NORAD, USNORTHCOM hold CBRN conference
By Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affais
April 8, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command wrapped up their annual Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear conference in Colorado Springs April 7.
This year’s conference focused on the roles of the CBRN community and aimed to make clear what each organization’s responsibilities would be during a radiological attack.
“The purpose of the CBRN conference is to bring together DoD, interagency, state and local civilians to talk about roles and planning for, responding to and recovering from a CBRN event,” said Army Lt. Col. Pete Lofy, Chief of NORAD CBRN Operations.
|COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Panel members take questions during the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Conference at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 5. The conference focused on educating military, state and local officials on the roles the different CBRN organizations would play in planning for, resopnding to and recovering from a radiological attack on a U.S. city.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher)
The conference centered around panel discussions over the course of three days. On the first day, participants planned for a CBRN event. The second day participants were tasked with responding to a simulated radiological attack on Denver in which radiological dispersal devices are activated within the city.
The third portion, recovering from a CBRN attack, Lofy said, is the most difficult.
“It’s a very hard topic to discuss,” he said. “The clean-up for something like what we’re talking about would be enormous and would involve all the agencies and the DoD.”
Lofy pointed to the 1987 Goiania, Brazil, incident in which a few, small radiological sources were scavenged from a hospital and accidentally passed around, as an example of the kind of potential threat CBRN organizations might face.
“There were only a couple of sources,” Lofy pointed out. “And they ended up having to remove about 270 truckloads of material that was contaminated in this event, and more than 100 people were exposed to this radiation. Four ended up dying. The scenario we have is 20 times worse.”
The conference also featured static displays of CBRN equipment such as the Portable High-Throughput Integrated Laboratory Identification System.
Lofy said the hope was that participants would leave the conference with a better idea of how the different CBRN organizations functioned and what they could offer in an emergency.
“We hope at the end of it people understand each other’s roles in this type of event,” he said. “So when we say the Civil Support Team is coming they understand what the CST brings, what they’re capable of and what they’re going to do for the state and local organizations.”