Looking Back at NCT Europe

On October 5th, 2021, IB Consultancy and the CBRNe Society launched NCT Europe 2021, the largest European CBRNe event, at the Joint NBC Defense School in Rieti, Italy, overcoming the continuous challenges of the pandemic. More than 250 delegates from all over the world attended the event, including specialists, academics, first responders, and highly ranked military representatives. Among these, there were the Spanish CBRN Defense School, the Boston Police Department, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), and the JCBRN Defense Centre of Excellence. As the usual practice in our events, NCT Europe was organized in three components: a conference with esteemed experts in the CBRN field; an industry exhibition in the military base of the Italian CBRN School where the exhibitors and participants come together and connect with each other; and, of course, the PRO Trainings, where first responders had the chance to train for two full days with advanced technological products of the industry in real-life scenarios.

The conference took place on October 6th and 7th, spreading over morning and afternoon sessions. Experts of the CBRN and EOD fields from Austria, Italy, Spain, and the US provided the participants with valuable and thought-provoking insights on various topics of interest. These included interventions regarding Situational Awareness issues in CBRN and EOD Operations; Future Challenges in CBRNe Medical Countermeasures and Diagnostics; Research and Innovation in CBRN and EOD Capability Development; Challenges Faced by Civil First Responders; and Italy’s Response to COVID-19 and how to enhance preparedness for the next pandemic. The speakers were renowned specialists from high-level organizations such as the Federal Ministry of Defense of Austria; JPEO-CBRND; Italian 7th CBRN Defense Regiment "Cremona"; US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD); Spanish National Police; Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA); Italian C-IED Center of Excellence; Austrian Armed Forces CBRN Defense Center; and the Spanish CBRN Defense School, among others. Delegates and speakers from different nationalities exchanged their views for the whole three days of the event, with everyone confirming the high-level discussions that took place.

The industry exhibition at NCT Europe proved equally extremely successful, also taking into account the pandemic restrictions that usually affect traveling and attendance. In our event, more than 30 companies from around Europe and the US showcased their products in their booths in a large expo area inside the Italian Joint NBC Defense School. All the participants had the chance to discuss, network, and provide their feedback to the industry representatives about the products showcased as well as those used during the PRO Trainings. High-ranked military representatives from organizations such as the Dutch Defense Material Organization; the Italian Air Force and Navy; the Lithuania Defense Materiel Agency; the Ministry of Defence the Netherlands; and the NATO Fire and Emergency Services, were present. The days of the exhibition, along with the networking breaks and the expo tour, proved highly valuable for both sides, especially the morning and afternoon coffee breaks as well as the lunchtime. More than 250 delegates were present during the event days, participating in almost all the different activities that took place these days.

As part of NCT Europe, the CBRNe Society, in cooperation with the Italian Joint NBC Defense School, hosted two days of training sessions, the well-known NCT PRO Trainings. The PRO Trainings were attended by over 60 training delegates from 10 countries across Europe, representing 11 training units: the Croatian Anti-Terrorism Unit Lucko; the Czech 31st CBRN Defense regiment; the Italian 7th CBRN Defense Regiment “Cremona”; Romania’s General Inspectorate; the Italian Joint NBC Defense School; Piedmont Maxiemergenza 118; the Italian Red Cross; the Hellenic Fire Corps; the Latvian National Armed Forces and State Security Services; and the Estonian Rescue Board. The teams practiced different on CBRNe-related scenarios by using equipment provided by sponsoring companies such as Bruker, ORTEC, SEC Technologies, NBC-Sys, BROKK, Metrohm Italiana, Proengin, BMD Spa, and Airsense Analytics. As mentioned, diverse training topics took place during the event. One of those was regarding the simulation of a clandestine lab scenario. The teams were engaged in reconnaissance and detection activities, where they had to identify the lab location and the potential chemical, biological or radiological agents it was supposed to contain. As part of their reconnaissance procedures, the teams then had to identify the location of a second lab by paying attention to signals they received from their equipment into some unexpected underground locations. In addition, the teams practiced CBRN sampling procedures, whereby they had to extract substances from the clandestine lab for further, more comprehensive external analysis.

As part of NCT Europe, the CBRNe Society, in cooperation with the Italian Joint NBC Defense School, hosted two days of training sessions, the well-known NCT PRO Trainings. The PRO Trainings were attended by over 60 training delegates from 10 countries across Europe, representing 11 training units: the Croatian Anti-Terrorism Unit Lucko; the Czech 31st CBRN Defense regiment; the Italian 7th CBRN Defense Regiment “Cremona”; Romania’s General Inspectorate; the Italian Joint NBC Defense School; Piedmont Maxiemergenza 118; the Italian Red Cross; the Hellenic Fire Corps; the Latvian National Armed Forces and State Security Services; and the Estonian Rescue Board. The teams practiced different on CBRNe-related scenarios by using equipment provided by sponsoring companies such as Bruker, ORTEC, SEC Technologies, NBC-Sys, BROKK, Metrohm Italiana, Proengin, BMD Spa, and Airsense Analytics. As mentioned, diverse training topics took place during the event. One of those was regarding the simulation of a clandestine lab scenario. The teams were engaged in reconnaissance and detection activities, where they had to identify the lab location and the potential chemical, biological or radiological agents it was supposed to contain. As part of their reconnaissance procedures, the teams then had to identify the location of a second lab by paying attention to signals they received from their equipment into some unexpected underground locations. In addition, the teams practiced CBRN sampling procedures, whereby they had to extract substances from the clandestine lab for further, more comprehensive external analysis.

Another scenario that took place, for instance, was a mixed IED-CBRN scenario where the teams were challenged to deal with a dirty car bomb. As part of the simulation, multi-purpose robots and chemical detectors were provided. The training teams had to formulate a specific plan of action according to which they had to identify the location and type of substances as well as methods of dealing with them effectively. Other scenarios were simulating the identification of radiological/nuclear substances and biochemical ones, where the teams had to conduct surveying, reconnaissance, and detection activities in an open field. Concluding the training, as part of the NCT Europe 2021 closing ceremony, the participating teams received a certification of attendance, confirming their participation and successful completion of the series of training. In conclusion, NCT Europe 2021 event exceeded the expectations in terms of delegates, teams, and sponsors, having received excellent feedback reviews. The NCT team is currently organizing the next events to follow, based on our 2022 agenda, in various parts of the world, starting in February with the NCT Middle East in Abu Dhabi. More are about to follow in Germany, the US, and Asia taking place along with our local partnerships on the field.