Security (S&B/CBRNE) Magazine

SUM 2016

Security & Border Protection and CST & CBRNE Source Book, published jointly, concentrate on WMD response, NGB training, counterterrorism, and border security

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Page 6 of 35 S&BP and CST & CBRNE l Summer 2016 | 5 Unit Profile: 6th WMD-CST TXARNG of the State, while another portion of the team was conducting an extended support mission with a nuclear site in another part of the state. During this period, we received a call from a regional emergency manager requesting the balance of the team to respond to a third incident. This call developed into a significant response involving local EOD assets, regional emergency managers, state lab resources, and Federal law enforcement personnel. There were a couple of critical lessons from this period. First, without having already established relationships with all personnel and agencies involved, the responses would not have been as effective or coordinated. Second, if our 22-person team did not train continuously for all aspects of our mission, we would have had a much more challenging experience conducting three operations simultaneously, 200 miles apart from each other. Texas-sized Response Texas covers the entire range of possibilities when it comes to potential response needs. We have a significant petrochemical industry and lead the nation in energy production. This requires our team to constantly train for a chemical response. We are also a coastal state and therefore have to train for extended operations that result from a hurricane. Those missions can last nearly 30- 45 days depending on the scale of the impact. There are several nuclear facilities so we train and execute multiple radiation events. Everything listed so far has been a natural/accidental scenario. Having all of these resources and capabilities makes Texas a target for clandestine/terrorist organizations, so we train continuously for that eventuality. Essential in all of our training events and response operations is an understanding the nature of the threats we face and leveraging emerging technologies and procedures to meet these threats. We operate in a dynamic environment where the threats are always changing. Each support mission, training exercise, or operational response we execute is unique. While they may have similarities, they range in scope and scale, from a low budget, single actor chemical hazard, to a large scale biological threat, to clandestine activities involving radioactive material. To be effective in meeting these challenges, the team has to effectively work with other federal, state, and local agencies. That is why we train with them. The criticality of having good relationships with the agencies we support has already been mentioned a couple of times, but it can't be overstated. We want to know the people we are going to work with, and we want them to know us personally and our capabilities before they need to call us. The incident site is not where we want to start building a relationship with a first responder. Current/Future Training What is the take-away? We train constantly. We focus on emerging technologies and procedures. We work with some of the best specialists in multiple fields so we gain from their experience and knowledge. We continuously strive to get better every day, and stay on the leading edge, and we do it with the people who will call us for support. That's why our first responders ask for us. That's what it takes to do the job. Fortunately, the senior leadership of the Texas military forces realizes that the special nature of the CST mission requires team members who are fully committed to that mission. That is why our team is allowed to screen and select personnel from a group of applicants. Selection for the team is not only a commitment by the team member, but by the member's family as well. There are sacrifices that a CST member and their family will make, beyond those normally asked of a military family. You have to want to always be on the alert and ready to roll within 90 minutes. A soldier or airman that applies for this team is made aware, during the selection process, that if you want to be part of the 6th, you'd better come ready to work. Members of this team experience an operational tempo that is significantly higher than most other units. There are times that the team is away from home station for several weeks at a time, but never in one place. The longest period of time spent at home station averages two to three weeks, but those periods are few and far between. The first year on the team can consist of up to 200 days of TDY between individual and collective training, and mission support. We train to be the best, because that's what Texas expects from us. We train to be ready physically and mentally for extreme, harsh, and dangerous circumstances, and we'll deal with them as capable professionals dedicated to support those who call us at a moment's notice. Each member of this team fully embraces the team's motto, Siempre Listos! Always Ready! 6th CST Survey team members, TSgt Dono- van Garcia and SGT John Cornejo, prepare to make initial entry into a target building as they conduct the initial site characterization/recon- naissance mission. These initial entries are critical to developing future entries to collect samples and identify the unknown hazards. (6th WMD-CST)

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