CBRN is an acronym referring to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear. It is in common use worldwide, to refer to incidents in which any of these four hazards have presented themselves. It can also be used to describe the protective measures taken against these weapons or hazards.

CBRNE is another acronym referring to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive.

A CBRN(E) incident differs from a HAZMAT incident in both effect scope (i.e. CBRN(E) can be a mass casualty situation) and in intent. CBRN(E) incidents are responded to under the assumption that they are deliberate, malicious acts with the intention to kill, sicken and/or disrupt society and therefore evidence preservation and perpetrator apprehension are of greater concern than with HAZMAT incidents.


The term is in common use in disaster and emergency services organizations across the country. [ [http://www.calgaryhealthregion.ca/board/minutes/pdf/2002/Mins%20March%2028%202002.pdf Calgary Health Region CBRN Training] ] Since July 2005 the Canadian Forces also started using the term CBRN Defence, instead of NBC Defence, due to the increased threat of dirty bomb use (which are radiological in nature). A new term has started to be used in both civilian and military organisations, CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive).

United States


The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) use it as an initialism for their 5711 military occupational specialty. School trained 5711s are known as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Specialists. Prior to the change, 5711s were known as Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Defense specialists.

US Army

The United States Army uses CBRN as initialism for their 74D Chemical Operations Specialists military occupational specialty (MOS). The United States Army trains all Department of Defense (DoD) civilians along with the other US Military branches pursuing a career in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) at the United States Army CBRN School at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. The term (CBRNE) is also used to define the scope of the FA-52 (Nuclear & Counterproliferation Officer) Functional Area community.

United Kingdom

CBRN is also used by the UK Home Office as a civil designation for the military NBC equivalent. [ [http://www.ukresilience.info/emergencies/cbrn.shtm UK Resilience - Emergencies - CBRN ] ]


US DHHS, CDC, NIOSH, NPPTL CBRN SCBA User Guidance: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/cbrnapproved/scba/

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