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NEWS | Dec. 20, 2019

33rd CST evaluated as fully mission capable

The District of Columbia National Guard’s 33rd Civil Support Team was recently evaluated as fully trained on 12 essential collective tasks after conducting a Training Proficiency Evaluation at Fort Lee in Colonial Heights, Va.

The evaluation was supervised by U.S. Army North’s Civil Support Readiness Group-East in order to validate the unit’s level of readiness.

The team plays a critical role in ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s capital.

“They provide vital command and control communications capability for first responders and on-scene law enforcement, fire fighters and medical personnel and provide the capability to detect chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear active and precursor materials, said Brig. Gen. Mark A. Maldonado, Joint Force Headquarters and District of Columbia Air National Guard commander. “This preventive capability has been in constant service to the National Capital Region for years. We are at every major D.C. event and we are proud to serve.”

The mission of the 33rd CST is to support civil authorities in a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incident, and the evaluated tasks included deploying the team, establishing communications and medical support, conducting survey, technical decontamination and analytical functions as well as conducting interagency coordination.

Approximately every 18 months, the 33rd CST conducts an external evaluation, and they are evaluated on 12 different collective tasks including deploying the team, establishing communications and medical support, conducting technical decontamination, CBRN assessments and analytical functions as well as conducting interagency coordination.

The 33rd CST is one of 57 such units in the country and is equipped with a wide range of the latest military and commercial equipment CBRN equipment. It is made up of 22 full-time Army and Air National Guard personnel who bring a wide range of military skills as well as career experience from the civilian sector. The unit is divided into six sections: command, operations, communications, administration/logistics, medical/analytical and survey.

Each team member completes between 500 and 900 hours of specialized training during their first year of assignment and continues advanced training throughout their tenure with multiple agencies including the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the National Fire Academy, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

A unit’s assigned transportation includes a command vehicle, operations trailer, a communications vehicle called the unified command suite which provides a broad spectrum of secure communications capabilities, an analytical laboratory system vehicle containing a full suite of analysis equipment to support the complete characterization of an unknown hazard and several general purpose vehicles. The CST normally deploys using its assigned vehicles, but it can be airlifted as required.