The third edition of NCT CBRNe Middle East 2016 took place from the 26th to the 28th of September at the Radisson Blu in Kuwait City and attracted international experts, local first responders and stakeholders in the field of CBRNe defense and response. After successful events in Abu Dhabi and Amman, this year’s edition of NCT CBRNe Middle East offered unique networking and knowledge exchange opportunities for end-users, industry representatives and decision makers. The event consisted in 2 days of conference and exhibition as well as static displays of CBRNe capabilities by the Kuwaiti Fire Service Directorate and the National Guard. The event hosted delegates from the Kuwaiti Special Forces, Police, Fire Service, Armed Forces, National Guard and many more. Following the tradition of NCT conferences and exhibitions, the event was opened on the 26th of September by an icebreaking reception in the fascinating venue of the Al Hashemi Marine Museum.

Conference sessions in the majestic Al Hashemi II dhow

The conference, chaired by Guy Roberts, former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for riy_6028WMD Policy at NATO, opened the doors to the delegates on Tuesday the 27th with a plenary session in the fascinating scene of the largest hand-crafted wooden dhow in the world. The keynote opening speech was given by Major General Jamal Al-Belaihis, Deputy General Manager for Firefighting Sector at the Kuwaiti Fire Service Directorate. Major General Al-Belaihis presented on the role and capability of the Fire Service Directorate in responding to CBRNe accidents and attacks while underlining the importance of interagency cooperation and a clear definition of roles in responding to CBRNe threats. Part of his speech can be viewed here. The keynote opening was followed by an extremely comprehensive presentation on Civil and Military Capability Development in CBRNE Disaster Prevention by Martin Neujahr, Head of Global Business Unit CBRN at Bruker Detection. Mr. Neujahr stressed the importance of proper use of CBRNE equipment and the value of involving CBRNE experts in critical infrastructure planning.

The conference continued after the opening plenary with a presentation by Guy Roberts, the conference chairman, on the risk posed by new technologies and WMD terrorism, followed by a speech by Dr. Bernhard Halstrup, Vice President and Head of Competence riy_6238Center for CBRN Defense Systems at Rheinmetall MAN Vehicles on the Capabilities of the Fully Integrated CBRN Reconnaissance Systems. The morning session on Homeland
Protection was closed by a presentation by Brig. Gen. Hassan Saleh Al-Nesf, Deputy Chairman of the Qatari National Committee for the Prohibition of Weapons who opened his presentation on WMD Challenges by giving a comprehensive introduction on the security measures undertaken by Qatar in preparation of the 2022 World Cup.

During the afternoon session, the conference concentrated on Requirements in CBRNe Resilience and Response with presentations by Col. Hussein Al Hameidi, Director of Disaster Department at the Jordan Civil Defense Directorate, Ministry of Interior who gave an overview on HAZMAT Civil Defense organization in Jordan. On requirements in CBRNe resilience and response, Col. (ret.) Wolfgang Widders, Senior Advisor for CBRN Protection Systems at Kärcher Futuretech outlined future decontamination capabilities developed by the German company through a conceptual and technological approach. In closing of the first conference day, Dr. Ruud Busker, Program Manager for CBRN Protection at TNO emphasized the impact of setting accurate requirements in testing CBRN technologies.

The morning of the second conference day offered a comprehensive insight in CBRN Disaster Management and Emerging CBRN Threats and Solutions. Col. (ret.) Fahed Al-Shelaimi, Chairman of the Gulf Peace and Security Forum presented on the Iranian nuclear threat to the security and environment of the GCC countries. The morning continued with Gordan Pesic, Emergency Response Program Manager at DOK-ING who drew the attention to the use of robotic solutions in disaster response. To close the session, Brig. Gen. Zahir Kazmi, Director of Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs at the Pakistan National Command Authority outlined the CBRN defense structure and organization in Pakistan.

Emerging CBRNe threats and innovative solutions were presented by Dr. Claudia Gärtner, CEO of microfluidic ChipShop and Prof. Natividad Carpintero-Santamaria, General Secretary of the Institute of Nuclear Fusion in Madrid who respectively offered valuable insights in the real-time detection of biological agents and in the development of RN asymmetric threats.

Static display of CBRNE reconnaissance and decontamination capabilities

 After a morning of conference sessions dedicated to CBRN Disaster Management and Emergency Response, the delegates had the chance to discuss directly with representatives of the Kuwaiti National Guard and the Kuwaiti Fire Service Directorate about CBRNe capability development in Kuwait. Furthermore, participants attended a static display of reconnaissance and decontamination vehicles from the Kuwaiti Fire Service Directorate and the Kuwaiti National Guard. By showcasing CBRNe equipment and vehicles, the display offered an excellent opportunity to interact with first responders and learn more about the response mechanisms applied in Kuwait in case of a domestic incident involving hazardous materials.

The use of Chemical Weapons in Syria and Iraq: voices form the frontline  

The CBRNe threat has been rising in the Middle East with the use of chemical weapons in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq in the past years. These developments underline the need for adaptive response mechanisms, effective surveillance systems and improved protection equipment. The closing plenary of the event welcomed a speech by Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, Managing Director CBRN at Avon Protection, chemical weapons adviser in Syria and Iraq and co-founder of the CBRN Task-Force in Syria. Mr. de Bretton-Gordon experienced the use of chemical weapons in Syria together with Dr. Houssam Alnahhas who was nominated by the National Coalition of Syrian Opposition Forces to represent the Syrian CBRN Task Force at NCT CBRNe Middle East. Dr. Alnahhas, who experienced several chemical attacks in Syria, led a medical team to treat casualties and coordinated efforts between various NGOs to develop preparedness and response protocols in case of chemical attacks. During his presentation, Dr. Alnahhas highlighted the lack of proper protective equipment and medical countermeasures as well as the overwhelmed situation of health facilities in Syria and called the absolute need to stop all types of violations against humanity including the use of chemical agents. The live-streamed presentation of Dr. Alnahhas can be viewed here.

See you next year!

Wrapping up the third edition of NCT CBRNe Middle East in Kuwait, IB Consultancy is proud to announce that next year’s edition of Middle East’s only CBRNe event will be held in Doha, Qatar. Further information will soon be published on the official event website.

Before NCT returns to the Middle East, check out the event’s photos here or sign-up for the NCT/CBNW newsletter here.

 

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Anna Paternnosto is a consultant at IB Consultancy. She holds a Master’s Degree in International and Diplomatic Studies from the University of Trieste (Italy). From 2013 to 2015 she served as the Deputy- Secretary of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association of Gorizia and participated in numerous international seminars on transatlantic security and emerging security challenges. Before joining IB Consultancy, she conducted a traineeship at the Austrian Mission to NATO in Brussels.