TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey is set to get its own weapons of
mass destruction civil support team, members of the state's
congressional delegation said.
U.S. Reps. Chris Smith and Jim Saxton, both Republicans,
announced Tuesday that the Garden State is slated to get one of 12
new teams included in the 2003 Defense Authorization Bill. There
are currently 32 teams in the United States.
"I'm very, very delighted," Smith said. "We've been working
on this for two years."
The Garden State has been funding its own part-time team,
through the New Jersey National Guard, to respond to biological,
chemical or radioactive incidents.
But the new federal team will mean about $7 million for a
full-time, 22-person unit with mobile equipment, plus millions in
annual funding.
Saxton said it would take 18 to 24 months for the team to be
equipped, trained and certified.
Fort Dix would be the best place to station the new team, Saxton
said.
"It makes sense to install a team at Fort Dix because of its
central location in New Jersey, proximity to New York and
Philadelphia and its close ties to McGuire Air Force Base," Saxton
said in a news release.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)