EU Project ‘Bullseye’
Harmonised procedures for first responders after a biological or chemical terrorist attack
By Ilse Van Mechelen, Coordinator Bullseye project, National Crisis Center Belgium
Photo Credit: “Defense CBRN Centre NLD”
Recently, the European Union was struck by several terrorist attacks, with the Paris, Brussels, Manchester and Barcelona attacks still fresh in our minds. These acts of terrorism have shown that both networked groups as well as lone wolves try to commit mass-casualty attacks with the aim to maximize their social and economic impact.
To this date, no CBRN material was used during large-scale attacks in Europe. However, there are clear indications that terrorist groups are developing the knowledge and the capacity to use it. The 2019 ‘’ by the Europol states that “the number of disrupted jihadist terrorist plots increased substantially. The latter included attempts to produce and deploy chemical and biological substances, a fact which illustrates the level of intent and commitment of individuals, cells and networks to use terrorist tactics to harm the societies they live in.”
The EU-funded Bullseye project coordinated by the National Crisis Center of Belgium aims to enhance the preparedness and response of the European emergency services to such CBRN incidents. The project is funded by the ISF Police Fund of the European Commission and will last for three years from April 2019 until March 2022. More information can be found at
One of the primary goals of the Bullseye project is the harmonization of the procedures for all first respondersinvolved in a response to terrorist chemical or biological attack. The participants of the project include the local police, medical services, fire services, civil protection, the military, specialized police forces, DVI, forensics and labs. The whole process will keep in mind the interoperability of the involved agencies as well as the multiagency and the civil-military aspects. In order to enhance the learning aspect of the project and foster adequate and firm response to CBRN events explicit cooperation between NATO and the EU will also take place. The second goal of Bullseye is related to prevention, concretely the expansion of the training facilities for explosive-detection dogs (K9).
Photo Credit: “Belgian Federal Police”
The project is funded by the Internal Security Fund of the European Commission in line with the 2017 CBRN Action Plan of DG Home.
The National Crisis Center of Belgium nested under the Federal Public Service of Home Affairs Belgium coordinates the Bullseye project. The consortium consists of 8 partners from 5 countries: Poland, Slovakia, Spain and the Netherlands, namely:
- The Federal Police of Belgium
- Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial Esteban Tenadas (INTA), Spain
- International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS), Poland
- University of Łódź, Poland
- Lynx Command, Slovakia
- International Security and Emergency Management Institute (ISEMI), Slovakia
- Defense CBRN Center Vught, the Netherlands.
The Bullseye project builds upon the previous gap analyses that have been uncovered in other EU projects, such as the Eden Project and the ongoing Encircle project.
In order to harmonise response procedures for all relevant agencies, the Bullseye consortium will organise 4 workshops in 2020. A workshop for the first line, the second line, the third line as well as a multiagency workshop will take place in order to ensure the compatibility of all respective procedures.
During these workshops EU and non-EU experts from diverse fields as well as NATO and EUROPOL experts will share their expertise with the first responders in order to develop optimal procedures. The experts will come not only from the partner countries but also from the UK, France, Germany and the US. The experts from the Scottish SMARTEU Fire and Rescue service deserve a special recognition for their contribution to the Bullseye project.
During the interactive workshops the first responders and experts will cooperate to create . These drafts will be tested in 7 mono-trainings in the 5 participating countries and during 1 multiagency exercise at the Defense Training Center in Vught, the Netherlands in May 2021. Subsequently, additional time will be allocated in order to adapt the procedures after the evaluation process of these trainings and exercises. After this process, the procedures will be validated.
In order to further expand the procedures’ reach within the European Union the project will yield highly trained first responder personnel who can then serve as Trainers for their respective teams. The project will also ensure the provision of a Trainer Toolkit.
To ensure maximum return on the European Commission’s effort the procedures will be shared with other countries via the CBRN Advisory Group of DG Home.
With regards to the K9 training facility expansion, this will be further examined and developed in cooperation with relevant experts in the following months.
Therefore, there is a lot of work to be done. Luckily we have a strong consortium, many experts to rely on and motivated first responders. We all believe that the Bullseye project stems from a real need for capability development and will provide a relevant answer to the future security challenges.