CBRNE Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Enhanced Weaponry – Introduction into CBRNE

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Pinterest Email Plusone Stumbleupon Digg

CBRNE GuideThis guide outlines SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Enhanced Conventional Weapons) exposure. In our previous guides we outlined statistical data for Nuclear, Viral/Biological, and Chemical Warfare, while providing a basic outline of symptoms and treatment. In this manual we will further outline CBNRE, Containment Response and Treatment, when employed by enemy combatants in much greater detail. Here, we will overview CBRNE methodology likely to be used during war and terrorist attacks.


CBRNE Chemical Warfare Agents

Nerve Agents – Nerve agents are organic chemicals that disrupt nerve message transfers to its victims’ organs, caused by an enzyme that subdues neurotransmitters. CBRNE Nerve Agents are classified as WMD’s (Weapons of Mass Destruction) by the United States and the UN. Known nerve agents include; cyclosarin, sarin GB, soman, tabun, VX, and VR. Accompanied by the following symptoms within 2 – 18 hours;

  • Pupil pinpointing, blurred vision, intense sweating and secretions, muscle spasms/twitching, seizures, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, loss of consciousness , headache and dyspnea (SOB Shortness of Breath)

Blood Agents – Blood agents are toxic chemical agents that are absorbed into the victims’ bloodstream. These agents enter the bloodstream via colorless volatile odorless gases that are ingested or inhaled. As a chemical weapon Blood Agents are disseminated as aerosols, taking effect through inhalation. Known blood agents include; arsine, cyanogen chloride/hydrogen cyanide. Accompanied by the following symptoms upon ingestion;

  • Rosacea, possible cyanosis, confusion, nausea, airway constriction, metabolic acidosis, seizures prior to death

Blister Agents – Blister agents or vesicant agents are acid-forming compounds that cause severe skin, eye and mucosal pain and irritation. These agents commonly cause painful chemical burns and blisters on their victims. Blister agents topical affects are commonly brought on by an increase in photosensitivity caused by the presence of furanocoumarin. Known nerve agents include; sulfur mustard (mustard gas), nitrogen mustard, lewisite, and phosgene oxime. Accompanied by the following symptoms within 4 – 6 hours (Lewisite based blister agent symptoms are immediate);

  • Severe skin, eye and mucosal pain and irritation, skin erythema with large fluid filled blisters that lead to infection, tearing, conjunctivitis (inflammation or redness of the lining of the white part of the eye and inside the eyelid), and respiratory distress

Cytotoxic Proteins – These proteins enter the eukaryotic cells and catalytically inactivate protein synthesis (the process in which biological cells generate new proteins). When these fusions are genetically engineered with cell-binding ligands (binding molecule) they will kill specifically targeted cells in their victims. These proteins are not common and unlikely to be deployed due to their level of effectiveness. Known cytotoxic proteins include; ricin and abrin. Accompanied by the following symptoms over the course of 4 – 24 hours;

  • Flu-like signs and symptoms within the first 8 hours, after 8 hours the victim will experience nausea, coughing, dyspnea, pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs)

Choking and Pulmonary Agents – Agents such as these are similar to Blood Agents, pulmonary agents are acid-forming but cause more damage to the respiratory system. Pulmonary agents will flood the respiratory system causing the victim to suffocate. Known pulmonary agents include; chlorine, hydrogen chloride, nitrogen oxides, and phosgene. Accompanied by the following symptoms within 30 minutes;

  • Eye/skin/airway irritation, dyspnea, sore throat, cough, tightness of chest, wheezing, and bronchospasm (spasm of bronchial muscle producing narrowing of the bronchi)

Incapacitating – Incapacitating agents cause atropine-like (atropine is a poisonous alkaloid compound commonly found in plants) inhibition of acetylcholine in its victims, causing peripheral nervous system effects in opposition to nerve agents. Known agent includes Agent 15 BZ. Accompanied by the following symptoms when inhaled or absorbed within 30 minutes to 36 hours;

  • Drug intoxication mimicking effects that include hallucinations, hypothermia, ataxia (lack of coordination), dilated pupils, and dry mouth/skin.

Other Agents – There are several agents that have been used by global military forces that include Agent Orange that contained dioxins that manufacture impurities and long-term cancerous affects. Known effects of Agent Orange include; gastrointestinal distress, neurological function disabling, genitourinary, psychiatric disorders, metabolic failure, skin trauma, vision impairment and etc.

CBRNE BW Biological Warfare

Biological weapons are a challenge for any survival minded individual who wishes to be adequately prepared. The risk of a biological attack is that it will not likely be detected for weeks. This means it could have already affected the entire population before a thing could be done about it.  Therefore, your disaster preparedness and response planning could be rendered ineffective. Theoretically we would assume a global state of tension and increased war-like offensive posturing would indicate a likely attack. In this case your preparedness planning should be enacted.

These biological agents are realized by bacteria, viruses and fungi that kill and/or incapacitate its victims. They are often used during war and bio-terror attacks to gain a tactical advantage over a targeted populace. Not only does the threat of bio-terrorism loom ever-present on the horizon but the accidental release of biological agents does too. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), which is an inefficient government bureaucracy, houses all known bio-terrorism agents.

Pathogens – Pathogens are infectious diseases caused by microorganisms such as; bacteria, protozoa and viruses. These microorganisms are not fully functioning organisms but carry deadly genetic information. There is no real ‘up-to-date’ list of known pathogens due to their mutative properties and new organisms that are produced due to genetic tampering. Known pathogens likely to be used in a bio-terrorism attack include; anthrax, tularemia, plague caused by Yersinia pestis, smallpox, Ebola, crop affective pathogens, and other man-made or naturally occurring influenza strains. Viruses such as Ebola are often accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • Characterized by general malaise, fever with chills, arthralgia and myalgia, and chest pain. Nausea is accompanied by abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhea, and vomiting. Respiratory tract involvement is characterized by pharyngitis with sore throat, cough, dyspnea, and hiccups. The central nervous system is affected as judged by the development of severe headaches, agitation, confusion, fatigue, depression, seizures, and sometimes death

Toxins – Toxins are poisonous substances that occur naturally, while extremely lethal in small doses. Due to the inexpensive nature of these toxins they are much more likely to be used for biological warfare. Some possible toxins include; ricin, botulism toxin, and alfatoxin. Toxins such as botulism are often accompanied by the following symptoms;

  • Difficulty swallowing and speaking, dry mouth, facial weakness, blurred vision, eyelid drooping, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and paralysis.

CBRNE Radiological and Nuclear

Radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) are improvised explosive devices, also called “dirty bombs,” but can include non-explosive devices that could be used to spread radioactive material as well. It is not necessary to use a bomb to disperse radioactive materials; these materials come in solids, liquids, and powdered forms, which can be spread throughout a population discretely without detection. The major impact of a dirty bomb is produced by the blast and the fear and panic that will ensue. RDDs produce the following symptoms in as little as 10 minutes (based upon the amount of exposure) and can last as long as 4 weeks if not resulting in death;

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, dizziness, disorientation, weakness/fatigue, hairloss, bloody vomit/stools, infections, immune system deficiency, low blood pressure

In addition to RDDs there is the threat of Nuclear War. For further information you can read the usCrow Nuclear Warfare Survival Guide.

CBRNE Enhanced Conventional Weaponry

Enhanced conventional weapons such as a thermobaric weapon, which includes the type known as a “fuel-air bomb“, is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of casualties and causes more damage to structures. There are many different variants of thermobaric weapons rounds that can be fitted to hand held launchers, such as rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank weapons

Continue to CBRN Response, Containment and Decontamination Guide


This article has been read [9293] times.

1 vote

About 2LT Website Administrator

Retired health resources analyst and county level emergency manager with specialized training in NIMS/BICS/IICS/Executive ICS/Multi-agency Coordination. Still relatively young I left the service of the federal government due to increasing concerns.

One thought on “CBRNE Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Enhanced Weaponry – Introduction into CBRNE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.