The Commander of the Austrian CBRN Defence Centre Colonel (GS) Jürgen SCHLECHTER, accompanied by his deputy Lieutenant Colonel Franz FRAISS and 2 members of the “Forum CBRN Defence”, Brigadier General (retired) Norbert FÜRSTENHOFER and councillor Karl SCHRATTENHOLZER visited the Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Centre of Excellence (JCBRND COE) on the 26th of November ,2019 in Vyškov, Czech Republic.

The aim of this visit was to gain insight into the current activities and efforts at the JCBRND COE; discuss future cooperation; build on previous relationships; and visit the Austrian CBRN Defence Staff Officer, who is working in the Transformation Support Department at the JCBRND COE.

The JCBRND COE Chief of Staff, Colonel William EPOLITO (USA-Army), accompanied by the department directors of the Transformation Support Department (TSD), Operation Support Department (OSD), and Training, Exercise and Education Department (TEED) warmly welcomed the Delegation at the JCBRND COE and provided the command briefing covering NATO COEs in general; the JCBRND COE development, vision, mission, tasks, and structure; and each departments responsibilities and duties. The command brief was followed by two very interesting tours and briefings of the Operation Support Department (OSD) CBRN Reachback and Modelling & Simulation with special emphasis on their unique capabilities as the NATO CBRN Reachback and exceptional expertise. The Delegation was very impressed and interested in these unique capabilities and on future potential cooperation.

Cooperation now and in future

The visit was concluded with a summary by Colonel EPOLITO, pointing out the previous and continued cooperation between the two organisations. Colonel EPOLITO provided three examples of such cooperation to include the Austrian-lead European Union (EU) European Defence Agency (EDA) Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project CBRN Surveillance as a Service (CBRN SaaS); JCBRND COE Mobile Education and Training (MET) at the CBRN Defence Centre in Austria; and Austria subject matter experts support to JCBRND COE courses. Col SCHLECHTER expressed his high appreciation and gratefulness to this informative and very well organised comprehensive event. He underpinned his high interest in intensifying the cooperation in areas such as exchange of expertise between the national and the JCBRND COE-led NATO CBRN Defence Reachback; increasing support to the JCBRND COE Education and Training with subject matter experts; and optimizing European Union and NATO cooperation efforts. Finally, Col SCHLECHTER thanked the JCBRND COE for the previous, current and hopefully future cooperation on the EU EDA PESCO CBRN SaaS project.

Author: LtCol Roman LAIMER, AUT-A
Photos: LtCol Aleš MYLAN, CZE-A