American Forces Press Service

Marines to Stand Up Anti-Terror Brigade

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2001 -- The Marines will stand up an anti-terrorism brigade Oct. 10 at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Corps officials said Oct. 4.

The 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade will be fully operational on Dec. 1, said Brig. Gen. Douglas V. O'Dell, who will command the unit.

The brigade will have 4,800 Marines and sailors assigned and will merge existing anti-terrorism capabilities. These are the Marine Security Force battalion, the Marine Security Guard Battalion and the Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force.

O'Dell said the creation of the umbrella unit has been a long-term goal of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones. The units' individual missions are similar; being together should create synergy that will be helpful to the overall anti-terrorist effort, he said.

The unit will also have a fourth element: an anti-terrorism battalion. The new battalion will evolve from the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, the unit terrorists hit in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 U.S. service members.

Establishing this brigade means the Marines may ask for approximately 2,400 more Marines in their end strength. This would cover establishing the anti-terrorist battalion and another Fleet Anti-terrorist Security Team. It also would make up for the members of the Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force that the Corps took "out of hide" when it was first established. No formal request for the extra Marines has been made, Corps officials said.

O'Dell said the brigade will provide "vigilance with an attitude, and the Marine Corps muscle to back it up.

"This is evolving very rapidly," he said. "It is a capability we have on the ground today. We have the ability to deploy assets today, and we will grow this capability as we continue to train very aggressively for whatever threat may emerge, not only in the United States but around the world."

O'Dell, a reserve general officer, said the headquarters for the brigade may shift to Norfolk, Va., in the future.

The brigade will have a worldwide presence. The Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, in Norfolk, has units based around the world. The Marine Security Guard Battalion, at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., maintains security at selected U.S. embassies and missions.

The Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force was established in 1996 following the sarin gas attack in Tokyo the year before. Headquartered in Indian Head, Md., the force is ready to back up local, state and other federal agencies at an moment's notice.