CBRN defense

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Nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) disposal technicians taking part in a training exercise.

Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense (CBRN defense or CBRND) is protective measures taken in situations in which chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare (including terrorism) hazards may be present. CBRN defense consists of CBRN passive protection, contamination avoidance and CBRN mitigation.

A CBRN incident differs from a hazardous material incident in both scope (i.e., CBRN can be a mass casualty situation) and intent. CBRN incidents are responded to under the assumption that they are intentional and malicious; evidence preservation and perpetrator apprehension are of greater concern than with HAZMAT incidents.

A 2011 forecast concluded that worldwide government spending on CBRN defence products and services would reach US$8.38bn that year.[1]


In English the term CBRN is a replacement for the cold war term NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical), which had replaced the term ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) that was used in the fifties. The addition of the R (for radiological) is a consequence of the "new" threat of a radiological weapon (also known as "dirty bombs"), in addition to end the joke among members of the Chemical Corps which called "NBC as NoBody Cares"[citation needed]. In the new millennium, the term CBRNe was introduced as an extension of CBRN - the e in this term representing the enhanced (improvised) explosives threat.[2] Leaders and members of the Chemical Corps also use CBRN as "Could Be Right Now".[3]

In Spanish the term NRBQ (Nuclear, Radiológico, Bacteriológico y Químico) has replaced NBQ.

By country or region


The term CBRN is in common use in disaster and emergency services organizations across the country.[4] Since July 2005, the Canadian Forces also started using the term CBRN Defence, instead of NBC Defence, due to the increased threat of dirty bomb use (which is radiological in nature). CBRNe is a new term that is being used in both civilian and military organisations. The Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit is a Canadian Forces unit, under the direction of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, charged with supporting "the Government of Canada in order to prevent, control and mitigate CBRN threats to Canada, Canadians and Canadian interests."

At the provincial level, cities are provided opportunities for their emergency services with CBRN training. In Ontario, emergency services in Windsor, Ontario; Ottawa, Ontario; Peterborough, Ontario; and Toronto (Toronto Fire Services, Toronto Police Service, Toronto EMS, and Heavy Urban Search and Rescue) have obtained CBRN standing at NFPA Standard 472 Awareness Level 3.[5]

The Ontario Provincial Police's UCRT (Urban Search & Rescue / CBRNe Response Team) is a specialized team responsible for CBRNe incident response for the province of Ontario. The team was formed in 2002 and was called the Provincial Emergency Response Team (PERT) until 2010, when the name was changed to UCRT.[citation needed] They changed from Provincial Emergency Response Team to UCRT due to the elimination of Tactical and concentrating on USAR and CBRN and explosive disposal. Under the direction of specialist Staff Sergeant Jim Bock, UCRT became the Provinces elite response to anti terrorism.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has had CBRN response capabilities since the early 1990s and advanced training from 1998.[6] The Standing CBRN Planning Group (known as the SRPG) plans for all CBRN incidents in Hong Kong. The SRPG was set up with the support of the Secretary for Security by the Senior Bomb Disposal Officer in Hong Kong, Dominic Brittain.[7] It consists of representatives from 9 government departments who plan the response to CBRN threats. These departments include Police EOD, Fire Services, the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health, amongst others.The operational arm of the SRPG is the CBRN Incident Advisory Group (RIAG) who form up in the initial stages of a CBRN incident using telephone conferencing. RIAG consists of five experts who assist with the technical response to the incident by providing real time advice and support to the departments involved. The Hong Kong capability is well rehearsed, with regular departmental exercises conducted and a full scale CBRN exercise conducted every year.[8]


The Indian Army ordered 16 CBRN monitoring vehicles, of which the first 8 were inducted in December 2010. It was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Ordnance Factories Board.[9]


The Argentine Armed Forces has several CRBN response teams. The Batallón de Ingenieros QBN 601 of the Argentine Army, was the first CRBN response team created, in the 1990s, as a part of the country's Rapid Deployment Force. Civil defense, and firemen from Policía Federal Argentina teams also have CRBN training.

Ireland (Republic of)

Members of the Irish Defence Forces and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) at a CBRNe training exercise

The Irish Defence Forces have CBRNe training and equipment capabilities – in particular the Ordnance Corps (Explosive Ordnance Disposal/EOD teams), Engineer Corps and Army Ranger Wing (ARW) – and will aid the civil authority if requested. The Irish Army runs CBRNe defence courses, and has detection equipment, decontamination equipment and is reported to have purchased 10,000 protective CBRN/NBC suits, enough for all of its personnel.[10]

The Irish national police force, the Garda Síochána, has a number of nationwide CBRN response teams. The teams are based regionally (in six regions; Dublin, Eastern, Northern, Southern, South-Eastern & Western) and began operating from 2004 with 100 trained officers (170 responders trained throughout the country as of 2009). There is a requirement for members to be re-certified within 18 months of training.[11][12] CBRN response teams are trained by the Garda Tactical Training Unit, and supported nationally by the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).[13] Other emergency services also have limited CBRN expertise, such as the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB), who have a Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat) and Chemical Incident Unit.


The Malaysian Army formed a CBRN unit, Peperangan Nuklear, Biologi dan Kimia 3 Divisyen (English: Chemical, Biological and Nuclear Warfare Division 3; PNBK 3D) in April 2002.[14]

The Royal Malaysia Police has CBRN providers. The Pasukan Gerakan Khas (PGK) has two special operations detachments with HAZMAT expertise - 69 Commandos and Special Actions Unit. The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) also has a CBRN unit. Both PGK and FRU teams handle CBRN calls, before an army PNBK unit responds.[15]


The Spanish Army 1st CBRN Regiment 'Valencia' was formed in March 2005.Training in the defence against CBRN agents as part of combat support is the main aim of exercise 'Grifo' (Griffin) – the most important of this type that the Army undertakes. The National Police and the Spanish Civil Guard have their own CBRN units. The Military Emergencies Unit and emergency services have CBRN training.[16] [17]

United Kingdom

CBRN is also used by the UK Home Office as a civil designation.[18] Police, fire and ambulance services in the UK must all have some level of CBRN providers. Within the ambulance service this is performed by the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) and Special Operations Response Team (SORT). Since the introduction of new equipment to UK fire services under the New Dimension programme, CBRN decontamination of personnel (including members of the public) has become a task carried out by fire services in the UK and they regularly train for such scenarios.

United States

The United States Army uses CBRN as an abbreviation for their Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Operations Specialists (MOS). The United States Army trains all US Army soldiers pursuing a career in CBRN at the United States Army CBRN School (USACBRNS) at Fort Leonard Wood.

The USAF uses Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC 3E9X1) U.S. Air Force Emergency Management, who are also CBRN Specialists. The USAF trains all US Airmen pursuing a career in counter-CBRN operations at the USAF CBRN School at Fort Leonard Wood.

The USMC uses CBRN as an abbreviation for two military occupational specialties. The Marine Corps runs a CBRN School to train Marine CBRN Defense Officers and Marine CBRN Defense Specialists at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. See also: Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (USMC CBIRF)

The USN requires all personnel to take a web-based CBRNE training annually to get a basic understanding of facts and procedures related to responding to a CBRNE incident.

The Russian Federation

In May 2012, BioPrepWatch reported that the Russian security service ordered over 100 "capsule cradles", which are devices that people can use to protect infants or even small pets in the event of a nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological threat. According to the article, Soviet military engineers invented the capsules in the 1960s. A company is currently producing the capsules in a factory in Russia.[19]

CBRN Products

Numbers vary, but news reports and market forecast reports place the market for CRBN products in 2013 and 2014 between $8.7-8.8 billion.[20][21] The market for CBRN products is expected to grow to over $13 billion by the year 2023.[20] CBRN manufacturers include Argon Electronics, Blucher GmbH, Bruker, FLIR Systems, HDT Global, MSA, Research International, and TSI.

  • Argon Electronics makes CBRN detection simulator called RADSIM 44-9-SIM that personnel can use in training exercises.[22]
  • Blucher GmbH produces a two-piece CBRN protective suit called the SCDF CBRN Protective Suit that gives first responders 24-hour protection against environmental threats.[23]
  • Bruker produces ion-mobility spectrometry technology for military and security personnel that separates, identifies and analyzes ionized molecules present in gas.[24]
  • FLIR Systems produces several handheld detection equipment devices, each for chemical, radiation, biological and explosives detection.[25]
  • HDT Global produces an air filtration system called ColPro Filtration that government forces can install in buildings, ships and vehicles to remove CBRN threats from the air.[26]
  • MSA produces the Safe Escape CBRN Respirator, a hood that filters CBRN particles for use by personnel responding to a terrorist incident.[27]
  • Research International creates a sensor system, called the ASAP V For Critical Infrastructure Protection, for subways and other public areas that uses multi-sensor surveillance technology that detects the presence of CBRN particles.[28]
  • CBRNE Tech Index sells top manufacturer CBRN products. CBRNE Tech Index is powered by MRIGlobal. .[29]
  • TSI makes technology called Bioaerosol Triggers that collect CBRN environmental samples for to identify and confirm threats.[30]

See also


  1. "THE CBRN DEFENCE MARKET 2011-2021". visiongain. Retrieved 30 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "CBRNe hosted buyer - IB Consultancy". ib-consultancy.eu. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. GUIDON staff (6 March 2014). "Army CBRN School, Chemical Corps bids farewell to 27th Chief of Chemical". army.mil. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Calgary Health Region CBRN Training
  5. [1]
  6. Hong Kong’s Response to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Attack (PDF), retrieved 3 April 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "CBRNe World "Fighting Dirty"". Spring 2008. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "SRPG fact sheet" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "India's first NBC recce vehicle launched in Pune". dna. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "CBRNe World Convergence - All Hazards Response 2013, Dublin". 16 April 2013. Department of Defence (Ireland). Retrieved 4 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Annual Report of An Garda Síochána 2009" (PDF). An Garda Síochána. Retrieved 13 July 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Glimpse through the gates of hell". Daily Mail (Ireland). 17 November 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Boyle, Darren. "Gardai get 'dirty bomb' protection". 29 March 2007. The Mirror (UK). Retrieved 4 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Bernama (April 2011). "PNBK 3D capable handling terrorist threats". Penerangan. Retrieved 11 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Thompson, Leroy (December 2008). "Malaysian Special Forces". Special Weapons. Retrieved 11 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 1st Regiment 'Valencia' Opens the ‘Tap’ to CBRN Defence. Spanish Army. Retrieved 2011-12-01
  17. (Spanish) UMR, CBRN training. Spanish Defense. Retrieved 2011-12-01
  18. UK Resilience - Emergencies - CBRN
  19. Purlain, Ted (29 May 2013). "Russian security service orders VIP CBRN-proof baby cradles". BioPrepWatch. Retrieved 6 June 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 20.0 20.1 Sievers, Lisa (3 March 2014). "SDI predicts CBRN market will surpass $13.69 billion by 2023". BioPrepWatch. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "CBRN Defence Market Forecast 2014-2024". visiongain. London, U.K. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Cohen, Bryan (11 March 2014). "Argon launches new CBRN detection simulator". BioPrepWatch. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "SCDF CBRN PROTECTIVE SUIT". Blucher. Erkrath, Germany. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. "Ion Mobility Spectrometry". Bruker Corporation. Billerica, Massachusetts. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "FLIR Detection & Protection". FLIR Systems. Wilsonville, Oregon. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "CBRN/ColPro Filtration". HDT Global. Solon, Ohio. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Safe Escape CBRN Respirator". MSA United States. Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. "CBRN Products". Research International, Inc. Monroe, Washington. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "CBRNE Tech Index". CBRNE Tech Index. Kansas City, MO. Retrieved 21 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Safety and Homeland Security (CBRN Defense)". TSI. Shoreview, Minnesota. Retrieved 24 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Eldridge, John, ed. (2006). Jane's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense 2006–2007 (19th ed.). Coulsdon, Surrey, UK; Alexandria, Va.: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2763-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Hart, Benjamin C.; Garrett, John (2007). Historical Dictionary of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-5484-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Includes bibliographical essay. Review

External links