Recently, Army special operators from several units visited the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) schoolhouse to learn about operating in a “dirty” environment.
Officers and troops from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, known as the “Night Stalkers,” the 75th Ranger Regiment, and several Special Forces Groups visited the facility to learn more about CBRN and collective training opportunities on the subject.
The Army special operators met with the leadership of the CBRN School and personnel from the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Army Futures Command, and also visited the Chemical Defense Training Facility.
“They’ve never been to the schoolhouse so they don’t know the facilities, and a lot of these facilities have had significant improvements since most of us were last here,” Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Smith, a CBRN operations officer with U.S. Army Special Operations Command, said in a press release.
“They (USACBRNS) wanted to showcase some of the facilities and training abilities they have where Army special operations could potentially train. So, we got to see those facilities and talk about potential training opportunities.”
CBRN warfare is once more becoming an important mission-set as the US military is shifting toward a conflict with near-peer competitors, such as China and Russia, which possess a significant CBRN capability. And, in the case of Russia, a capability that they are willing to use even outside the context of a conflict, as has been the case with the numerous attempted or successful poisonings of dissidents.
“Army SOF are on the cutting edge of countering (weapons of mass destruction) threats across the globe and we can learn a lot from each other. We wanted to make sure we made those connections (so we can) work together … and make sure they are aware of some of the efforts we have ongoing for potential improvements in the future,” Colonel Sean Kirschner, the assistant commandant at the CBRN School.
The CBRN mission-set has an interesting past and has moved a few times. Tier 1 units, such as Delta Force and SEAL Team 6, used to be responsible for taking down enemy CBRN facilities—SEAL Team 6 assaulted a suspected CBRN target during the invasion of Iraq; it ended up being a school—but the advent of the Global War on Terror and the needs of the counterterrorism mission forced the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) to give up the mission-set to other units, such as the Special Forces Crisis Response Force (CRF) companies. Now, as the counterterrorism needs diminish, Tier 1 units might be undertaking some of their old mission-sets.