Updated: 01-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


1 Dec. 2003

Launch of NATO CBRN Defence Battalion

Remarks by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson

You will all know that one of my favourite phrases is that NATO's credibility is its capability. That’s why I am very pleased today to be marking the inauguration of a vital new capability that significantly adds to NATO's credibility in dealing with today's security threats.

The threat from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons is real indeed. The technology to produce such weapons is all too simple. And we now know that there are people who are willing to use them irrespective of their horrific effects.

That's why NATO has created this new capability, the Multinational CBRN Defence Battalion, to help protect our soldiers with a fast, flexible, deployable unit equipped to meet the threat.

This new unit is a superb symbol of the transformed NATO. In the first two rotations we will see fifteen NATO countries and two of the invited members working together to provide a high-tech, multinational solution to today's threats. I am especially delighted to see the Czech Republic leading the first 6 month rotation.

Only last November, NATO's leaders approved a series of new initiatives to combat the looming threat of biological and chemical weapons. I am proud that just a year later we are able to declare this new unit’s Initial Operating Capability. It will be on display in Prague on Wednesday of this week. I urge you to take a good look at today’s display and to speak to the Belgian soldiers who will be happy to explain what they do.

Thank you. I now invite the Chairman of the Military Committee to say a few words, and then we have just a moment to take a few questions before we have to rejoin our colleagues at the working lunch.


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