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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tactical Programs


Responding effectively to terrorist attacks, incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive devices (CBRNE), or other disasters of national significance requires specialized expertise.  The PREP Division’s Tactical Programs coordinate and provide specialized medical support to HHS entities, Federal partners and Regional stakeholders.

Within the PREP Division, there are two Tactical Programs:  the Tactical Medicine Program and the Domestic and Foreign Emergency Support Team (DEST/FEST) Program.

Tactical Medicine Program

The Tactical Medicine Program provides operational medical support and training for federal law enforcement to “protect the protectors” and to further the medical and public health response to terrorism and other incidents of national significance.

Within the Tactical Medicine Program, The Center for Tactical Medicine (CTM) provides stronger connectivity with the law enforcement community as a bridge to enhance disaster preparedness and response efforts.

Through its Counter-Narcotics and Terrorism Operational Medical Support (CONTOMS) Program, CTM provides nationally recognized training that helps EMTs, paramedics, and physicians save lives on the scene so that law enforcement officers can live to serve another day.  CONTOMS promotes the creation of a Federal standard for excellence in the provision of high quality training in tactical emergency medicine for Federal, state and local responders.

CTM coordinates the ESF-8 Early Force Protection Program in order to provide a safe and secure environment for ESF-8 personnel on deployment during a disaster or terrorist incident.

Domestic and Foreign Emergency Support Team Program

The Domestic Emergency Support Team (DEST) and Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) are deployable federal interagency teams which provide expert advice, guidance, and support during a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or CBRNE crisis or incident.

The DEST program supports the FBI in carrying out its domestic responsibilities, while the FEST program supports the Department of State in fulfilling its international responsibilities. DEST and FEST provide CBRNE- and WMD-related medical, scientific, and technical expertise and counsel to the FBI and/or Department of State to support crisis response operations.  The programs also develop policy options for the Executive branch.  The DEST and FEST programs advance initial planning efforts for medical response, recovery, and mass care to support consequence management operations.

Watch, Listen and Learn

YouTube:  What is CONTOMS? 
  • This page last reviewed: March 17, 2017