Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen today announced the stationing plan for 17 additional Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Civil Support Teams (formerly called Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection Teams) using National Guard personnel. These teams, expected to be established between March and July 2000, are part of the Department of Defense's overall efforts to support local, state, and federal civil authorities in the event of a WMD incident on U.S. soil.
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia each were selected to receive a WMD Civil Support Team. The Department will work with each state to identify the specific communities in which the units will be placed.
The Department made these selections after conducting a careful and objective analysis to optimize population and geographic coverage and to minimize the overlap in the teams' areas of responsibility. The resulting distribution of the 17 teams, in concert with the 10 teams established in fiscal 1999, provides support to the population of the United States.
The WMD Civil Support Teams will be able to deploy rapidly, assist local first responders in determining the nature of an attack, provide medical and technical advice, and pave the way for the identification and arrival of follow-on state and federal military response assets. Each WMD Civil Support Team consists of 22 highly skilled, full-time members of the National Guard.
Beginning in fiscal 2000, Guard members selected for these 17 new teams will undergo 15 months of rigorous individual and unit training. Following the training, they will be evaluated for operational certification.