NCT EUROPE 2019
By: Niccolò Beduschi, Analyst at IB Consultancy
The 8th edition of NCT Europe took place in Vienna, Austria from June 25th to the 27th, once again raising the bar for CBRNe, C-IED, and EOD events on the continent. IB Consultancy, the CBRNe Society, the Austrian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Austrian Armed Forces combined their efforts to host international stakeholders, both civil and military, in a unique venue at the crossroad between eastern and western Europe. In parallel to the conference, the 4th edition of the intra-agency and international NCT PRO Trainings were held at the Tritolwerk CBRN and Disaster Relief Training Area of the Austrian Armed Forces. Eleven teams of first responders from across Europe were engaged in challenging CBRNe scenarios and had the opportunity to use the latest technologies available, provided by our sponsors and exhibitors. Industry leaders were present throughout the conference as well, both on the stage and within the exhibition area. NCT Europe left its mark from the start with a live and static capability display, and with many occasions to network and make the European CBRNe community stronger.
We would like to thank our conference Chairmen, BG (ret.) William King and COL (ret.) Henry Neumann, our delegates, event partners, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, trainers and training teams for making NCT the leading CBRNe event series in Europe!
Live Capability Demonstration
On the 25th of June NCT Europe kicked off with a live capability demonstration and static display led by the Austrian Armed Forces CBRN Defense Center with the support of civil first-responder organizations. The demonstration took place at the Tritolwerk Training Area and showcased the response capabilities of the major Austrian CBRNe stakeholders in a variety of scenarios. The participating units included amongst others the Emergency Response Team Air (ERTA), the Military Police, the Vienna Fire Department and Ambulance, the Vienna Public Health Authority and the European Centre for Manual Neutralization Capabilities. After the welcoming remarks of Col. Schlechter, Commander of the Austrian CBRN Defense Center, participants had the opportunity to observe both dynamic and static scenarios including the rescue and decontamination of victims from a helicopter and the raid of a clandestine laboratory by the Military Police.
The conference itself opened on the 26th of June with a keynote speech by LTG Norbert Gehart, Head of the Assets Provision Directorate of the Austria MoD, representing the hosting country together with Col. Jürgen Schlechter, Austrian CBRN Defense Commander. BG Dong Kwan Ryu, Commander of the Republic of Korea CBRN Defense Command, COL Wolfgang Reich, Deputy Director of the NATO Joint CBRN Defense COE and Mr. David Restione, Chief Technology Officer of the US JPEO-CBRND were on the NCT opening stage moving the discussion on countering non-conventional threats forward.
NCT Europe offered multiple opportunities to discuss every aspect of CBRNe in depth, including conference panels from recon to decon of CBRNe operations, USAR, medical preparedness and C-IED & EOD strategies with a series of interactive workshops.
Among these workshops we must mention the one dedicated to Airforce Capabilities in Countering CBRNe Threats and the one chaired by LTC Bernd Allert, Head Doctrine and Concept Development Section of the NATO JCBRN Defense COE, on Interoperability and Multinational Military Cooperation Across Europe. Another unique workshop was the CBRNe Capability Development Round Table reserved for international CBRNe Commanders and selected industry representatives with the aim of discussing future CBRNe threats and mission requirements in a trusted environment.
Throughout the conference, speakers from the Spanish National Police (TEDAX), the European Centre for Manual Neutralization Capabilities, the Fire Departments of Brussels and Milan, the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Center (TEK), the Swedish EOD and Demining Center and the Swiss, Polish and German Armed forces, among others, shared their expertise and helped to find potential answers to the difficult questions we face in the field and beyond.
The joint closing plenary saw COL Xavier Lefebvre, Commander of the Joint CBRN Defense Center of the French Armed Forces and MAJ Jay Kopcha from NATO‘s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. They highlighted a recurring theme of the conference, the need of the CBRNe community, from the military to industry, to come together to develop new solutions for the ever-evolving threats that Europe and the world will see in the 21st century.
The NCT PRO trainings were handled by our partners Hotzone Solutions Group (HZS) and MAC7 Training Services, each offering four realistic scenarios that were tackled by the eleven teams present, both new and returning to the NCT experience. The Trainings were held with the objective to test not only the competence of the teams to respond to a crisis, but also challenge their Interoperability by matching them together.
NCT PRO Europe welcomed teams from the following organizations for a total of over 80 participants:
- 1st Engineer Regiment, Armed Forces, Poland
- 31st CBRN Defense Regiment, Czech Republic
- Brussels Fire Department, Belgium
- Fire and Rescue Service, Czech Republic
- Police Grand-Ducale, Luxembourg
- Red Cross Military Corps, Italy
- Defense CBRN Center (DCBRNC), Netherlands
- Ministry of Defense, Qatar
- Austrian Armed Forces CBRN Unit
- Austrian Armed Forces EOD Unit
- Spanish National Police, TEDAX-CBRN Unit
Each training session started off with training provided by our sponsors, ensuring that the training participants were adequately informed on the functionalities of each piece of equipment that would be used in the mock scenario.
The four settings on which teams were tested included a clandestine lab, a chemical storage facility, a post-blast site and a train wreck.
In one of the scenarios, as part of a large intelligence-driven operation, a response team was tasked to be on standby for support in case of a CBRNe threat. The extremist organization that is the target for authorities is thought to have recruited personnel with deep knowledge in chemistry with the aim to execute a CWA attack in Europe. As the operation starts, what appears to be a clandestine lab is discovered by the first units on the scene and a response team is called in to secure and possibly exploit the area.
See you next year!
Bringing the CBRNe community together once more, NCT Europe 2020 will be held in September in Italy. Expert insight, trainings for first-responders, the newest technologies and excellent networking opportunities will all be provided at next year’s event. Contact to register now!