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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)



The ability to project power is a central element of the nation's security strategy and force projection is a key element. Force projection 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 is likely that regional crises will involve nations that have an offensive NBC capability.


The Army operates in a strategic environment that can result in military operations under many conditions. These operations are conducted within a range of three states--peacetime, conflict, and war. Force projection will usually begin as a contingency operation--a rapid response to a crisis. Contingency operations may be required for combat or noncombat situations. Contingency operations will be joint and could be combined. Committed forces are tailored and task-organized for rapid deployment, forcible entry if needed, effective employment, and mission accomplishment.

As weapons of mass destruction spread across the globe, it is likely that the US will face them in military operations across the range of military operations. Since NBC weapons will make any operation more difficult, detailed planning is crucial. Chemical units and staffs must be prepared to operate across the range of military operations and will play an increasing role in contingency operations. Chapter 6 discusses operations other than war.


Ideally force projection operations are phased. While particular crisis response may not include every phase, there are generally eight phases to a force projection operation--

  • Mobilization (if necessary)

  • Predeployment activities.

  • Deployment.

  • Entry operations.

  • Operations.

  • Postconflict or postcrisis operations.

  • Redeployment.

  • Demobilization.


In this phase, the active component is augmented by the reserve component. The amount and type of reserve forces mobilized depends on the crisis. A significant portion of the Chemical Corps force structure is maintained in the reserve component.

Chemical Units

Reserve component chemical units may be mobilized as part of the deploying force. Active component chemical units may be assigned the responsibility of assisting mobilized units prepare for deployment. This includes assisting in the organizing of personnel, material, and supplies and certifying the proficiency of individuals and units.

Chemical Staff Considerations

  • Determine training requirements.

  • Identify equipment and personnel shortages.

Predeployment Activities

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 employ NBC or the type of commercial chemical hazards in the area of operations is critical to properly tailor the force.

Chemical Units

Selected chemical units are alerted. Units recall and assemble personnel, then 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.

Chemical Staff Considerations

  • Determine possible NBC threat to include nonstandard hazards (commercial chemical and nuclear facilities).

  • Identify chemical units needed to support the operation.

  • Determine NBC defense training requirements.

  • Plan early deployment of chemical command and control elements into the area of operations.

  • Determine required CDE/NBC equipment.


During this phase of the operation the force actually deploys to the area of operations. During peacetime, deployment will normally be to the host nation directly by air or sea movement. In operations conducted during hostilities operations other than war, 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 employing 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.

Chemical Units

A tailored chemical force consisting of smoke/decon and NBC reconnaissance 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.

Chemical Staff Considerations

  • Determine host nation capabilities and coordinate for support.

  • Monitor deployment of chemical units.

  • Monitor deployment of NBC defense equipment.

  • Monitor NBC situation and recommend changes to the plan as necessary.

Entry Operations

The requirements for entry operations following deployment will vary with each operation. Whenever possible, 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 requires combat 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.

Chemical Units

Protection of the force is the primary mission. 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.

Chemical Staff Considerations

  • Determine host nation capabilities and coordinate for support.

  • Monitor deployment of chemical units,

  • Monitor deployment of NBC defense equipment.

  • Monitor NBC situation and recommend changes to the plan as necessary.


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. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss support during offensive and defensive operations in detail, while chapter 6 discusses operations other than war.

Chemical Units

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. Chemical units will provide support to the force as required.

Chemical Staff Considerations

  • Identify the NBC threat.

  • Determine if current chemical force is sufficient.

  • Monitor the status of NBC defense equipment in the theater.

  • Monitor the status of NBC preparedness in the force.

  • Develop training plans to correct NBC defense training deficiencies.

  • Develop chemical support plans to support current operations.

  • Develop NBC defense plans to protect the force.

  • Monitor the NBC situation.

  • Monitor the status of chemical units.

  • Recommend changes to the plan based on NBC situation.

  • Coordinate with host nation for support as necessary.

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

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.

Chemical Staff Considerations

  • Assist the commander in determining post-crisis and post-conflict chemical support requirements.

  • Provide technical advice on the handling and disposal of captured NBC munitions.

  • Gather NBC technical intelligence.

  • Coordinate chemical support requirements and recommend support priorities to the commander.

  • Coordinate with host nation for support.

  • Monitor the redeployment of chemical units.


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 of. Decon units may be required to perform thorough decon operations to allow for the retrograde of equipment that was contaminated during operations. Peacetime and wartime acceptable exposure levels vary and federal laws must be followed.


Reserve component units are transferred from active status 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.



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 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. 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.


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.


Chemical command and control elements deploy early during the operation. They can lessen the burden on the chemical staffs.

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