In the same manner, as in previous decades, the NATO Alliance presently confronts a world wherein the potential use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials or Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) by both state and non-state actors remains a central and evolving threat to Alliance security. Recognizing this reality, NATO must be prepared to prevent potential adversaries from gaining access to WMD and their means of delivery, respond to the source of any WMD attack, and mitigate the effects of WMD use.

To contribute to this goal through education and training, the JCBRN Defence COE provides key experts within the NATO Forces with the knowledge, enabling them to fulfil NATO’s commitment to countering WMD.

In response to this challenge, the JCBRN Defence COE conducted the NATO Activities Countering WMD Course from November 6 to 10, 2023, in Rieti, Italy. A total of 17 Italian soldiers, airmen, sailors, one civilian, and two US Army officers attended the course. Due to doctrinal updates, this marked the first time the course had been conducted in three years.

The course's focus was on incorporating one of the key commitments outlined in NATO's 2022 CBRN Defence Policy: the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Professional instructors from across NATO and its partners, including the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), European-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), University of Rome “Tor Vergata,” and JCBRN Defence COE’s Doctrine and Terminology Section Chief, supported the course. Each provided attendees with professional insights and opportunities to further discuss the complexities of countering WMD.

Based on student feedback, the "learning by doing" approach employed by instructors during syndicate work was highly effective. Each student felt that it significantly enhanced their ability to work on countering WMD planning within their organic unit.

The JCBRN Defence COE will conduct this course's next iteration from 20 – 24 May 2024 in Vyškov, Czech Republic.

Course registration may be completed at (


Author: LTC Rudolf Konár
Photos: JCBRN Defence COE Archive