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agencies. Elements of TEU often predeploy to support high WMD threat events such as

the Olympics and national political gatherings. Because of their pre-event deployments

and level of expertise, they are generally interoperable with other WMD defense

organizations.

CBIRF

The Marine Corps’ Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) is also

a battalion size unit although it is newer than TEU and has a completely different

mission. While TEU focuses on the WMD agent, CBIRF concentrates on the victims.

The CBIRF is charged with providing a “highly trained, rapid response force capable of

providing consequence management (threat identification, casualty extraction, personnel

decontamination and medical triage/treatment/stabilization) for terrorist initiated

chemical and biological attacks in order to mitigate the effects of multiple/mass casualty

incidents.”26 According to CBIRF’s Deputy Commander it is the only unit capable of

going into a chemically or biologically contaminated area, finding victims, providing

them with immediate medical care, decontaminating them, then getting them off to a

more robust medical treatment facility. They effectively turn victims into patients. “We

are basically a life-saving, casualty force,” says the official.27

Its birth came about in April 1996 during the aftermath of the 1995 Tokyo subway

sarin gas attack by the religious cult Aum Shintikyo. The 333 marine unit was recently

relocated from its original home of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to just outside the

Washington DC area where it was felt it could be more responsive to the higher threat to

that area. Like TEU, this unit frequently pre-deploys to high-profile events such as the

47

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