NEWS | Feb. 6, 2017

Colorado and Jordan partner for chemical threat response exercise

By Staff Sgt. Lally Laksbergs Colorado National Guard

AMMAN, JORDAN - Colorado National Guard Soldiers and the Jordan Armed Forces Royal Engineer Corps conducted an exercise at the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Training Center of Excellence Feb. 6 in Jordan.

The CBRN exercise, conducted by the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army Chemical Support Unit focused on practicing the technical skills required in a CBRN-related emergency. 

The strong relationship with the CSU came about from the long-term efforts of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, part of the U.S.-Jordan Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction initiative.   

"CONG was the natural partner to conduct this training due to its existing partnership with Jordan," commented Stacey Neal, the International Project Officer for DTRA.   

The JAF and the CONG have conducted military-to-military exchanges through the National Guard State Partnership Program, or SPP, since 2004. SPP exchanges build capacity and interoperability of forces and improve regional security.  

"With current threat levels where they are, it is not a matter of 'if,' but a matter of 'when' these skills will be needed and put into use," the JAF CSU commander said. "We're very happy with the relationship with the Colorado National Guard and look forward for it to continue in the future."  

The exercise consisted of a made-up threat scenario that included an unknown smell detected in a nuclear medicine wing at a hospital that was under construction. Prior to starting the exercise, JAF CSU team members received very few details about the "incident" in order to create a more realistic training environment.  

Then, members of the JAF CSU conducted training on proper procedures for dealing with chemical agents in addition to a rescue and extraction of a fallen team member followed by decontamination of the victim and rescuers.   

During the scenario, CONG team members observed and provided guidance, suggestions and documented the teams' overall operations and processes for assessment.  

"This partnership is helping develop our capabilities," the JAF CSU technical staff officer said. "Our unit is transitioning from traditional chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear duties to a civil support team. We don't have a national guard in Jordan so we provide support to civil authorities.  The army is a second line of defense."  

"Jordan and the United States have a strong and enduring partnership spanning six decades—one of the most mature military-to-military relationships around the world.  This is reflected in the high level of cooperation, as evident by this joint training exercise," said Lt. Col. Nicole David, CONG bilateral affairs officer.