Months before President Obama announced his intent to broaden aid and military support to opposition groups in Syria, the Pentagon was developing plans to reduce the risks associated with Syria's massive stockpile of banned chemical munitions.
As part of the planning, a U.S. army unit specialized in handling chemical munitions has been training with the 82nd Airborne Division, the Army's rapid-response force for global crises. These troops would likely be first to deploy if a large ground force is required.
This reflects a new mission for the Paratroopers. From taking part in the invasion of Normandy, to missions in 1990's in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the 82nd have a long history of protecting national interests abroad and providing options to respond to the changing topography of global threats.
Major General John W. Nicholson, Jr., the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, sheds light on the the paratroopers' new mission.