On Friday, 20th January 2017, the Joint CBRN Defence Centre of Excellence bade goodbye to its Director, Colonel Jiří Gajdoš, who had led the Centre for more than four years, and welcomed Colonel Vratislav Osvald, who up to now served as the Director of the Centre’s Training, Exercise and Education Department.

b_270_180_16777215_00_images_PICTURES_20170120_Ceremony_DSC_1271.jpg b_270_180_16777215_00_images_PICTURES_20170120_Ceremony_DSC_1273.jpg


Colonel Volker Quante (DEU), Deputy Director of the NATO JCBRND COE, led through the short official ceremony at the Centre’s monument in Vyškov Garrison.




During the ceremony, in which all COE members participated, Colonel Gajdoš noted that during his four years of leadership, the Centre has been significantly modified and a new operational capability established – the NATO CBRN Reachback. After the recently celebrated 10th anniversary, twelve Sponsoring Nations and one Contributing Partner constitute the Centre’s core today. “Without ongoing support from the Czech Armed Forces and various NATO structures, the Joint CBRN Defence COE would not be where it is today. None of the achievements would have been possible without the great people and the good co-operation at the JCBRN Defence COE as well as with the great members of the Steering Committee. I am grateful for this considerable support and hope it will be continuous. I am going to continue to support the NATO CBRN Defence to work as member of the Framework Nation Concept – CBRN Protection Cluster in Bruchsal, Germany”, Colonel Gajdoš stated. Colonel Vratislav Osvald, the new Director, is an experienced leader who has served within the Centre since 2011 as a Director of Training, Exercises and Education Department. Due to his excellent engagement, the Centre gained the status of the NATO Department Head for WMD and CBRN Education and Training, including unconditional Quality Assurance. At the end of the ceremony the outgoing Director handed over the NATO Joint CBRN Defence COE flag as a symbolic baton of command to the new director.

Col. Vratislav OSVALD´s biography  is available on this website.

A change of command ceremony is a military tradition that represents a formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one to another. The passing of colours, standards, or ensigns from an outgoing commander to an incoming one ensures that the unit and its soldiers is never without official leadership, a continuation of trust, and also signifies an allegiance of soldiers to their units commander.

The change of command ceremony is rooted in military history dating back to the 18th century when organizational flags were developed with color arrangements and symbols unique to each particular unit. When a change of command took place the flag was passed to the individual assuming the command. This gesture was accomplished in front of the unit so that all could see and witness their new leader assuming his dutiful position. He who held the flag also held the soldier’s allegiance. This symbolic tradition has survived throughout military history.