The Department of Defense notified Congress today of the fielding plan for 11 new Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams (WMD-CSTs). Todays action to establish these 11 teams is a final step toward fulfilling the request of Congress that every state and territory have a WMD-CST.
The eleven teams that will be funded in the Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 05 are: The District of Columbia, Delaware, Guam, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, and Wyoming.
Congress authorized the first WMD-CSTs in the Defense Appropriations Act for fiscal year 99. Today, there are 32 certified teams stationed throughout the United States and 12 additional teams working toward certification. The fielding and certification of these final 11 teams will bring the total number of WMD-CSTs to 55.
WMD-CSTs are able to deploy rapidly to assist local first responders in determining the nature of an 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 their respective 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.