7th CSC transforms CBRN response in Europe

771st, 772nd, 774th CST inactivated; Soldiers and assets reassigned to 773rd CST

By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Chlosta
7th CSC Public Affairs Office

VOGELWEH, Germany – The 7th Civil Support Command inactivated the 771st, 772nd and 774th Civil Support Teams during a short ceremony Sept. 18.

As the U.S. Army faces an environment of constrained resources, many commands are finding ways to do more with less.

“While we inactivated some critical units in our inventory, we expanded our remaining Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear response assets while filling gaps in other portions of our strategy,” said Brig. Gen. Paul M. Benenati, the commanding general of the 7th CSC and a native of Mechanicsville, Va. “What you have just witnessed is [an] orderly and responsible transformation and progress as we move towards the vision of Army Reserve and Army 2020.”

The mission of the 7th CSC is to provide mission command and response forces to assist European partners in the areas of disaster response, consequence management and humanitarian assistance should such an incident occur that exceeds the capability of a host nation’s resources.

According to Benenati, the CSTs were established to provide an immediate response capability in response to a man-made or natural disaster involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear agents, where they serve as the advance incident party as part of Joint Task Force Consequence Management.

The command’s remaining CST, the 773rd, is the only Army CST operating outside the continental United States and is the only CBRN asset remaining in U.S. Army Europe.

Months prior to the official ceremony many of the Soldiers from the three inactivated CST’s were assumed by the 7th CSC’s 773rd CST, where the CBRN trained Soldiers conducted annual training and monthly battle assemblies under the mentorship of the 773rd CST Active/Guard Reserve Soldiers.

“While we have deactivated three of these units today, our capability to respond to an incident has not diminished,” Benenati said. “In this period of unprecedented budgetary challenges facing our government, by inactivating these units, we have actually been able to increase our response strategy in other areas without costing the taxpayers one dime. We used the assets from these three organizations to almost double the size of our remaining CST, the 773rd CST. The 773rd CST is now the only civil support team operating and stationed outside of the United States”

“By adding a troop program unit of Army Reserve Soldiers to our existing 773rd CST, we meet this objective and now have a built-in capability for reinforcements for larger or prolonged incidents,” Benenati said. “We used other personnel assets from these inactivating CSTs to enhance the sustainment capability of our response strategy by building a maneuver control battalion which will aide in the movement of personnel and relief supplies coming from a variety of sources into the affected area. This inactivation does not limit our capability; it actually enhances our overall response strategy by filling in some of the gaps for services and functions.”

The 7th CSC’s response strategy principle is a tiered and scalable response to rapidly, efficiently and effectively assist a request from a host nation partner to contain and mitigate the effects of an incident.

“We don’t take this obligation lightly and today’s ceremony illustrates another chapter in our commitment to our European host nation partners that we will be ready to stand side-by-side with them when needed,” Benenati said. “For it is not a matter of if one of these incidents will occur, it is a matter of when.”

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