Defence against chemical agents – the use of science and technology

  • 10 May. 2011 - 13 May. 2011
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  • Last updated: 18 May. 2011 12:32

The threat from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents remains a real and present danger in both NATO and partner countries. To address this issue experts are contemplating a dynamic strategy that combines the latest developments in science and technology. Providing the forum for greater understanding and cooperation in this regard, two NATO funded workshops, “Enhancement of CBRN Defence Capabilities” and “Military and Civilian Contributions to Disease Surveillance”, took place back-to-back in Kiev, Ukraine on 10 to 12 and 12 to 13 May 2011 respectively.

German troops specialising in nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) 
warfare detection and decontamination take part in an exercise near 
Kuwait City February 6, 2003. Berlin insists it will not take part in 
any war with Iraq, but a special unit of German troops, practising 
their response to a chemical weapons attack in Kuwait on Thursday, 
could still be called into action if hostilities break out. 
REUTERS/Chris Helgren 

© Reuters

Inside the setting of the National Defence University of Ukraine, experts from NATO nations and Ukraine used the high profile platform to evaluate and discuss their experience and various capabilities. This pool of expertise included professionals from the broad field of scientific and technological research in enhanced capabilities for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), disease surveillance and defence against CBRN.

Industry representatives took part in the first workshop to show their capabilities in support of CBRN defence operations. The event provided them with a platform to demonstrate future developments and solutions that will further enhance these capabilities.

The aim of the second event was to leverage the disease surveillance expertise of the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services at NATO. A report outlining the conclusions of the workshop and specific recommendations on how to build up existing capabilities by implementing best practices in cooperation with NATO partner nations will be issued. The merging of civilian and military expertise at these workshops not only contributes towards a better understanding for both sides, but also helps to create a greater sense of synergy between NATO’s organisational and strategic infrastructures.

Delegates also discussed how to manage the threat posed by environmental and industrial hazards. Key note speakers from NATO’s WMD Non-Proliferation Centre (Emerging Security Challenges Division), the United States Department of Defense, the Department of Emergency Situations of Ukraine and the United Nation’s World Health Organisation provided the appropriate context for discussions amongst the events participants, and highlighted areas for further collaborative work.

These workshops were organised as partnership cooperations linked to the NATO Response Forces and the Committee on Proliferation in Defence and were funded through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme.

For more information, visit (see “Calendar” for organisers’ contact details).