decontamination of a unit and is performed in concert with the reconstitution effort.
Terrain decontamination presents a tremendous logistical burden, but, it may be necessary at fixed sites
such as railheads, depots, and so forth. This type of decontamination may be very limited, such as to
paths, specific buildings, piers, and docks. Terrain decon will occur only when absolutely required. If
terrain decontamination is required, expedient methods such as covering with earth or scraping could be
Contamination presents a very real problem on the battlefield. It can be lethal; it can be spread. MOPP
Gear degrades performance and has its limitations. When a unit has become contaminated, there are
practical reasons why at least some decontamination must occur as soon as possible.
PART A - DECONTAMINATION OPERATIONS DETERMINATION
Planning decontamination operations starts with an estimate of the situation. Adequate and practical
planning, as with any military undertaking, is essential to the success of a decontamination mission. The
extent of planning varies with the type of operation to be performed. For example, an extensive detailed
personnel and equipment decontamination operation will require more planning and coordination than
operational decontamination of a few vehicles.
According to the priorities established by the commander, those pieces of equipment and the areas that
are needed for the accomplishment of the mission must be decontaminated. A general guideline in
establishing priorities for decontamination is that those items needed first will be decontaminated first.
Upon completion of individual decontamination, and within priorities established by the commander,
porous surfaces contaminated with chemical agents should be decontaminated as quickly as possible
after contamination. Chemical agents may be absorbed into the surface and make effective
and decontamination of those items that are not needed immediately may be delayed to reduce the
hazard before beginning decontamination by other methods.
Decontamination is costly in terms of manpower, time, space, and materiel. The resources of
manpower, time, and material are critical to the commander's decision on how to sustain combat
operations. The commander must apply two concepts: Use of these resources and the ability to sustain
combat operations. The commander must know when, where, what, and how to perform decon. The
following principles are used to support decontamination: