The U.S. media and decision makers at all levels of government – state, local, and federal – are in agreement on at least one thing: namely, that additional terrorist attacks against the American homeland are not only possible but probable. “When, not if,” is the phrase that is frequently used – and is followed by a warning that future attacks might well involve the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

The fact that in the almost five years that have passed since 11 September 2001 there have been no WMD attacks against the American people on U.S. soil is due to a number of factors, including an important presidential decision made several years ago – before the 9/11 attacks, it should be emphasized – to create, develop, and deploy throughout the United States a number of highly skilled military units specially trained to detect, deter, and/or deal with the consequences of WMD attacks.

The creation, certification, and deployment, in five phases, of 55 WMD Civil Support Teams (CSTs) – so named because their primary mission is to support civil authorities in major incidents involving mass casualties and/or widespread destruction – are now almost complete. As their name implies, their primary missions are to: (a) deploy rapidly to assist a local incident commander in determining the nature and extent of an attack or incident; (b) provide expert technical advice on WMD response operations; and (c) helpentify and support the arrival of follow-on state and federal military-response assets.

The CSTs are joint units and, as such, can include both Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel; some of the units, in fact, are commanded by Air National Guard lieutenant colonels.

The mission of the WMD-CST units is to support local and state authorities at domestic WMD/NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) incident sites by, among other things: (a)entifying any WMD agents and substances that have been detected; (b) assessing the immediate and projected consequences; (c) advising on the response measures that should be taken; and (d) assisting with requests for additional military support.

The WMD civil support teams provide significant capabilities not always available at the state or local level. They are able to deploy rapidly, for example, to assist local first responders in determining the nature of an attack, to provide the medical and technical advice needed to cope with a WMD incident, and to pave the way for the deployment and arrival of follow-on state and federal military response assets.

The WMD-CSTs also provide initial advice on what the WMD agent or agents might be, and they assist state and local first responders in their own detection-assessment tasks. In most situations they also would be the first military responders on the ground, so that, if additional federal resources are called into the situation, they can serve as an advance party that could work from the beginning with the Joint Task Force-Civil Support that usually would be established.

The CST units provide critical protection to the force, from the pre-deployment phase of an operation at Home Station through redeployment. They ensure that strategic national interests are protected against enemies, foreign or domestic, who might be attempting to employ chemical, biological, or radiological weapons against the American homeland and/or U.S. citizens. They are, in short, a key component of the overall Department of Defense (DOD) program to provide support to civil authorities in the event of an incident involving weapons of mass destruction used within the United States.

These National Guard teams make DOD’s unique expertise and capabilities available to assist state governors in preparing for and responding to chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incidents as part of a state’s emergency-response infrastructure. Each team consists of 22 highly skilled, full-time National Guard members who are federally resourced, trained, and exercised, and who are familiar with, and follow, the federally approved CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) response doctrine.

WMD CST COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT Unified Command Suite (UCS) – Communications Van

  • 15 kW power supply and environmental control unit
  • KU-Band SATCOM – wide-bandwidth for data and voice reach back; secure capable
  • INMARSAT-B – portable data and voice SATCOM
  • Motorola VHF/UHF AM/FM Transceiver – intra-team communications and Responder Communications
  • Military VHF/UHF/UHF SATCOM Radios
  • Multilane Scanner
  • Team Radios – Motorola XTS-3000
  • Cellular Telephone and Local Area Network for Laptop Computers














  • 1st WMD CST [MA NG] – Natick
  • 2nd WMD CST [NY NG] – Scotia
  • 3rd WMD CST [PA NG] – Annville
  • 4th WMD CST [GA DOD DJO]
  • 5th WMD CST [IL NG] – Bartonville
  • 6th WMD CST [TX NG]
  • 7th WMD CST [MO NG]
  • 8th WMD CST [CO NG]
  • 9th WMD CST [CA NG]
  • 10th WMD CST [WA NG] – Tacoma
  • 11th WMD CST [ME NG]
  • 12th WMD CST [NH NG] – Concord
  • 13th WMD CST [RI NG]
  • 14th WMD CST [CT NG]
  • 15th WMD CST [VT NG]
  • 21st WMD CST [NJ NG] – Fort Dix
  • 22nd WMD CST [PR NG] – San Juan
  • 23rd WMD CST [VI NG] – St Croix
  • 31st WMD CST [DE NG]
  • 32nd WMD CST [MD NG]
  • 33rd WMD CST [DC NG]
  • 34th WMD CST [VA NG] – Blackstone
  • 35th WMD CST [WV NG] – St. Albans
  • 41st WMD CST [KY NG] – Louisville
  • 42nd WMD CST [NC NG]
  • 43rd WMD CST [SC NG] – Eastover
  • 44th WMD CST [FL NG] – Starke
  • 45th WMD CST [TN NG] – Smyrna
  • 46th WMD CST [AL NG] – Montgomery
  • 47th WMD CST [MS NG] – Flowood
  • 51st WMD CST [MI NG] – Augusta
  • 52nd WMD CST [OH NG]
  • 53rd WMD CST [IN NG] – Indianapolis
  • 54th WMD CST [WI NG]
  • 55th WMD CST [MN NG] – St Paul
  • 61st WMD CST [AR NG] – Little Rock
  • 62nd WMD CST [LA NG] – Carville
  • 63rd WMD CST [OK NG]
  • 64th WMD CST [NM NG] – Santa Fe
  • 71st WMD CST [IA NG]
  • 72nd WMD CST [NE NG]
  • 73rd WMD CST [KS NG] – Topeka
  • 81st WMD CST [ND NG]
  • 82nd WMD CST [SD NG] – Rapid City
  • 83rd WMD CST [MT NG]
  • 84th WMD CST [WY NG]
  • 85th WMD CST [UT NG]
  • 91st WMD CST [AZ NG] – Phoenix
  • 92nd WMD CST [NV NG]
  • 93rd WMD CST [HI NG] – Honolulu
  • 94th WMD CST [Guam] – Juan Muna
  • 95th WMD CST [CA NG]
  • 101st WMD CST [ID NG] – Boise
  • 102nd WMD CST [OR NG] – Salem
  • 103rd WMD CST [AK NG]
Jonathan Dodson

Jonathan Dodson, United States Army Retired, is a graduate of the United States Military Academy.  He has a Bachelor of Science from West Point, a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Ohio State University and a Master of Military Art and Science Degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.  He also graduated from the National War College. Jon Dodson served with the 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Vietnam and was an Assistant Professor on the academic faculty at West Point.  He finished out his more than 30 year Army career working in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army. He has worked on successive Quadrennial Defense Review’s; the National Defense Panel; and various WMD Domestic Preparedness/Consequence Management studies.  His experiences and work in Homeland Security plans and strategy involving the Department of Defense is one of his expertises.

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