Virginia Guard special response force selected to test new communications suite

RICHMOND, Va. – Soldiers and Airmen assigned to the Virginia National Guard’s Blackstone-based 34th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High Yield Explosives Enhanced Response Force Package, also known as CERFP (pronounced “Surf-P”), have been selected to test a new communications suite being issued to the National Guard CBRN Response Enterprise beginning in 2019. Approximately 30 Soldiers and Airmen are scheduled to participate in the new equipment testing.

The National Guard CRE Information Management System is primarily a system of record to provide National Guard Civil Support Teams, CERFPs and Homeland Response Forces with a standardized tactical-level Common Operating Picture and Situational Understanding tool for managing mission operations and information. The NG CIMS also provides a suite of software applications and end-user devices, which enable information between NG CRE forces and externally with other Department of Defense and civilian response partners.

“The National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Information Management System is a game changer as a Common Operating Picture for the Title 32 portion of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Response Enterprise,” said Scott A. White, HRF/CERFP branch chief, National Guard Bureau’s Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Division. “The platform for the first time allows for a common framework of hardware and software for the 57 CSTs, 17 CERFPs, and 10 HRFs. The Title 10 side of the CRE does not have this same level of capability and is looking at adopting NG CIMS as a capability to meet their needs as well.”

New equipment training will occur in Richmond, but the testing will be at the newly constructed Search and Extraction Training Area at Fort Pickett. The testing will include a full-scale integration of each of the end-user devices with simulated casualties and rescue missions.

“This will fundamentally change how we currently operate,” explained Capt. Andrew J. Czaplicki, deputy commander of the 34th CERFP. “This coverts all of our tactical processes from being tracked on dry erase boards to a completely digital system. It will be a challenging, but much needed change to propel the CRE [CBRN Response Enterprise] into a more connected future with our civilian counterparts.”

The NG CIMS provides the 34th CERFP with the ability to integrate position location information of personnel and CBRN sensor systems operating in the areas surrounding a disaster zone to provide real-time detection of potential CBRN threats to Soldiers and Airmen performing rescues.

The NG CIMS predecessor, the CST Information Management System, has been used multiple times to assist with National Guard Civil Support operations during domestic emergencies. The system was used during the marathon bombing response in Boston, Massachusetts, mud slide in Oso, Washington, the recent Papal Visit to the National Capital Region and the recent hurricanes affecting the southeastern United States.

NG CIMS issuance was originally included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 16, when the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives directed the Secretary of Defense to expand the CIMS to the CERFP and HRF programs.