Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

An All Hazards Training Center for a Catastrophic Emergency

Xavier Stewart

December 2009

The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College


Since assuming command in 1998 of the first Civil Support Team (CST) Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Colonel Stewart witnessed and experienced dramatic changes in homeland security theory, policy, and practice. The most significant changes have occurred since the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, which violently demonstrated how turbulent today’s world strategic environment is. Widely available chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high yield explosive, and cyberspace security materials, technologies, and equipment often have dual uses. Preventing rogue states and terrorist organizations from acquiring these materials is a necessary but formidable challenge. Additionally, the cyber domain has grown tremendously and may be used to target key infrastructure and resources. In addition to these threats, dramatic weather changes have caused unusual and devastating shifts in weather patterns, which in turn have triggered catastrophic events. The establishment of All-Hazard Training Centers in the 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions to train civil support team weapons of mass destruction emergency responders for chemical, biological radiological, nuclear, explosive, and cyberspace events or natural catastrophes are becoming a necessity in light of these threats.