The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Centre of Excellence celebrated the 10th anniversary of its establishment on Monday, 17th October 2016. Officially established on 26th October 2006, the Centre held the festivities in early October in conjunction with the semi-annual Steering Committee meeting in order to take advantage of the unique opportunity to have all twelve Sponsoring Nations and the Contributing Partner present.

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The Celebratory Ceremony was divided into to three parts. The first part of the celebration started, when the Centre’s Director, Colonel GS Jiří Gajdoš, welcomed all distinguished guests, former directors, Steering Committee members, all Sponsoring Nations‘ and the Contributing Partner‘s representatives, representatives from partner organizations and at last but not least all former and current COE members. Colonel Gajdoš praised the work done by the JCBRN Defence COE in past ten years and stated: “Ten years could be taken as a very short period of time, in human conception for individuals, the Centre would still be an immature child. However, ten years existence of the organization, when hundreds of the CBRN Defence Subject Matter Experts passed successfully through this centre, could be taken as a very important milestone and may indicate that we conquered our place in the world.”

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The second part of the celebration took place at the new COE monument area, where the First Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, General Jiří Baloun, delivered the Host Nation opening address. He pointed out the significant milestones of the Centre’s establishment and history, praised the key supporters; all of which helped “the COE to become a unique International Military Organization which is able to draw upon the combined knowledge of its 71 Subject Matter Experts who together own over the years of experience in the field defence”. In order to underline the Centre’s steady growth and further development, the representative from the Republic of Austria, Colonel GS Erich Weissenböck, gave a statement concerning Austria’s recently gained status as Contributing Partner – the first Non-NATO Nation in the Centre. The NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges, Dr. Jamie Shea, congratulated the JCBRN Defence COE for its achievements and underlined its extraordinary relevance for the Defence against Terrorism. Afterwards, Colonel Gajdoš and his distinguished guests, Dr. Shea and General Baloun, unveiled the new COE Monument, which is devoted to the Centre’s establishment. On behalf of the Czech Ministry of Defence, General Baloun honoured key personnel with the Cross of Merit of the Czech Republic and the Honorary Badge of the Chief of General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces. At the end of this part, the JCBRN Defence COE commemorated its former Deputy Director, Colonel Janos Zelenak, who sadly had passed away way too early.

The third part of the celebration was held in the Hotel Allvet, where seven COE nations presented their CBRN Defence Capabilities and Capacities in a static display. The guests had the unique opportunity to become acquainted with selected equipment or special kits and gear of the CBRN Defence troops. Representing the Sponsoring Nations, the Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany, Colonel GS Hans-Christian Hettfleisch, finally addressed the Centre’s many successes during its ten years of existence, and the last part of the celebration was devoted mainly to the former COE members, their personal contribution to the development of the current shape of the Centre, and to the multinational CBRN Community.

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Author: MAJ Ilona Chylíková