CBRN Specialist (74D MOS) Job Description

The Role of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialists in Detail

U.S. Marines Prepare for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Attack
David McNew / Getty Images

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialists protect the country from the threat of weapons of mass destruction and any weapon of a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear type. They do this by planning, employing and coordinating defense systems against these weapons agents in support of joint and combined arms operations. These systems 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

In addition, CBRN specialists also play an important role in training. Specialists train and advise 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 serve on Biological Integrated Detection Teams, STRYKER NBC Reconnaissance Platoons, Technical Escort Battalions, Special Forces and Ranger Units.

Duties of CBRN Specialists (74D)

CBRN specialists assist in the establishment and application of CBRN defense measures. Provide training advice and supervision regarding the proper use and maintenance procedures for CBRN equipment and operations.

Operate and perform operator maintenance on smoke generating equipment, CBRN identification/detection and decontamination equipment. Train military and civilian personnel first responders on CBRN response operations. Operate and maintain CBRN detection and decontamination equipment.

Training Required for CBRN Specialists

Job training for a CBRN specialist requires 10 weeks of basic training, where you learn basic soldiering skills, and 10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training and on-the-job instruction.

Part of this time is spent in the classroom and in the field.

CBRN specialists are trained to deal with weapons of mass destructions, including the defense against WMD as well as response and decontamination procedures in the case of 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

ASVAB Score  100 in aptitude area Skilled Technical (ST)*
Security Clearance  None
Strength Requirement  Very heavy
Physical Profile Requirement  122221

* If you have taken the ASVAB prior to 1 October 2013, you must have a minimum score of 91 in the ST aptitude area.

CBRN specialist are required to have normal color vision.

Similar Civilian Occupations

There is no civilian occupation that is directly equivalent to MOS 74D.

However, the following civilian occupations make use of the skills developed through MOS 74D training and experience.

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

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