The 20th Support Command
uclear and high- yield E
xplosives or CBRNE
) is the United States Army's Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological and high-yield explosives headquarters.
The 20th Support Command (CBRNE—Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives), also called CBRNE Command, was activated 16 Oct. 2004, by U.S. Army Forces Command to provide specialized CBRNE response in support of military operations and civil authorities.
Analysis of threats facing our nation both at home and abroad revealed the need to realign and expand the Army's CBRNE assets and capabilities. The CBRNE Command consolidates these one-of-a-kind assets under a single operational headquarters located on the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
CBRNE operations detect, identify, assess, render-safe, dismantle, transfer, and dispose of unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and other CBRNE hazards. These operations also include decontaminating personnel and property exposed to CBRN materials during response.
By consolidating these assets under one headquarters, the Army has more effective command and control of its specialized CBRNE elements. This alignment also eliminates operational redundancies and allows more efficient management and employment of these unique—but limited—resources.
The 20th SUPCOM (CBRNE) gives the Army and the nation a scalable response capability with the flexibility to operate in a variety of environments, from urban areas to austere sites across the spectrum of military operations. Subordinate elements include the 48th Chemical Brigade, the 52d Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) and the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, known as CARA. These organizations support Combatant Commands and the Homeland in operations and contingencies throughout the world. At any time, 20 percent of the command is deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
When called upon, the command may deploy and serve as a headquarters for the Joint Task Force for Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction (JTF-E), as directed by the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review.
The CBRNE Command leverages sanctuary reach back, linking subject matter experts in America's defense, scientific and technological communities with deployed elements and first responders.
When fully operational, the command will possess a deployable chemical and biological analytical capability to provide timely, accurate analysis of unknown samples and a near real-time chemical-/biological- monitoring platform. This minimizes risk to on-scene personnel and affords leaders timely information to issue guidance and make decisions.
- 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD)
The 52nd Ordnance Group is the command and control headquarters for all U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal companies and battalions located in the continental United States , to include the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico...
, Fort Campbell
Fort Campbell is a United States Army installation located astraddle the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee...
- 71st Ordnance Group (EOD)
The 71st Ordnance Group is one of two explosive ordnance disposal groups of the United States Army. On Order, the Group deploys and conducts operations in support of the Combative Commanders or other government agencies to counter CBRNE and WMD threats.-Subordinate units:* 71st Ordnance Group ,...
, Fort Carson
- 48th Chemical Brigade
The 48th Chemical Brigade is a United States Army brigade located at Fort Hood, Texas and subordinate to the 20th Support Command . The 48th Chemical Brigade is the only active duty NBC-defense brigade in the Army. The Brigade is tasked to discover, counter, neutralize chemical, biological or...
, Fort Hood
- CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity (CARA)
- US Army National Guard 111th Ordnance Group (EOD) (under Training Readiness Authority of 20th Support Command)
- 21st Ordnance Company
- US Army Reserve Consequence Management Unit (CMU) (Operational Control to 20th Support Command)
On 16 October 2004 the 20th Support Command (CBRNE) was activated at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., as a major subordinate command under US Army Forces Command with the mission of providing an operational headquarters to command and control Army CBRNE operations and serve as the primary Army force provider of specialized CBRNE capabilities.
Assigned to the new headquarters were the 52d EOD Group and its five EOD battalions, and the 22d Chemical Battalion (Technical Escort), formerly known as the Technical Escort Unit. In June 2005, the 71st EOD Group was activated at Fort Carson, Colo. By June 2006, three new EOD battalions were assigned to the 71st EOD Group and the 110th Chemical Battalion (TE) was activated at Ft. Lewis, Wash.
The publishing of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review required further alterations to the 20th Support Command’s structure, organization, manning and equipment in order to meet its new requirement to stand-up and serve as the headquarters for the Joint Task Force for Elimination of WMD (JTF-E).
In May 2007, the establishment of the CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity (CARA) with four remediation response teams, multiple mobile exploitation laboratories, and an aviation section, marked a key milestone in the Command’s ability to provide the Army with the full spectrum of specialized CBRNE forces and capabilities.
In September 2007, the final major organizational piece was completed when the 48th Chemical Brigade was activated and assumed command of three Chemical Battalions and the two Chemical Technical Escort Battalions.
In addition to the Command’s organic assets the 20th SUPCOM (CBRNE) has Training Readiness Authority over the USAR’s 111th EOD Group and in 2008 the Command assumed operational control of the USAR Consequence Management Unit and administrative control of the 1st and 9th Area Medical Laboratories.
The CBRNE Command also executes command and control of six WMD-Coordination Elements that deploy to augment combatant commanders or lead federal agencies with their significant CBRNE and combating-WMD expertise and communications assets. The Command’s two Nuclear Disablement Teams provide the final piece of the puzzle and the Command’s ability to execute full-spectrum counter-CBRNE and combating-WMD operations at home and abroad.
In 2008, elements of the Command deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for sensitive missions leveraging the unique capabilities of this command. The CBRNE Command has deployed over 20 units and headquarters per year in support of OIF and OEF for counter-IED operations, and CBRN force protection, exploitation, and elimination operations and at any time more than 20 percent of the Command is deployed abroad in support of OIF and OEF.
The command maintains a robust rapid response force for threats in the homeland, and routinely supports the President, other dignitaries, and national special security events. The command now stands with three EOD Groups, one Chemical Brigade, 15 Battalions, over 85 Companies, and one direct reporting activity. The 20th SUPCOM (CBRNE) continues to transform to meet current and future challenges at home and abroad.
“Liberty We Defend”
- BG Walter P. Davis (October 2004 – August 2005)
- BG Kevin R. Wendel (September 2005 – June 2008)
- BG Jeffrey J. Snow (June 2008 – May 2010)
- BG Leslie C. Smith (July 2010 – present
Command Sergeants Major
- CSM Marvin Womack, Sr., 2005 to 2009
- CSM Ronald E. Orosz, 2009 to Present
- Ben Sheppard, 'Chemical reactions,' Jane's Defence Weekly
Jane's Defence Weekly is a weekly magazine reporting on military and corporate affairs, edited by Peter Felstead. It is one of a number of military-related publications named after John F. T. Jane, an Englishman who first published Jane's All the World's Fighting Ships in 1898...
, 4 February 2009, p. 28–31