The National Nuclear Security Administration Counterterrorism Operations Support (CTOS) team is credited with training more than 260,000 first responders in response and prevention of radiological terrorism threats. CTOS has worked with hundreds of agencies at state, local, territorial and tribal levels; however, perhaps less known is its work to support other federal departments. In recent years, CTOS has expanded to help develop training and course curriculum for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office. CWMD works to prevent weapons of mass destruction use against the U.S. through timely, responsive support to operational partners.
In early 2020, CTOS partnered with CWMD to provide support to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS) and Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) training academy. CTOS shared curriculum and national guidance documentation to federal partners, provided content for training modules and supplied radiological source support for FAMS and VIPR personnel receiving Preventive Radiological/Nuclear Detection (PRND) mission training at the Transportation Security Administration Training Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“I think one of the most important aspects of our mission, is to train the nation’s first responders at the state and local level,” said NNSS CTOS Manager Dave Pasquale. “Now, expanding that work to federal agencies, we’re able to develop continuity of operations across all levels of government.”
CTOS also provides training support to CWMD for its Securing the Cities (STC) Program. STC seeks to reduce the risk of a successful deployment of a radiological/nuclear terrorist weapon against a major metropolitan area in the U.S. This is executed by establishing sustainable capability within Global Nuclear Detection Architecture partner agencies to detect, analyze and report nuclear and other radioactive materials out of regulatory control within their jurisdictions.
The CTOS team provides FEMA-certified training to state and local agencies that perform the PRND mission; more than 65,000 first responders in all levels of the operation – including advanced team operations, maritime and team leader roles – have been trained.
Scheduled to resume training support with FAMS and VIPR teams this year, CTOS continues its national security support to all levels of government.
“We’re showing the federal community that we’re a resource, not only for radiological/nuclear response,” said Pasquale. “The training support we provide can easily be expanded to other federal agencies that have similar needs to the TSA.”
For more information about CTOS, visit http://www.ctosnnsa.org/.