The Third iteration of WIT VNCF 2018 took place between 11th September and 28th September in Szentendre, Hungary. The course was hosted by Hungarian Defence Forces NCO Academy (HDF NCOA), as part of the VNCF WIT Training 2017-2018 Executing Agent Agreement. This three week course starts with the theoretical foundations of the exploitation and proceeds with two weeks practical, allowing students to perform all the roles within a WIT team (Team leader, scribe, Photographer and collector). Students perform thoroughly several incidents, starting with receiving of the task, being deployed to incident site and conducting the scene investigation, producing WIT reports and finalizing next day with a debriefing. VNCF instrument has proven again being a very powerful tool to fulfill the NATO Operational requirements. The program allows nations to join in an international pool all the needed trainers (and related knowledge) filling the existing gaps in most nations without too much burden to each one.
Northern Challenge 18
The exercise NORTHERN CHALLENGE is a Multi-National Bomb Disposal Exercise which was conducted between 16th of September to the 27th of September. The purpose of Northern Challenge is to train response to real-life terrorist incidents involving improvised and military explosive devices, similar to those that have occurred in recent NATO missions and of those to be expected in future missions. IEDs in a maritime environment have proven to be a serious threat in various mission areas. The exercise area offers the opportunity to exercise maritime IEDD as a supplement to land based IEDD. 14 nations, the C-IED COE and EOD COE attended the exercise, with a total of 250 participants, 24 EOD teams, 2 search teams and 4 WIT operators. The teams had to deal with 590 devices, from which 315 land and 100 maritime. The aim of the exercise is to provide a unique possibility of pre-training mainly for IED teams serving, or being deployed, for international missions. C-IED COE has supported this exercise with subject matter expertise in various areas of the Counter IED domain.
Supporting Training Activities
C-IED CoE participated with personnel from 1 – 19 October 2018 on the multinational exercise “ARDENT DEFENDER 2018” (AD 18). This exercise was organized by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Joint Counter Threat Task Force (JCET TF). All the activities were executed according to the scenario on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden and 4th Canadian Division Training Center (4 CDTC) Meaford, Ontario. 400 participants from 24 nations had the opportunity to train and practice under a realistic and holistic scenario of Peace Support Operation. The objective of the AD 18 was to practice the cycle of exploitation from the lowest tactical up to higher operational level in an Area of Operation according to the scenario.
From 4-8 June 2018 the C-IED Staff Officers Course (CSOC) 18.2 was conducted in the C-IED COE in Madrid. The course teaches the students the basics to work in a tactical/operational level HQ and become the commanders C-IED subject matter expert. This was the second of three iterations in 2018. In total seven colleagues from the C-IED COE attended the course and accomplished the requirement for a C-IED COE member to have completed the CSOC. 24 students completed the course successfully. Compared to the usual training audience of the CSOC, the training audience this iteration had more NCOs and younger attendees than normal with lower rank. Also two representatives from the Guardia Civil attended the course with less military experience. This made the learning curve for the ‘average’ student very high. Also it showed the necessity to implement a general briefing with the introduction of an operational HQ. This is planned for future courses. .
NATO Parliamentary Assembly, visit to the C-IED CoE.
Last 26 and 27 September, 2018, a delegation of the Defense and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly made an official visit to Spain with the dual purpose: participate in the "Global SOF Symposium-Europe", held in Madrid and visiting various agencies and military units of interest, amongst which the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Torrejón de Ardoz and the C-IED CoE. On Thursday, 27 September 2018, the delegation of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly visited the Counter - Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE), located in Hoyo de Manzanares (Madrid). The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is the organization that brings together parliamentarians from NATO member countries and other partner Nations. Headquartered in Brussels (Belgium), its “ raison d ' être” is – although institutionally seperated from NATO- to serve as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of the NATO nations. It provides greater transparency of NATO policies, and fosters better understanding of the Alliance’s objectives and missions among legislators and citizins of the alliance. During his visit to the C-IED CoE, the Delegation received a briefing about the Center, its objectives and activities. In this presentation, the Director of the C-IED COE stressed two fundamental aspects: 1. The fight against the improvised explosive devices has gone from being a succession of specific events, to an inherent and inseparable part of any future operations scenario. 2. C-IED fight is carried out at all levels of society, including the political level. The Director addressed his audience: “You are able to configure the future strategic fighting scenario where NATO will operate in relationship to C-IED with your vision and your support”.