Top Units Train in Canada for NATO Response Force CBRN Defense Battalion

US, Canadian and European partner nations gather for Exercise Precise Response

Canadian Armed Forces photo by Capt. Stephen Stecura

American Soldiers from the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command are training with CBRN troops from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom during Exercise Precise Response on Canadian Forces Base Suffield in Alberta, Canada, July 10 – 28.

From the 20th CBRNE Command, the 68th CBRNE Company (Technical Escort) and the 1st Area Medical Laboratory are participating in the multinational exercise.

The Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 1st Area Medical Laboratory “Mad Scientists” deploy worldwide to perform surveillance, analytical laboratory testing and health hazards assessments of environmental, occupational, endemic disease and CBRN threats to protect U.S. and allied troops and support Weapons of Mass Destruction missions.

The Fort Cavazos, Texas-based 68th CBRNE Company “Responders” provide advice, assessment, sampling, detection, verification, render safe capabilities, packaging and escort of chemical and biological devices or hazards, biological surveillance and limited consequence management support for military forces and domestic authorities.

The company is part of the 2nd CBRN Battalion, 48th Chemical Brigade and 20th CBRNE Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards formation.

Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command routinely deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the active-duty U.S. Army’s CBRN specialists and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.

Canadian Armed Forces Capt. Zahida Assari, the Joint Task Force public affairs officer, said the exercise supports the readiness of the NATO Response Force’s CBRN Defense Battalion.

“The Exercise Precise Response series has allowed over 4,600 chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) specialists the opportunity to test their skills and improve interoperability in a realistic environment,” said Assari.

The Suffield research center live agent training site is uniquely qualified to host the multinational training exercise.

“Due to the expertise of its employees, its unique facilities, its live-agent environment and remote location, the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Suffield Research Centre in Suffield, Alberta, offers NATO with a unique ability to facilitate realistic CBRN training on a multinational scale and enhance coalition CBRN preparedness,” said Assari.

“The advanced-level of this training improves the CBRN specialists’ confidence in their procedures and equipment – crucial factors to their ability to mitigate risks and save lives during a real CBRN incident,” said Assari, a native of Montreal who has served in the Canadian Armed Forces since 2014.

Assari said the Canadian research center has hosted Exercise Precise Response since 2004, except for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Every year, allies from around the world come to Canada to test, challenge and coordinate scientific capabilities in realistic CBRN scenarios,” said Assari.

Article adapted from original story by Walter T. Ham IV, 20th CBRNE Command

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