The JCBRN Defence COE Annual Conference is the centre’s most important strategically activity in support of NATO. This year conference took place in Prague from 22-24 November 2021 aiming to contribute to the "NATO‘s 2030: United for a New Era Vision” and the Joint EU - NATO Declaration on Cooperation efforts while following up on the outcomes from the 2019 conference on civil - military interaction and cross border issues from the CBRN defence perspective.

Ambassador and Major General (ret.) Petr Voznica chaired the conference. In total 45 representatives from 11 nations (Austria, Czech Republic, Canada, Hungary, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Turkey, and United States of America) participated. They represented International Organizations (NATO HQ- International Staff, International Military Staff, and ACT), and European Union representatives (European Commission, European Union Military Staff, and European Defence Agency). The JCBRN Defence COE, as the conference host, was represented by Colonel David Martinek, Colonel Wolfgang Reich, Colonel William Epolito, Colonel (ret.) Milan Novotný, Major František Grmela and Mr Zdeněk Hýbl. This core team was supported by former JCBRN Defence COE members Col Vratislav Osvald, LTC (ret.) Bernd Allert and two former JCBRN Defence COE interns, Mr Jasper Krause and Ms Sarah Bilj.

The two-day Conference agenda was divided into keynote addresses, panels presentations and discussions, and conference recommendations and conclusion discussions.

The keynote speakers focused on the Conference main topic “NATO 2030 CBRN defence resilience and EU cooperation“. The first Keynote speaker Gen (ret.) Petr Pavel, former Chairman of the Military Committee and Chief of Defence, discussed the NATO 2030 Vision from the military perspective and provided his personal views of the current and future world security environment. The second keynote speaker was Dr Wendin Smith, the new Director of Arms Control, Disarmament and WMD Non-proliferation Centre from NATO HQ, and she focused on the current state of NATO’s WMD and CBRN defence and its future challenges.

These keynotes speeches were a great preface for the follow-on panels which included: CBRN defence – current and future challenges, NATO – EU cooperation, NATO – EU practical cooperation in CBRN defence / protection domain, and legal framework for civil – military interaction. The second day of the conference was devoted to open discussion and summariztion of recommendations based on the previous day’s panels.

The conference was concluded by the chairman, Ambassador and Major General (ret.) Petr Voznica. He outlined the way to support ongoing and future work on CBRN defence domain, partner’s cooperation, civil - military interaction and NATO – EU cooperation.

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Author: COL (ret.) Milan Novotný

Photos: COL (ret.) Milan Novotný