Story by Marty Schaeffer on 06/18/2019AUCKLAND, New Zealand Members of the Defense Nuclear Weapons School (DNWS) at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico recently participated in a unique international training event, Kiwi Resolve, led by the Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) and the U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC). Along with DNWS, experts from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3rd MAW), U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the Royal New Zealand Army, Australia Defense Forces, and elements of the Royal Thai Army, Philippine Army and the Malaysian Army trained side by side at RNZAF Base Auckland, Apr. 7-12, 2019.
Kiwi Resolve focused on improving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) response operations and integration in disaster response; assisting partner nations in developing tactics and procedures to decontaminate people, vehicles and aircraft; and procedures to develop Force Health Protection guidance for military forces supporting civilian-led disaster response operations. Beginning with a two-day subject matter expert exchange and culminating in a hands-on training exercise for 70 partner nation responders, the participants also included civilian responders, such as the Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Auckland Council, and the Ministry of Health.
Invited to participate as subject matter experts by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and U.S. Army-Pacific, the DNWS team provided specialized instruction on radiological detection and decontamination techniques, designed to teach the safe decontamination of rotary-wing aircraft. During the two day hands-on exercise, DNWS members leveraged their expertise in the radiological and nuclear response field by assisting the New Zealand government ensuring all participants were "clean," meaning free of contaminants, before leaving the exercise area.
"This was our first time working directly with New Zealand in this type of training event," said one of the DNWS instructors. "We had an excellent exchange of information, and we will continue to support our combatant commands in their areas of responsibilities as they seek to improve CBRN response and Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction capabilities with our allies and partners."
According to Squadron Leader Ivan Green, the Commanding Officer of the Operations Squadron at RNZAF Base Auckland, the event allowed experts in CBRN and health fields to share their knowledge and experience with the New Zealand Defense Forces. Participants benefitted from the multi-partner, cross-agency interaction, and were able to rapidly assimilate and integrate the U.S. methods of aircraft decontamination.
"From this exercise we developed skills and knowledge to enhance the survival skills of our personnel if they find themselves facing this hazard," Green said.
DNWS provides education and training in support of U.S. geographic combatant commanders, as well as federal, state and local agencies in the areas of radiological and nuclear hazards. This includes training on responding to a radiological or nuclear incident safely and competently. For more information, visit the DNWS website at: https://dnws.dtra.mil/
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency enables DoD, the U.S. Government, and international partners to counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threats networks.
The Defense Nuclear Weapons School provides nuclear weapons core competencies and radiological/nuclear WMD training and education to DOD, interagency organizations, and international partners, to ensure a strong nuclear deterrence, prepare an effective accident/incident response force, and enable countering of WMD-CBRN threats.