Located in the northern part of the Madrid region, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense School is the main center for CBRN Education and Training in Spain. Despite being a small center with around twenty people, it has several courses, seminars and other education activities in its agenda every year. But the education is only a part of the everyday activities. It is also the national military reference center for Doctrine, Terminology, Material and Equipment Acquisition, Training Standards and Lessons Learned of all the Armed Forces despite it belongs to the Army.
The CBRN Defense School was created in 1982 but it inherited the missions and background of previous units and commands, dating back the beginning of the chemical war. It has been always adapted to the latest tactical and technical development of the CBRN Defense with both an international and a comprehensive approach. Nowadays the CBRN School is integrated in the War School, the advanced teaching center of the Army.
The members of the CBRN Defense School are also the representatives in the international groups related to CBRN Defense, mainly the NATO Groups. The international doctrine and tendencies in training and equipment are incorporated into the national doctrine because the School is in charge of its development. Every year the School organizes several meetings and seminars to develop the doctrine, training manuals and other documentation; and it also advices the Army Major Staff in CBRN Defense. Nowadays it is beginning to coordinate the efforts in the Joint level.
The School has been the main CBRN Defense education center in Spain not only for the Armed Forces, but also for all security and medical civilians’ organizations. It was the organization that introduced and began the CBRN issues in the country. Security Forces officers and Emergency Services members have attended several courses in the School. Nowadays there are two main courses in the School; one is more related to military aspects and the other is focused in response to incidents in a civilian environment. However a lot of contents are similar in part due to the application of the comprehensive approach concept in operations.
The levels of proficiency in CBRN Defense have been adapted from the NATO standards to the Spanish particularities. There are four level of education and training in CBRN:
- BASIC: This level is the training for any personnel in military operation. It is designed to provide the knowledge to survive in the CBRN environment.
- All the military personnel get this level in order to fulfil the operations and to accomplish missions despite the CBRN threat in an operations area.
- INTERMEDIATE: This level provide to certain personnel with the knowledge and additional training to do some specific CBRN tasks in operations. Some personnel is designated to receive this additional level (i.e. CBRN Recce operators, Warning and Reporting operators….)
- SPECIALIST: Finally, the Specialist Level provides the knowledge to deploy as a CBRN specialist. The military CBRN Defense Specialists are educated in the School up to the NATO standards.
There is a project to integrate the CBRN Defense Military education in the civilian university standards. The initial military education for officers and noncommissioned is included in the national education system. So the CBRN Specialist level should be included as a post grade course.
Another important ongoing project of the CBRN Defense School is the building a Training area. The beginning of the building is expected in 2016. It has been designed in collaboration with a Spanish industry (GRUPO HIRVI www.hirvi.es [Formimetal s.l.]). This facility would mean an important improvement in the CBRN Defense training of the personnel, including the capability for confidence testing of the individual protection equipment. This type of training activities and testing is essential, taking into consideration that survivability in a CBRN environment is assured by the equipment.
The facility is going to be used not only during the courses, but also the CBRN Defense Teams could execute training and evaluation exercises; either non-specialist, specialist CBRN Defense Units and civilian organizations.
The training area would also allow the preparation of other type of activities and aspects, like explosive device reconnaissance, fire extinguishing or medical evacuation in catastrophe areas.
The CBRN Defense is in permanent evolution and that forces the education and training to adapt to the new tendencies and technologies. The integration in the same organization of the doctrine development, material and equipment acquisition and the education and training has permitted to the CBRN Defense School being updated and keeping the leadership of the CBRN Defense in Spain. The participation in the international forums and the collaboration with the civilian organizations have been the greatest successes and what has given the good reputation of the School.
The future of the School is the constant revision of the contents, tactics and technics and the equipment because the threat is evolving permanently and the education centers cannot stop and be indulgent with their own work.