NATO experts and industry leaders discuss counter-terrorism

  • 24 Apr. 2013 - 25 Apr. 2013
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  • Last updated: 10 May. 2013 09:22

Counter-terrorism was at the top of the agenda during discussions between NATO experts and industry leaders at the Counter Terror Expo in London on 24 and 25 April 2013.

Counter Terror Expo 2013 is the largest international event to mitigate threats, protect against terrorist attacks and understand current modern-day risks in a secure environment. The expo brought together experts from governments, armed forces, security services, law enforcement and academia to share experience, debate strategies, shape policy and define counter-terrorism measures.

NATO held two special seminars during the Counter Terror Expo,” said Jamie Shea, Deputy Assistant Secretary General of NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Division. “The first one was on Special Forces. As many NATO countries are going to rely increasingly on their Special Forces, we wanted to see how they are developing and what kind of capabilities they need. The second area was the interagency cooperation because in the field of counter-terrorism you need a comprehensive approach, where the police are working with the military and the civilian authorities both within borders and across borders, exchanging information with a clear division of labour," he explained.

These workshops were designed to gain insight into products, solutions and capabilities that are currently available and discuss future requirements for NATO forces.

Defining future capabilities

NATO supports the development of capabilities and innovative technology that specifically address the threat of terrorism and asymmetric warfare through its Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work (DAT POW). The aim of the DAT POW is to prevent non-conventional attacks, such as suicide attacks with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), or mitigate other challenges, such as attacks on critical infrastructure.

The spring DAT POW workshop in London aimed to allow project managers to offer an overview of their project’s deliverables, foster interoperability and ensure access to the latest technological developments through industry briefings and contributions. Workshop participants, including civilians and military officials representing various NATO and partner countries discussed strategies and best practices. These included protecting harbours and ports, large body aircraft, countering IEDs, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and consequence management, non-lethal capabilities, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) and Human Intelligence (HUMINT), as well as detecting, protecting against, and defeating chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats.

“We need to figure out what the upcoming challenges will be and, within the DAT POW, reassess which projects we need to consider so that we can deliver the required capabilities now and into the future,” added Jamie Shea.

As the threat is urgent, most projects launched under the DAT POW are focused on finding solutions that can be fielded in the short term.The programme meets critical military requirements and addresses Alliance shortfalls. The DAT POW development is driven by the latest political guidance, provided by the NATO Strategic Concept. It is influenced by NATO’s new counter-terrorism policy guidelines endorsed at the 2012 Chicago Summit.