Recognizing effective civil-military cooperation as an important element of CBRN incident response, in 2019, the NATO Defence Ministers endorsed „Non-binding Guidelines for enhanced civil-military cooperation to deal with the consequences of large scale CBRN events associated with terrorist attacks”. The aim of the Non-binding Guidelines is to support national strategic, operational, and tactical planners to enhance civil-military cooperation for CBRN preparedness.

Based on this document, the JCBRN Defence COE prepared and conducted a JCBRN Defence COE Advisor’s Conference focusing on civil-military cooperation in case of a large-scale CBRN incident in Prague, Czech Republic from 17 – 19 September 2019. The aim of the conference was to contribute actively to NATO efforts to support the non-binding guidelines to enhance civil-military cooperation at the political and strategic levels on CBRN defence, crisis response and consequence management to support national efforts.

Ambassador Major General (ret.) Petr Voznica (CZE) chaired the conference which was attended by 39 representatives from 10 nations (Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and United States of America) and several international organizations (NATO HQ – International Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), JCBRN Defence COE). The JCBRN Defence COE was represented by Colonel Vratislav Osvald (director, CZE-Army), Colonel Wolfgang Reich (deputy director, DEU-Army), Colonel (ret.) Milan Novotny (strategic communications), Mr. Zdenek Hýbl (legal advisor).

The conference substantive outcomes were briefed to relevant NATO committees, partners and select European Union (EU) subject matter experts. All briefings were well received, and the centre was asked to continue with this support.

Consequently, the JCBRN Defence COE Steering Committee decided to continue supporting ongoing NATO HQ efforts in this area, and the centre scheduled a second conference in October 2020, which was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The next conference is scheduled for 5-6 October 2021 in Prague, and it will be chaired by Ambassador Major General (ret.) Petr Voznica and General Hans-Lothar Domröse (former Joint Force Command Brunssum Commander) will be a keynote speaker.

To actively contribute and support the 2018 Joint Declaration on EU-NATO cooperation where CBRN defence is one of mutual cooperation priorities, important EU subject matter experts will be invited to attend the conference. The Centre strongly believes that outcome from the upcoming conference will contribute to efforts to enhance civil-military cooperation and hence support national resilience and deterrence.

Author: Colonel (ret.) Milan Novotný, StratCom Advisor, JCBRN Defence COE, CZE

Photo: Military History Institue Prague