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 other NATO entities, but forms a part of the wider framework that contributes to the functioning of the Alliance.

To better reflect the recently updated guidance in the MC Policy 0685, the Czech Republic, as the framework nation, offered to lead and prepare an update of the Joint CBRN Defence COE (JCBRN Defence COE) concept to the JCBRN Defence COE Steering Committee (SC) members on 13 October 2020 which was approved by the SC.

At the same time, in 2021, the JCBRN Defence COE celebrates the 15th anniversary of its establishment. The JCBRN Defence COE decided to use this momentous occasion, not just for celebration, but also to assess and improve itself by conducting a strategic gap analysis (SGA). While the SGA was conducted internally and separately from the concept update, it served as a complementary effort to inform the concept update. The SGA was conducted using the Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, 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 evaluated the JCBRN Defence COE requirements, missions, goals and vision against the desired outcome and the current state. Critical to this SGA was the analysis of new, emerging, and future tasks including civil-military interaction; cyber defence; and emerging CBRN threats and cooperation with NATO, EU, industry and other potential partners. The identified differences in the desired outcomes and current states revealed a need for adjustments in the JCBRN Defence COE, and its organization and structure.

In line with the Czech Republic proposal and taking into account the updated MC Policy 0685 and complementary SGA effort, the Czech Republic drafted the concept update. The concept draft was presented at the last JCBRN Defence COE Steering Committee (SC) meeting in April 2021. To further develop the draft, based on mutual agreement across the JCBRN Defence COE sponsoring nations (SNs) and contributing partner (CP), the Czech Republic representative conducted a concept workshop (WS). The WS was hosted at the JCBRN Defence COE from 20 - 22 July 2021 with representatives from Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Slovakia, and the United States of America.

The WS aimed to finalize the draft and address any identified comments or concerns. The finalized concept draft better considers the updated MC Policy 0685 to include describing the roles and responsibilities of departments and sections; reflecting current and expected future tasks; and outputs from the SGA. The finalized concept draft was submitted to all SNs and CP for their consideration and eventual presentation at the Autumn SC meeting in October 2021.

Author: MAJ František GRMELA, CZE-A

Photo: Hana JURČOVÁ, CIV