Introducing the project
As NATO Military Committee (MC) Policy 0685 states, a Centre of Excellence (COE) offers recognized expertise and experience within a defined subject matter area to the benefit of the Alliance within the four pillars of NATO's COE program (Education, Training, Exercise and Evaluation; Analysis and Lessons Learned; Doctrine Development and Standardization; and Concept Development and Experimentation). A COE is not a part of the NATO Command Structure or of other NATO entities, but forms a part of the wider framework that contributes to the functioning of the Alliance.

The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Centre of Excellence (JCBRN Defence COE) celebrates the 15-year anniversary of its establishment in 2021 (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 - 15th Anniversary Logo
Fig. 1 - 15th Anniversary Logo

This has led the JCBRN Defence COE to use this momentous occasion, not just for celebration, but to assess and improve itself by conducting strategic gap analysis (SGA). The SGA is being conducted using the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, Interoperability (DOTMLPFI) structure to identify risks, threats, opportunities and strategic DOTMLPFI recommendations that would allow the JCBRN Defence COE to better provide recognized CBRN expertise and experience to the benefit of the Alliance.

The SGA will evaluate the JCBRN Defence COE requirements, missions, goals and vision against the desired outcome and the current state. Critical to this SGA is the analysis of new, emerging and future tasks civil-military (CIV-MIL) interaction, cyber defence, emerging CBRN threats and cooperation with NATO, EU, industry and other potential partners. This difference in desired outcome and current state will allow the development of recommendations to close these gaps.

Essential to this SGA will be feedback from JCBRN Defence COE customers, partners and networks. Therefore, a series of surveys will be distributed to these groups in order to better inform our analysis of desired outcomes and current state. In addition, the JCBRN Defence COE internal human capital, job satisfaction and culture of excellence will be a major area of the SGA.

Methodology of work
The SGA will be conducted in several phases. Firstly, eight general areas for analysis were determined (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 - The JCBRN Defence COE General Areas
Fig. 2 - The JCBRN Defence COE General Areas

Each general area was broken down into several subareas, and the SGA Core Team performed a series of individual and group meetings with key leaders, subject-matter-experts (SMEs) and centre members. The initial analysis allowed the JCBRN Defence COE to develop initial tasks lists and recommendations to focus future phases of the SGA.

The next phase is to obtain the satisfaction of JCBRN Defence COE external partners/customers using surveys. Thus, a series of questionnaires was developed, and distributed to select NATO and non-NATO bodies. Also, personal interviews with key customers were performed. When interviewing external partners, the JCBRN Defence COE director’s vision was highlighted to focus the responses:
    ‘The Strategic gap analysis should be honest, realistic and specific in identifying the JCBRN Defence COE strategic gaps in our ability to meet our missions, tasks and most importantly support to the Alliance as a centre of excellence.’

In the third phase, each selected subarea was scrutinized by the SGA team in close cooperation with JCBRN Defence COE leaders, management, senior officers, and SMEs to develop a final assessment in each subarea. When gaps in desired outcomes and current states were identified, a remedial action or a recommendation was developed using DOTMLPFI structure to gain a decision on action steps.

Obviously, all the work was delayed slightly due to COVID 19 restrictions but virtual means and other relevant hygienic measures were used to continue work on the critical SGA.

Way ahead
The JCBRN Defence COE director has introduced the SGA project to the steering committee, at a NATO IS/IMS CBRN defence coordination meeting, and centre’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) flag officer-general officer (FOGO) champion.

The next step is to present the initial SGA to the steering committee in April 2021 followed by presentation of the final SGA in October 2021. Recommendations outlined in the final SGA will be implemented upon consent of the sponsoring nations (SNs) and contributing partner (CP), and other relevant bodies. The JCBRN Defence COE expects to complete this analysis and gain the approval by the end of 2021 for implementation in 2022.

Colonel (ret.) Jiří Gajdoš, JCBRN Defence COE, CZE
Major František Grmela, Experiment Analyst – Evaluator, JCBRN Defence COE, CZE – AF