Julie Anne Claire Hoogendoorn:

On the 1st of September 2023, my journey at the JCBRN Defence COE in Vyskov, Czech Republic commenced, marking the beginning of a transformative six-month internship. Delving into the intricacies of civil-military interaction during crisis operations, specifically in the context of Article 5, became the focal point of my research endeavours. Throughout this period, I meticulously compared and analysed the responses and cooperation mechanisms of various NATO nations, leveraging the organisation's extensive professional and international network.

The JCBRN COE, with its rich tapestry of experts and a welcoming atmosphere, facilitated an environment conducive to immersive learning. The depth of insights gained during my internship emanated not only from the organisation's internal experts but also from the invaluable contributions of external individuals connected through its global network. This holistic approach allowed me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

Right from the start, every person in the organisation displayed exceptional kindness and unwavering support. The welcoming atmosphere was a comforting embrace for a young professional embarking on the journey into the occupational realm. The internship emerged as an enlightening, fulfilling, and overwhelmingly positive experience, serving as an ideal initiation into the complexities of international crisis management.

Observing firsthand how international organisations such as the JCBRN COE and NATO navigate the challenges of CBRN crisis management broadened my perspectives. The exposure to various crisis management strategies underscored the intricate dynamics at play in the global arena. This transformative experience would not have been possible without the steadfast support of a team of highly experienced professionals who generously shared their expertise throughout the internship period.

The collaborative discussions on civil-military interactions concerning CBRN issues and the constructive feedback received from these seasoned experts significantly enriched my learning journey. After reflecting on my entire internship experience, I can confidently say that it was a remarkable success. My sincere gratitude goes to the JCBRN Defence COE for providing me with this invaluable opportunity, shaping not only my professional growth but also instilling in me a profound appreciation for the complexities inherent in international crisis management.

Brandon Morrison Heppener:

On the 4th of September 2023 I started my six-month internship at the JCBRN Defence COE. During my stay at the COE, I had the opportunity to work on an internship project about the role of the COE in CBRN defence in 2030 and beyond. The main objective of this project was to identify challenges that the COE may face in the future, and how these challenges may affect the role that the COE has in CBRN defence. To identify the challenges, a questionnaire and interviews were conducted as primary research methods.

Overall, I am very positive about my experience at the COE. I have learned a lot, both on a professional level and also on a personal level. The topic caused me to learn a lot about the COE, NATO, CBRN defence and other interesting topics, and living away from home caused me to learn on a personal level. The COE is a very welcoming environment to ‘roll into’ as an intern. The professionals of the COE were very knowledgeable and kind which helped to feel welcome as an intern. Events like the annual conference in Prague and the Winter Evaluation truly made me feel to be part of the team.

Interviewing the experts of the COE was very informative and crucial to the internship project. Without the help of the experts of the COE I would not have been able to produce an appropriate end-product. Overall, I think this internship has been a great experience and thus it has been a success. I would like to thank the JCBRN Defence COE for providing me with this amazing opportunity.

Author: Ms Julie Anne Claire Hoogendoorn and Mr Brandon Morrison Heppener