CBRN Specialist (74D MOS) Job Description

The Roles Of Chemical, Biological, Radiological And Nuclear Specialists

Chemical, Biological, Radiological And Nuclear Specialist testing subject

US Department of Defense 

The 74D MOS is the Army classification for a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialists (CBRN). These individuals are highly trained soldiers who can work in any environment. They are trained to handle all types of weapons threats as well as decontaminate hazardous material spills or accidents within our own (as an example) hospitals where radiation from (X-ray), or medicines or fuels (chemicals), as well as biological or nuclear releases. 

The Scientific Applications Specialists has similar duties in the Air Force. The Marine Corps uses MOS 5711 to designate a CBRN specialist.

The Need For CBRN Specialist

There are over 200 countries in the world with some form of chemical weapon of mass destruction. Though there are treaties around the world banning these weapons, there have been cases of people and countries using chemical weapons in Syria and Iraq. There have also been anthrax attacks in the United States and Russia (accidental release), sarin gas in Japan, as well as other methods and agents. Other agents include the use of fentanyl, mustard gas, sulfur, cyanide, and chlorine to name some of the deadliest attacks in the past 20 years.

Duties of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Techs

CBRN Specialists protect the country from the threat of weapons of mass destruction. The weapons they train to detect, and protect against, include any weapons of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear type. The 74D MOS specialist use planning and highly sophisticated equipment, and coordinating defense systems. They work in support of joint and combined arms operations.

CBRN specialists serve on Biological Integrated Detection Teams, STRYKER NBC Reconnaissance Platoons, Technical Escort Battalions, Special Forces and Ranger Units. They are trained to manage, train, and maintain protective gear of fellow Army soldiers. This equipment is used in the event of a CBRN threat on the battlefield.

Systems that a CBRN specialist may use include:

  • CBRN reconnaissance systems
  • Biological agent detection systems (BIDS)
  • Obscurant systems that hide movements or defeat enemy targeting
  • CBRN decontamination systems
  • Other CBRN hazard detection and warning systems

Providing CBRN Training and Support

In addition, CBRN specialists also play an important role in Army-wide training. Specialists train and advise others on the operation of CBRN defense equipment and CBRN response operations. They analyze and assess sensitive site vulnerabilities and coordinate CBRN defense support with civil authorities. They specialize in the defense against weapons of mass destruction in areas such as WMD force protection programs and WMD elimination. 

CBRN specialists assist in the establishment and application of CBRN defense measures. The CBRN Specialist will also provide training advice and supervision regarding the proper use and maintenance procedures for CBRN equipment and operations. The 74D will also train military and civilian personnel first responders on CBRN response operations. Operate and maintain CBRN detection and decontamination equipment.

Training Required for CBRN Specialists

Army Soldiers must attend Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army Chemical School (USACMLS) in Fort Leonardwood, MO, where they will be exposed, while wearing NBC protective wear, to toxic agents in a decontamination facility. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and in the field.

CBRN specialists are trained to deal with weapons of mass destruction, including the defense against WMD as well as response and decontamination procedures in the case of the chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear event. This training includes the use of CBRN decontamination, defense, detection, and monitoring equipment. Specialists are trained in the wear and use of protective equipment during exposure to toxic agents. The CBRN specialist learns proper defense actions and procedures, as well as hazardous material certification (at the awareness level). 

  • Preparation for CBRN defense actions and procedures.
  • Wear and use of protective equipment.
  • Hazardous material certification (at the awareness level).
  • Exposure to toxic agents while wearing CBRN protective equipment.

Qualifications and Requirements

To become a 74D MOS, you should have scored at least a 100 in Skilled Technical (ST) on the ASVAB. Upon entry-level MOS 75D, you do not need a security clearance, however, as you advance and find yourself in more of a leadership role, a clearance of SECRET will be required. It is very physical labor as well as tedious to thoroughly decontaminate an area of any hazardous material. The physical profile requirement is 122221 which is the PULHES system that ranks the MOS as very physical and emotionally challenging.

CBRN specialist is required to have normal color vision.

Similar Civilian Occupations

There are many related professions in the civilian and government job market to the 74D MOS. From Homeland Security, HAZMAT Specialists in both energy corporations as well as law enforcement and firefighting professions, the 74D training can assist a transitioning Army Veteran with finding jobs with similar qualifications and training. Some others are listed below:

  • Chemist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Chemical technician
  • Disposal specialist
  • Nuclear monitoring technician
  • Occupational health and safety specialist
  • Occupational health and safety technician