Many Threat Forces have NBC weapons and are prepared to use them. The enemy's primary objective
for using NBC weapons is the same as that for conventional weapons. It produces casualties, destroys
or disables equipment, and disrupts operations. The contamination resulting from the enemy's use of
NBC weapons will cause casualties and restrict the use of equipment, terrain, and structures.
Contamination is the deposit and/or absorption of radioactive material or chemical or biological agents
on structures, areas, personnel, or objects. The longer the unit remains contaminated, the greater the
chance of NBC casualties. Conventional casualties may also increase because combat efficiency is
reduced. Timely and correct decontamination avoids problems, such as protective gear failure and heat
stress. Thus, decontamination reduces the number of casualties that may result from an NBC attack.
Decontamination is the process of making any person, object, or area safe by absorbing, neutralizing,
making harmless, or removing chemical or biological agents; removing radioactive material on or
around a decontaminated person; removal or neutralization of hazardous levels of NBC contamination
on personnel and materiel. The extent and timing of decontamination depend on the tactical situation,
the mission, the degree of contamination, and the decontamination resources available.
Successful decontamination requires that you understand the forms contamination takes and what makes
contamination dangerous. Different origins and forms of contamination create different hazards. This
lesson will provide you with a generalization of the major forms and origins of contaminating agents and
the fundamental principles upon which our decontamination techniques are based.
PART A - NBC CONTAMINATION CONCEPTS
The effects of NBC contamination range from denial of terrain, facilities, and equipment to casualties
from radiation or chemical and biological agents. Heat stress, due to troops wearing protective clothing,
reduces combat effectiveness. Contamination will hinder operations due to loss of time spent in
decontamination operations or in bypassing contaminated objects or terrain. NBC contamination will
tax the logistics system and cause a lack of support for operations, such as decontamination. Special
provisions will be required for eating, drinking, sleeping, and bodily functions.