REASONS FOR DECON
weapons used simultaneously. However, chemical or
biological weapons effectiveness is increased if used
following a nuclear attack. Nuclear blast casualties
You must have a good idea of the reasons for
and psychologically stressed troops are vulnerable to
decon and the types/techniques of decon. You must
a CBR agent attack. Agents could enter collective
assess your tactical situation and consider your decon
protective shelters, communication facilities, and
resources within the context of mission, enemy,
vehicles damaged by the nuclear detonation.
terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T). You
must know the principles of decon and know how
W h e n CBR contamination hazards exist,
decon affects your combat power. Protective clothing
decontaminate the chemical agents first. Chemical
and equipment (MOPP gear) and collective protection
agents are normally the most lethal and fastest acting
shelters offer only a temporary solution. Decon is a
type of contamination. The decon methods for
more permanent solution because it includes the
chemical agents are also effective for neutralizing or
contamination. When you have become contaminated,
The reverse is not true.
there are practical reasons why at least some decon
must occur as soon as possible. You must use these
decon concepts in selecting the best action to take to
The enemy may use a mixture of agents in their
accomplish your mission.
Such mixtures could be used to achieve the following
Decon should be considered within the context of
METT-T and resources available. The four factors
1. Lower the freezing point of the agents and
that must be addressed before you decide to
increase agent persistency, such as mustard lewisite
decontaminate are as follows:
2. Create both percutaneous (through the skin) and
inhalation hazards, such as thickened GD and GB.
3. Complicate agent identification of mixed
agents, making treatment of casualties more difficult.
4. Combine agents with both immediate and
Transfer and spread
long-term persistency, such as anthrax, with an
incubation period of 1 to 5 days and histoplasmosis
(pulmonary infection disease) with an incubation
period of 5 to 18 days.
kill or incapacitate if they contact exposed skin for a
There is no field detecting system that can detect or
few minutes. If your skin becomes contaminated, you
must stop breathing, mask, give the alarm, and
decontaminate your skin immediately. Periodically,
different challenge. This challenge can be dealt with
if standard chemical decon measures are followed at
can be used for toxins and biological agents as well as
MOPP (mission-oriented protective posture) gear
against these hazards.
provides protection but also degrades performance.
The longer you are in MOPP 4, the lower your
efficiency. Using tools and weapons while wearing
Do not base decon measures solely upon the first
hazard identified. Make sure you check thoroughly to
the protective gloves is awkward. The mask reduces
identify all agent hazards. When specific agents are
your field of view, making it difficult to use some
optical sights and night vision devices. Extended
detected, take appropriate decon measures.