Current Weather
The Spy FM

U.S. Troops Train For Possible Mission To Secure Syrian Chemical Agents

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
March 13, 2013

Several weeks ago, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the U.S. is planning on what to do about Syria’s vast chemical weapons program, once Bashar Assad’s regime falls. The Syrians are believed to have hundreds of tons of chemical agents, including sarin, one of the deadliest chemical agents. A few drops can be lethal.

So the central question is this: How can those sites be secured so they don’t fall into the wrong hands?

NPR has learned that the 82nd Airborne Division just wrapped up a nine-day training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., working with Army chemical experts, from the 20th Support Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, to get ready for a possible mission to deal with those deadly chemicals in Syria.

Thousands of paratroopers jumped in, practiced fighting a foe, surrounded buildings. They wore chemical protective gear, practiced using chemical detectors and corralled mock chemical munitions for containment.

“In support of our roles to the Global Response Force mission, we are taking prudent measures to ensure we are trained and ready for any mission we are called to execute based on volatile regions across the world,” says Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe, a spokeswoman for the 82nd.

As part of that global response, the 82nd always has a brigade on a “short string,” ready to deploy in 18 hours.

Officials say that U.S. Central Command, whose responsibility includes Syria, has not ordered any unit to take on this mission. But the Army and the paratroopers want to be ready — just in case.

If the paratroopers are called upon to do the Syrian mission, they envision a post-Assad situation, where they are invited in by a new government, though they might have to be aware of certain hostile elements, or militias that could put up a fight, what the military calls “uncertain conditions.”

Officials say the exercise revealed gaps in training and equipment. Now the 82nd is consolidating equipment, such as chemical detectors and alarms as well as decontaminants — just in case the call comes to move out. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

Listen Live Now!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center