23rd Weapons of Mass Destruction
Civil Support Team(CBRNE)

The Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team (WMD-CST) Program is a homeland defense measure, intended to help prepare the United States against terrorist use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or High Yield Explosive (CBRNE) weapon of mass destruction on domestic soil.

The team is made up of 22 full-time personnel, incorporating 14 military specialties, both Army and Air National Guard. Each team member must undergo some of the most rigorous military and civilian training, both physically and mentally. These teams utilize a combination of military and specialized civilian equipment. All teams must be certified by the Secretary of Defense in order to be fully mission capable. The 23rd WMD-CST is fully mission capable and was certified on 1 June 2009.

The 23rd WMD-CST’s mission is to rapidly deploy, under order of the Territorial Adjutant General, by land, air, and sea to provide support to the Governor of the US Virgin Islands, Incident Commander, and other civil authorities, in the event of a confirmed or suspected Terrorism CBRNE WMD incident, by rapidly identifying agents/substances, assessing current and projected consequences, advising on response measures, and assisting with appropriate requests for state support.


To support civil authorities at a domestic CBRNE incident site with identification and assessment of hazards, advice to civil authorities, and facilitating the arrival of follow-on military forces during emergencies and incidents of WMD terrorism, intentional and unintentional release of CBRN materials and natural or man-made disasters in the United States the result in, or could result in, catastrophic loss of life or property. WMD CSTs complement and enhance, but do not duplicate, State CBRNE response capabilities.

Overview: The Adjutant General either employs the WMD CST to support the state response under the direction of the governor or to support another state’s response under a supported governor. The WMD CST is comprised of 22 full-time, Title 32 AGR Army and Air National Guard personnel. The structure of the unit is divided into six sections: command, operations, communications, administration/logistics, medical/analytical, and survey.

Each WMD CST deploys, within 3 hours of notification, to an incident site using its organic assigned vehicles which includes a command vehicle, operations trailer, a communications platform 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 characterization of the hazard) and several general purpose vehicles. The WMD CST can also be moved by air, rail, commercial line haul or ship.
23rd CST Heraldry

A modified version of the Coat of Arms of the United States, located on the obverse of the Great Seal, authenticates our country’s unity and our stand on defending the freedoms of the Homeland. The American eagle is also a symbol of strength and vigilance. The two stars represent the Adjutant General, the command level in each State to which these units report. The ten spears represent the Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams (WMD-CST) located in the ten response regions of the United States. The spears also represent the organization’s heightened military readiness posture and that they are the initial military response to any WMD attacks as each WMD-CST is the first unit sent to assess the situation, provide advice and support to civil authorities. The azure field represents the unit’s ability to conduct continuous day and night operations and the red border signifies the resolve to protect and save lives. The total design signifies the importance of the Teams’ mission to the peace and security in defense of our country.


Identify Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear agents and substances, assess current and projected consequences, advise on response  measures and assist with requests for additional support

• Operations mandated by Statue

• Receive more than 600 hours of high-tech training by agencies such as Federal Emergency Management Agency, Dept. of Energy, Dept. of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency

• 57 CSTs are located in each state and U.S. territory and Washington D.C.; two in CA, NY and FL

• 55 certified CSTs, remaining two in certification program during FY10.

• Under control of the Governor, alert and on standby 24/7/365

• Deployable within 90 minutes (advance team); main body deployable within three hours

• Operates high tech equipment including a specialized/secure communications vehicle (Unified Command Suite), and a mobile analytical laboratory system with a full suite of chemical, biological, and radiological analysis equipment

Example of CST Operations:
• 2001 World Trade Center response, Space Shuttle Columbia recovery, Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Hurricane Katrina recovery, and various National and State Special Security events.

• Federally resourced, trained, equipped, and sustained, yet state controlled