Buckley hosts intricate Chemical Weapon Convention Treaty training exercise

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Over the course of three intense training days, Buckley Air Force Base hosted a unique and carefully planned Chemical Weapon Convention Treaty training exercise to test the response of Air Force Major Command Base Assistance Teams in preparation of any possible international challenge inspection.

While Buckley is in not a likely candidate for an inspection, the base provided infrastructure and personnel support to give the BAT the most realistic experience available.

“The Air Force takes very serious the terms of engagements, agreements and commitments to the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty,” said Reb Benson, BAT chief and senior technical advisor to strategy, planning, and policy division at the Pentagon. “That is why we focus so hard on properly training our BAT members so that they are ready for any challenge inspection that may come up.”

Throughout the week, members were faced with challenges regarding perimeter control, self-monitoring and logistics support. They were divided into 10 separate, but interdependent, teams to ensure each function operated flawlessly, and practiced as if this was a real scenario. While the base support team went into the training with little to no knowledge of the requirements of the CWC Treaty challenge inspections, they finished with a broader perspective and a better understanding of the process.

“I really didn’t know much about the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty when I got here, but after doing this I can honestly say, I really learned a lot from this experience,” said Lt. Col. Timothy Dann, base transportation team and “Big 5” base partner. “Also, I’m appreciative of the base bringing in base partners and respecting the unique security requirements that some of the partner units have. The communication between all of the players has been excellent.”

At the end of the exercise, the BAT capped off all the hard work of the week with a pre-inspection brief delivered to the acting inspectors. It covered everything from the assumptions for the challenge inspection to the special permits that would be required to complete a thorough fact-finding visit.

During this process, Team Buckley members weren’t the only participants. Every MAJCOM sent BAT representatives to experience the situation first hand. While many of the members are veterans of the process, the change of scenery offered a never before seen challenge.

“Coming to Buckley really forces us as BAT members to have an open mind and think outside the box,” said Mike Hendon, MAJCOM liaison and BAT member. “Every base has something different and it forces us to find solutions for each location.”

Again, while Buckley AFB is not scheduled, and there are no expectation for any challenge inspection in the future, the base remains vigilant and compliant of any international requirements that may come up.