Thursday, February 05, 2004

NATO

An update on the new NATO rapid-reaction squad:

NATO is creating a special rapid-reaction brigade in response to fears that its military units as well as civilians could be attacked by terrorists with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

At least 13 member nations, including the United States, have enrolled in the battalion, which is expected to be operational this summer.

"The battalion can be deployed individually or together with other units," said Petr Pavel, the Czech Republic's deputy commander of joint forces.

"Possible operational scenarios include threat or real use of [weapons of mass destruction] against military or civil objectives, industry accidents of great scale, outflows of dangerous materials caused by natural catastrophes, etcetera," he said.

The Czech army, renowned for expertise in weapons of mass destruction, is to take the lead in training the battalion.

The U.S. military will be committing a biology lab, a team that will collect air and ground samples, and a decontamination team that will be able to cleanse people, rooms and vehicles, Czech officials said.


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