NCT South America

Looking back and towards the future

By: Curtis Hand, Chief Editorial Advisor

Often the best way to determine the value of a symposium is to review at the previous edition - namely the topics, speakers, exhibitors, VIP attendees and how well it was executed. Then, balance these factors with what is planned for the upcoming event, perhaps considering if it is at least the same quality, if not better. Is the content thought-provoking? Will the speakers or the session themes be informative? Do the presentations confirm or show a better way of doing something? Will the material presented be easy to understand so you can incorporate it into your work life? If the answers to these questions are “yes,” then there is only one other question to ask yourself: “Why not go?”

Before examining NCT América del Sur 2020, you should consider why the South American events are so important to professionals dedicated to either CBRNe or EOD matters - or both. Moreover, consider what one can learn from NCT South America and how to use this knowledge afterwards to enrich one’s abilities, capabilities and current doctrine.

My Kind of Town, Rio is…

Recalling from our NCT Magazine post-show report of the most recent NCT South America conference which took place in February 2019, it was deemed a “complete success” by the participants for several reasons.

For a leading regional CBRNe, C-IED and EOD conference, the Forte Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro was the ideal location. It allowed NCT to host a live capability demonstration (by the Brazilian Army’s 1st CBRN Defense Battalion, the Military Police, The Military Fire Brigade and Local Medical Services), a conference stream, an exhibition and productive and equally enjoyable networking receptions.

From a Latin American perspective, NCT América del Sur 2019 brought together local, regional and intercontinental government representatives, leading industry experts and uniquely experienced first responders to share their expertise in the fields of CBRNe, C-IED and EOD. The Rio-based NCT South America welcomed over 200 delegates, comprising a variety of nationalities from across Latin America as well as the rest of the world – and Brazil itself. A unique benefit of regional NCT events is that there is an equal input and focus from all participants, not just the host country.

José Zea Agüero, the President of the Chemical Information Center of Peru (CINQUI), opened the plenary session. We explored topics such as “Explosives - "the 'E' in CBRNe,” namely how to respond to threats in civil aviation, the unique experiences of the Colombian Army’s Joint Task Force OMEGA as well as the MARTE explosives group and the chemical and engineering know-how of Uruguay’s experienced army experts.

Cooperating for the common good, we were able to discuss the Importance of medical preparedness in CBRNe and the latest advances of science in these medical preparedness applications and scenarios. This also allowed us to compare CBRN doctrines and training in Uruguay and Brazil to the rest of Latin America. The Argentine Firefighter Academy provided us with their singular perspectives of addressing a host of new problems in HazMat incident response in terms of the handling and managing hazardous substances. We even had the opportunity to learn the best practices from beyond South America from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence in terms of how they plan, train and prepare for responding to CBRNe threats.

As far as the host nation was concerned, NCT South America 2019 participants had the unique opportunity to learn the best practices from the Brazilian army's CBRN defense structure – how Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications manages Brazilian HazMat & CBRN materials; insights from the Director of CBRN Defense Institute of the Brazilian Army (IDQBRN); and how they conduct decontamination across a broad spectrum from people to the electronics detecting CBRNe threats (Brazilian Intelligence Agency).

Dr. Ron Hann, Director of the Chemical/Biological Technologies Department of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) led the closing plenary session with an introspective presentation on lessons learnt in responding to CBRNe threats from an international perspective.

Carry On to Colombia

Looking ahead to the Non-Conventional Threats (NCT) South America 2020 conference which will take place in Bogotá, Colombia, on 4-5 February 2020, we are guaranteed yet another unique perspective and special set of learnings based on entirely different and meaningful challenges, experiences, knowledge, solutions, tools and training.

The Third Edition of NCT South America will take place at the Center for Military Education of the Colombian Army, in official partnership with the Colombian Army. It will be the largest formally recognised CBRNe, C-IED and EOD conference in all of Latin America! Moreover, the conference will be held entirely in Spanish to ensure the outreach to as many regional responders and stakeholders as possible.

The host country of Colombia will welcome high-level regional and international decision-makers, civil and military leadership, NGO actors, and industry experts relevant to combatting and neutralizing non-conventional threats.

After decades of armed conflict, Colombia has become perhaps the key regional player in countering these threats – especially in terms of C-IED, C-EOD and demining. This year’s NCT South America presents a distinctive opportunity for joint development of capabilities and cooperation in combatting non-conventional threats throughout the entire region, which holds potential lessons for the rest of the world – Central Africa, the Middle East-Levant and Central-Western Asia.

Conference Chairman José Zea Agüero will once again join the conference, and together with the host nation of Colombia bring forth a cavalcade of learning and discourse that will include many pressing topics important to your career, your company, your organisation, your country and your community.

Sessions will include incisive, unique themes, such as:

  • CBRNe Trends and Capability Building in South America
  • Detecting Narcotics and Explosives
  • Managing CBRNe Casualties
  • The Threat of Landmines and UXOs
  • Countering the IED Threat in the Homeland and the Battlefield
  • Future Challenges in CBRNe and Explosives in South America

The list of confirmed speakers is comprised of varied experts in the field, such as:

  • - Lt. Col. Nicolas Pietrobelli, CBRN Engineers Company and Emergency Support 601, Army, Argentina
  • Counter Admiral Antonio Carlos Barbosa Nardin Lima, Director, Secretariat of Health and Social Assistance, Ministry of Defense, Brazil
  • Lt. Col. Robert Fabian Gomez, Director, Uruguayan Army Engineers School, Uruguay
  • Sgto. Viceprimero Héctor Palacios Parra, Explosives Technician - Joint Task Force OMEGA - Colombian National Army
  • Lt. Alvaro Toñanez, Miami Dade Fire Department, USA

The event will also include an exhibition presenting the latest innovative solutions in the CBRNe, C-IED, EOD and demining fields.

The Value Weigh-in

Even an initial glance over the plans for NCT South America 2020 reveals the immense value of attending, exhibiting at, and participating in this event. Adding value to the previous edition is often a determining factor for many deciding their presence at the next edition.

Moreover, the Fifth Edition of the NCT PRO Trainings will take place alongside the conference, during which local civil and military first-response teams will train within rigorous simulated scenarios. This provides an exclusive opportunity to learn from these scenario trainings on a completely new level than before at such an event.

Value is added, the advantages are known, the benefits are evident, and a decision is required to elevate one’s expertise and capabilities by participating in the Third Edition of NCT Sur América at the Center for Military Education of the Colombian Army.

You are most welcome to join us.