Joint Coordination for Regional Response

From Security & Border and CST & CBRNE, Spring 2018 Issue

The 9th Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team (WMD-CST), California National Guard (CNG), is focused on continued development of its enhanced capability for maritime domain and Joint Hazard Assessment Team (JHAT) Operations.

By Lt. Col. Neal Rodak, Commander, 9th WMD-CST

Established in 1995 under Presidential Decision Directive 39 and certified on 29 August 2001, the 9th WMD CST’s supports California civil authorities with a broad range of missions and primarily focuses on collaboration with state and local first responders to ensure a ready of CBRN capability for local and national level events. 9th CST has had multiple mission deployments in support of large-scale events most notably being selected to support two winter Olympics (Utah 2002, Washington 2010). The 9th CST‘s current focus is to continue developing our enhanced capability for maritime domain and Joint Hazard Assessment Team (JHAT) Operations. We identify these two areas as the most relevant and impactful areas to focus our readiness. The maritime domain requires specialized equipment and training to operate in this intensely physical and physiologically demanding environment. Focusing on this area will be challenging due to the depth of infrastructure and broad jurisdictional authorities. Continued collaboration with integrated strategies will significantly improve our responsiveness to the needs of the first responder community and enhance the functional areas of the All-Hazards/CBRN Maritime operation. As we continue to plan and exercise together, the 9th CST and our civilian partners with maritime mission sets will continue to evolve in a manner that maximizes our collective response capabilities so that together we can best protect the citizens of the great state of California.

Dual-Hat Responsibility

Our most significant challenge is that of serving two hands. California first responders (both law and fire) have had a tradition of leading the way nationally much through readiness learned at the California Specialized Training Institute, on developing best practices, doctrine and programs as found with development and implementation of the Incident Command System (ICS) also referred to as National Incident Management System (NIMS). The 9th CST embraces our first responders leadership and innovation through focusing on strong collaboration and the integration of emerging and enhanced CBRN technology. The 9th CST has a simple concept of operation. We must remain as dynamic as the law enforcement (LE) branch and as methodical as fire/hazmat agencies that we support. This can only be done through intensive understanding of each other’s capabilities. This does not magically occur, it happens over the course of years. A persistent and habitual presence and relationship is needed. That strong relationship between a state’s CST and its local, state, and federal assets in the state is what optimizes the unity of effort that the National Guard and its civilian partners can bring to bear to respond to a CBRN event or prepare for a pre-planned large-scale/heightened visibility event such as the Super Bowl. Los Angeles, California metro region is an attractive destination and location for many national and international events. On the somewhat distant horizon, it will be the host of the 2022 Super Bowl and NFL Experience, as well as the Summer Olympics in 2028.

The 9th CST has also piloted the Joint CBRNE Characterization, Exploitation and Mitigation (J-CCEM) course to assist with the development of CST-First Responder Tactics Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) utilized by JHATs. A JHAT is typically comprised of multi-disciplinary capabilities incorporating distinct functions for CBRNE response, commonly utilized during National Special Security Events (NSSE). The 9th CST strives to support interagency development, synchronizing the core capabilities of the respective participating agencies thereby ensuring the best possible all-hazard JHAT operational capability is brought to bear when needed.

A constant challenge is maintaining strong relationships with all of our key partners. You cannot surge trust and we are building it one assist, stand-by mission or exercise at a time. As in any Defense Support of Civilian Authorities (DSCA) mission set, it is of critical importance that the key players on both the civilian and military side have a high fidelity of understating of how each respective entity operates to include strengths, weaknesses, mission sets, and capabilities. In my assessment, you strengthen these absolutely critical relationships over time. By training together and continuing to seek out new and innovative ways in which the CSTs can augment the CBRN capabilities of our civilian partners in the event of a situation where the CST’s capabilities are needed to augment the civilians to respond to an all hazards or CBRN mission tasking request.