Busy 2013 Ahead for NRC
In 2012 we celebrated the 10 years anniversary of the creation of the NATO-Russia Council by looking back over our successful practical cooperation since Rome 2002, with the ’10 years 10 stories’ feature.
Now the approach of the end of 2012 provides the perfect opportunity to take a look at the year to come, and the many cooperative activities planned to take place. Building on the positive results of our practical cooperation in 2012 and the agreement of the 2013 NRC Work Programme at the recent NRC Foreign Ministerial meeting, 2013 looks set to be another busy year for the NATO-Russia Council, with the expansion of many existing cooperative projects and plans for practical cooperation in new areas.
Cooperation on Afghanistan expanding
NRC nations are working together to provide support for Afghanistan, with the common goal of supporting efforts to provide peace and security in the country.
In 2013, the highly successful Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) and Counter-Narcotics Training project will both be expanded into new areas.
The HMTF project that currently trains Afghan helicopter technicians and provides sorely needed spare parts for the Afghan Air Force’s (AAF) fleet of Mi-17 helicopters will be extended to include training and spare parts for the AAF’s 11 Mi-35 Air Support Helicopters. As well as the new training on the Mi-35s, technicians will continue to be trained on the Mi-17s including in new specialist areas. The HMTF will also begin to provide support for the AAF’s medical evacuation capacity which uses helicopters. The Counter-Narcotics Training project passed significant milestones in 2012, training its 2000th Counter-Narcotics officer in April and then surpassing 2500 officers by the year’s end. The momentum the project has generated, with the UNODC as its executing agent, is set to continue in 2013 with 47 more training courses planned both on location in the region and at facilities in NRC member nations.
2013 will also see the introduction of new training facilities, and specialist areas of training to the project. For the first time canine officers will be trained, in one of the newly added facilities at Rostov-on-Don, and a training course will be provided in Afghanistan for female counter-narcotics officers. Work to increase the quality and quantity of sustainable institutional capacity in national training institutions in the beneficiary countries will continue through a mentoring programme and the provision of equipment for practical training including audio visual tools translated into relevant regional languages.
Cooperative Airspace Initiative and Counter Terrorism
Counter Terrorism cooperation will intensify with the continued implementation of the updated NRC Action Plan on Terrorism. Work on the Stand-off Detection of Explosives (STANDEX) technology will continue with trials set to run in 2013. NRC cooperation on counter terrorism will also continue next year, including building on events held in 2012 at the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Centre of Excellence in Slovakia and the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence in Spain.
The Cooperative Airspace Initiative, an Air Traffic Control computer network designed to detect and coordinate responses to rogue aircrafts, will be put into operation on a 24hr/7 days a week basis, and consultations will continue on improving the project. Another joint live exercise is planned to test the system again in 2013, following the ‘Vigilant Skies’ exercises conducted in 2011 and 2012.
NRC Logistics group has a particularly busy year ahead, with an array of activities planned including the high profile logistics exercise ‘Capable Logistician 2013’. Conferences are also planned to continue cooperation on fuel compatibility and interoperability, water generation and handling, and medical cooperation and there is a new area of cooperation planned on camp building. Moving forward in 2013 the NRC Logistics group will explore areas of mutual support for ships involved in operations at sea, starting with those involved in joint counter piracy operations. They will particularly focus on the potential for mutual refueling and medical support at sea.
The NRC will explore completely new areas of cooperation, in particular the potential for cooperation on ammunition disposal. With all the continuing activities and new projects, the NRC looks set to expand its valuable practical cooperation projects in 2013, building on concrete results already achieved in areas of common interest for NRC nations.