological detection, and decon should deploy when their is a threat from weapons of mass destruction. The deployment of smoke elements must be considered for their force protection value.

Forcible Entry

Forcible entry is the riskiest type of early entry. The early entry force is designed to either--

  • Secure a lodgement for the subsequent arrival of huger forces that will conduct decisive operations or

  • Immediately have decisive effect by collapsing the enemy's center of gravity and accomplishing the mission.

In either case, the early entry force will consist predominately of maneuver units.

Secure the Initial Lodgement Area

Early entry forces must be prepared for simultaneous deployment and use. This will require that, at a minimum, they have the capability to seize and control the lodgement, develop the theater and, to the extent possible, establish the preconditions for decisive operations. In a combat situation early entry forces may initially be outnumbered, requiring them to task organize and echelon to arrive in the area of operation sin a sequence appropriate to the combat situation. Joint NBC defense operations will be critical. There will not be sufficient NBC defense resources to meet the needs of all deploying forces, regardless of Service. The objective during the early entry phase is to quickly integrate all elements of combat power and to disrupt or destroy the enemy force ensuring survivability of the early entry force and promoting success of the overall operations.

In the event combat has not begun, entry may entail gaining positional and/or political advantage or building up overwhelming force to deter a potential aggressor. Even if the strategic intent is to deter an opponent, the operational focus must be on seizing the initiative and creating an offensive capability to fight and win should deterrence fail.

Deploying chemical units focus on immediate support for NBC needs and the subsequent expansion of this support. Combat operations can coincide with development of the theater, so chemical forces organize to support combat and buildup requirements simultaneously. For example, the situation could require commitment of both division and corps chemical units early in the deployment sequence to conceal engineer construction of an assault airstrip and to decontaminate a port. At the same time, chemical units may be required to support the reduction of enemy chemical obstacles.


Under many circumstances, early entry operations conclude prior to the conduct of decisive operations. However, early entry forces could engage in decisive operations immediately to accomplish the mission, in effect conducting a coup de main. The operations are intended to produce an immediate, decisive effect. In these circumstances, early entry forces seek to rapidly collapse the enemy's center of gravity, then achieving the desired end-state of the operation simultaneously with deployment of forces. They will include predominantly combat forces with only a relatively limited sustainment capability. These operations require extensive planning and rehearsing.

During this phase, the commander synchronizes elements of power to Successfully conclude the contingency. In operations involving combat, chemical units and staffs will perform their normal combat support roles. In peacetime engagement, the force completes its mission. If the enemy has an offensive NBC capability, it will likely be used during this phase. Chemical units establish themselves in the theater. Early deployed chemical elements will support combat forces with smoke, decon, NBC staff, and NBC recon support as necessary. Decon sites will be identified and prepared. If time permits, conduct training to correct any deficiencies.

Postconflict/Postcrisis Operations

The objective in this phase is to identify post-crisis and post-conflict requirements as early as possible. Units and assets no longer required are redeployed. Depending on the NBC situation, chemical units may be required to remain in the area of operations longer than other forces.

Chemical units may remain in the area of operations to identify areas of contamination, locate NBC weapon storage sites, provide decon support, or perform other tasks and missions. A command and control element needs to be present until all chemical units have redeployed. Once the units have redeployed, they must quickly prepare for possible future missions in other theaters or areas of operations.


During this stage, units that are no longer required are redeployed. Chemical assets may be required to remain in the area of operations to provide support. Captured NBC weapons and NBC defense equipment must be properly handled and disposed. Decon units may be required to perform thorough decon operations to allow for the retrograde of equipment contaminated during operations. Peacetime and wartime acceptable exposure levels vary and federal laws must be followed. Chemical units will assist in the redeployment by establishing and supervising wash racks to clean vehicles and equipment before loading onto ships and aircraft.


Reserve component units are returned to reserve status. The demobilization of NBC logistical material and supplies is also part of this operation. During this phase, units must conduct after action reviews and prepare written summaries of their observations. By documenting what went right and what went wrong, lessons learned can be developed.


Force projection operations will challenge chemical staffs and units. To set the conditions for a successful mission accomplishment, commander's must make decisions early. These key considerations apply.

Force Protection

The commander must balance lethality against supporting forces. If the commander chooses only to project lethal forces early, he may create a window of vulnerability to allow the enemy to use weapons of mass destruction.


The type of crisis will determine the duration of the operation. Chemical units and staffs must be prepared for sustained operations. Supply and maintenance support requirements must be included in the initial planning stages.

Force Tailoring

Force tailoring configures forces for the mission. The force must be appropriate and based on METT-T, lift capability, pre-positioned assets, and host nation support. Contingency operations require forces tailored for the specific crisis. The type of force and the NBC threat will dictate the required chemical support.

Task Organization

Task organization is the process of forming task forces. The composition is determined by the situation and the available transportation assets. Chemical company teams may be formed to provide the necessary chemical support with a controlling headquarters.


Accurate, timely, and detailed intelligence is critical during contingency operations. Chemical staffs must determine the enemy's offensive NBC capability. Additionally, potential commercial NBC hazards should be assessed.


NBC defense equipment places a great burden on the logistics system. Chemical staff officers must advise the commander when to initiate MOPP along with a risk assessment. Coordinate logistics support for the chemical units in the area of operations.

Battle Command

Chemical command and control elements deploy early during the operation. They can lessen the burden on the chemical staffs. Chemical command and control elements are allocated based on the number and type of subordinate elements. A chemical company headquarters is allocated if two or more chemical platoons deploy. A chemical battalion HHD deploys if there are two or more nondivisional chemical companies in the force. A brigade chemical HHC deploys if there are two or more chemical battalions in the force.

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