Volume 31 - No. 6

Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth (left) during a briefing to the media on the capabilities of the 21st Civil Support Team (CST). Also pictured are Lt. Col. Gerard Gagnon (center), Commander, 21st CST and Master Sgt. Lisa Homan, First Sergeant, 21st CST. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA.

TAG's Message
By Maj. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth, The Adjutant General - New Jersey

As the dedicated and patriotic citizen-soldiers of our National Guard remain fully involved in both homeland defense and homeland security operations, we continue to move forward in the direction a new, more modern, leaner, meaner,
more capable military organization.

The latest addition to our joint force structure is the newly certified, fully functional 21st CST (Civil Support Team). New Jersey is one of the first states to have a level IV rated and qualified Civil Support Team (Heavy) capable of responding to potential threats from WMD (weapons of mass destruction) or other emergencies caused by floods, storms, natural disasters, or other catastrophes.

During their extensive and lengthy qualification procedure, the 22 members of the CST had to prove their mettle in a variety of extremely realistic and demanding simulated emergencies. Their individual skills and training were sorely tested, as was their overall ability to communicate and work effectively as a team. I’m proud to say they performed admirably during the entire process. New Jersey now has a highly specialized, state-of-the art emergency response resource ready and able to react quickly to local emergencies as well as potential terror threats.

There are no more important missions than homeland defense and homeland security. We must be both well prepared and vigilant. The CST also elevates the close cooperation and the good working relationship we’ve enjoyed with the Office of Emergency Management, the NJ State Police, the Office of Counter-terrorism, and other law enforcement/counter-terrorism organizations to a new level. Under the direction of the J-5/7 at HSCOE (Homeland Security Center of Excellence) the CST is fully capable of responding to any threat situation. Headquartered at Fort Dix and able to operate out of 8 vehicles and three trailers, the unit is completely mobile and can be airlifted to deploy quickly to areas
beyond driving range.

The CST brings highly skilled, professional personnel and a wide array of equally specialized equipment into our Guard. The Analytical Lab is capable of identifying more than 150,000 different toxic industrial chemicals and toxic industrial materials to include weapons grade nuclear material. The Lab has microscopic equipment capable of identifying biological
threats. The Unified Command Suite can provide 24/7 “real-time” communications with incident commanders or the Center for Disease Control (CDC) via satellite, UHF or VHF radio.

The CST already has proven its value to the people of New Jersey in TOP OFF 3, the recent nation-wide homeland security, simulated terrorist attack exercise, and during previous deployments in support of security operations at the Hudson River bridges & tunnels, New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York City’s Times Square and during the recovery
efforts at the Fresh Kills landfill following the terror attacks of September 11th.

The 21st CST’s personnel, comprised of both Army and Air National Guard members, are all in title 32 status, providing our “Hometown Team” with an extremely useful and very specialized security resource and the people of the Garden State with additional levels of security and protection.

© 2006 - NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs