The US military will have its first task force in place this fall that is specially trained to respond quickly to a domestic attack featuring a biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon. Stars and Stripes reported April 27 that Air Force Gen. Victor Renuart Jr., commander of US Northern Command, said the brigade-sized unit will stand ready to assist local authorities in the event of such an attack. The 4,000 to 4,500 members of the unit will have specialties in areas such as medicine, logistics, and airlift. There will also be small decontamination teams. Although the personnel will be stationed at various bases around the country, they will train together so that “they’re not exchanging business cards at a disaster” when they come together, Renuart told the newspaper. He also said he’d like to see NORTHCOM expand its use of unmanned aerial vehicles over the continental US. They have already proved their worth in helping firefighters battle wildfires and border patrol agents surveil the nation’s boundaries, he said.
As the Air Force presses forward with its concept of agile combat employment, relying on small teams of multi-capable Airmen to operate in austere locations and move quickly, the service’s surgeon general is considering ways the Air Force’s medical personnel can also become “increasingly modular, lighter, [and] leaner.”