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Office of Emerging Threats

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The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Office website has been updated to reflect realignment of the CBRN Office to Office of Emerging Threats (OET). All preexisting CBRN tools, products, and documents will remain available under the OET banner.

Our Mission

The mission of Office of Emerging Threats (OET) is to identify, assess, and inform FEMA and its mission partners of emerging threats that may significantly challenge the Nation’s core capabilities for incident response and recovery.

View Office of Emerging Threats Factsheet

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What We Do

Emerging threats such as cyber-attacks, climate change, new weapons of mass destruction technologies, etc., bring new challenges to FEMA’s response and recovery mission. Such threats require closer and proactive linkages between intelligence, data analytics, and assessed risk to drive FEMA and mission partner response and recovery capability development, planning, and operations.

For more than a decade, ORR’s CBRN Office has successfully built, deployed, and sustained a series of capabilities, a comprehensive relationship network, and a multi-component risk management framework that have helped guide FEMA and its mission partners in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from CBRN incidents.

The new OET will maintain existing CBRN Office capabilities while applying a similar benchmarked approach to identify, assess, and address the challenges posed by the highly dynamic and novel emerging threat environment.

Access All Tools Sponsored by the OET

Contact

Email FEMA-OET@fema.dhs.gov with questions or comments.

Policy

National Response Framework

The CBRN Annexes to the National Response Framework provide guidance and serve as a reference for federal agency planning efforts.

Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee

The Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee (FRPCC), established in 1982 under 44 CFR 351, coordinates all federal responsibilities for assisting state and local governments in emergency planning and preparedness for peacetime nuclear emergencies.

Response Operations

Domestic Emergency Support Team (DEST) and Consequence Management Coordination Unit (CMCU)

During a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) incident or credible threat, the Domestic Emergency Support Team (DEST) provides expert advice, guidance and support to the FBI Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) or Special Agent in Charge (SAC). The Consequence Management Coordination Unit (CMCU) is a national level incident support element responsible for strategic consequence management decision support to the FEMA Administrator, the FBI WMD Strategic Group (SG), and provides reach back support to the DEST. OET staff provide subject matter expertise and support to the DEST and CMCU.

Nuclear/Radiological Incident Task Force

The Nuclear/Radiological Incident Task Force (NRITF) is an interagency group that convenes within FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) to provide specialized subject matter expertise during R/N incidents. The NRITF provides technical insight and advice; conducts outreach to facilitate situational awareness and incident characterization; supports interagency planning; and informs senior leader decision-making. The Task Force is comprised of R/N subject matter experts (SMEs) with emergency management expertise, who represent several key federal departments/agencies (D/As) and other organizations responsible for providing capabilities and resources in support of R/N incident response/recovery.

Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) 

During actual or potential atmospheric hazardous material (HAZMAT) incidents, the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) provides federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (FSLTT) first responders and decisionmakers with predictions of hazards associated with atmospheric releases. IMAAC coordinates and shares federal atmospheric dispersion modeling and hazard prediction products by its Core Member agencies to provide consistent federal plume modeling information to FSLTT requestors.

View the IMAAC webpage

Nuclear Incident Response Team (NIRT)

During disasters involving nuclear weapons, radiological incidents, or acts of nuclear terrorism, the Nuclear Incident Response Team (NIRT) is activated by the Department of Homeland Security FEMA office and operates under their direction, authority, and control. The NIRT consists of 13 Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security (NNSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specialized assets that perform support functions related to nuclear or radiological emergencies, radiation exposure, radiological assistance, and related activities.

View Nuclear Incident Response Team Factsheet

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CBRN Operations Support Specialists

Standardizing CBRN Responders across our nation through FEMA's National Qualification System.

Radiological Operations Support Specialist (ROSS)
During hazardous radiological preparedness or response operations, the Radiological Operations Support Specialist (ROSS) identifies and provides critical information to responders, key leaders, and decision-makers. The ROSS is a state and local subject matter expert (SME) with the ability to bridge the gap between response and radiological knowledge in order to minimize the impact of a potential or actual incident involving the release of radiological or nuclear materials. The ROSS can deploy as a single asset or strike team depending on the need by contacting fema-ross@fema.dhs.gov.

Chemical Operations Support Specialist (COSS)
During hazardous chemical preparedness or response operations, the Chemical Operations Support Specialist (COSS) will identify and provide critical information to responders, key leaders, and decision-makers. The COSS will be a state and local subject matter expert (SME) with the ability to bridge together response and chemical knowledge in order to minimize the impact of a potential or actual incident involving the release of hazardous chemicals.

Hazardous Material Lifeline

The Hazardous Materials Lifeline is part of the Community Lifelines Toolkit developed by FEMA to increase effectiveness in disaster operations and better respond to catastrophic incidents. Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) is one of the seven Community Lifelines. HAZMAT is present in most communities around the country. HAZMAT can represent a serious threat to public safety, the environment, and critical infrastructure operations if negatively impacted by an incident, including potential contamination, exposure, combustion, and/or explosive effects.

Leadership

Joselito Ignacio, Acting Director