The Department of Defense notified Congress today the fielding plan for 12 additional Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams (WMD-CSTs). Congress directed the establishment of 23 additional teams in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY03 and funded the establishment of the first 12 in the Defense Appropriations Act for FY04. Currently, there are 32 certified teams.
The decision regarding which states would receive the first 12 teams was based on Defense Threat Reduction Agency analysis of objective criteria such as population density, port and coastal security challenges, location of Department of Defense installations, protection of critical infrastructure, and the presence of symbolic sites of national significance.
The twelve scheduled for FY04 are: Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Oregon, Mississippi, Utah, Nevada, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. Precise locations will be determined at the state, territory, and district level.
The WMD-CSTs are able to deploy rapidly to assist local first responders in determining the nature of the attack, provide medical and technical advice, and pave the way for identification and arrival of follow-on state and federal response assets. Each team consists of 22 highly skilled, full-time members of the Army and Air National Guard who are federally resourced, trained and evaluated, but fall under the command and control of the state governors. The initiative is part of the Departments overall effort to support local, state, and federal civil authorities in the event of an incident involving weapons of mass destruction in the United States.