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Army Brigade to Take on WMD-Response Role

An Army brigade at Fort Polk in Louisiana on Saturday is slated to take on a new mission -- to rescue and protect civilians following a potential WMD attack on the United States, the Fort Polk Guardian reported (see GSN, July 13, 2010).

In a special ceremony the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade is set to take over WMD response duties from the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade that operates from Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

The Louisiana-based brigade would then assume the duty of assisting agencies at all levels of civilian government to prevent deaths and pain, and to deal with the aftermath of an attack involving a chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological weapon.

"In short, the 1st MEB will be a part of a federal force ready to provide support to federal, state and local authorities in case of a CBRN disaster in the homeland," according to Defense Department officials.

The Army brigade is to operate within the Pentagon's Defense Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Response Force mission, which consists of roughly 5,200 U.S. military personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The force's principal focus areas include search and rescue operations in metropolitan areas, decontamination activities, comprehensive coordination aid and evacuations by aircraft or land vehicles (Kim Reischling, Fort Polk Guardian, Sept. 22).

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