News story

Exercise TOXIC DAGGER - the sharp end of chemical warfare

Dstl works with Marines on UK's biggest annual chemical warfare exercise

Marines in CBRN kit on Exercise Toxic Dagger

40 Commando Royal Marines and The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have staged the UK’s biggest annual exercise to prepare troops for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) operations. Exercise TOXIC DAGGER is supported by Dstl, along with Public Health England (PHE) and The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), and is the largest exercise of its kind in the country.

Specialists in CBRN from Dstl and AWE are able to create realistic exercise scenarios based on the latest threat information. Completing the training and exercising against these scenarios provides a challenging programme for the Royal Marines to demonstrate their proficiency in the methods to detect, assess and mitigate a CBRN threat.

The three-week programme included Company-level attacks and scenarios concerning CBRN vignettes, concluding with a full-scale exercise involving government and industry scientists and more than 300 military personnel.

Major Rob Garside, from 40 Commando Royal Marines, said:

Working with Dstl means we have the most up-to-date information and a realistic exercise. This ensures we are well prepared for a CBRN operating environment. It is vital we can make rapid decisions and are able to protect and support specialists who come in to deal with any incident. On operations these specialists are on hand to advise and we must ensure we already have a strong understanding of their capabilities and what they require of us as a military force.

The Dstl lead for CBRN exercises said:

40 Commando would be first on the ground in the event of a CBRN incident. We ensure they’re up to date on the latest threats and make the exercise truly realistic. They not only have to provide a fighting force in an unstable environment, they must also be able to assess the scene and know what they’re dealing with.

That’s where Dstl, PHE, AWE and the Defence CBRN Centre come in, as we provide the technical information the Marines require.

Find out more about Dstl’s CBRN work

Dstl experts and the Commanding Officer of 40 Cdo talk about Ex Toxic Dagger

Published 20 February 2018