NCT Asia 2016, organized in official partnership with the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Sciences and Technology Research Institute for Defense (STRIDE), hosted two separate conferences, NCT CBRNe Asia and NCT eXplosive Asia, with shared opening/closing plenaries and an exhibition area. The event which took place from the 8th to the 10th of November 2016 at Le Meridien Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, brought together government officials from all over the world, experts, first responders and decision-makers in the field of CBRNe and EOD/C-IED. Delegations from Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Indonesia attended the event which welcomed over 350 participants.
Live CBRN & EOD demonstration at Selayang Hospital
The 3-day event started with a live demonstration taking place at the Emergency and Trauma Department of the Selayang Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Various Malaysian agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department, the Royal Malaysian Police, the CBRN Unit and Health Services Division of the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Ministry of Health and STRIDE were involved in the exercise which simulated a terrorist CBRNe attack causing mass casualties. Efficient multi-agency coordination was the key to the demonstration’s success. A video of the demonstration can be found here.
NCT CBRNe Asia conference session
This was the fifth edition of the NCT Asia CBRNe conferences and like its predecessors in Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia, it attracted a range of expert speakers from all over the region and beyond. The opening address was delivered by the Secretary General of Malaysia’s Ministry of Defense, YBhg. Dato’ Sri Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi, and opened the way for the rest of the conference which was chaired by Brig Gen. Zahir Kazmi. The first day was highlighted by Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins’ interesting presentation on global health security which emphasized the various steps and programs undertaken by various actors to strengthen health security systems and preparedness. Other sessions throughout the day looked at country cases for CBRN defense organization and capabilities with Col. Klaus Schiff sharing important insights from the Bundeswehr’s perspective and Brig. Gen. Woon Goh from the Republic of Korea’s Armed Forces analysis of a CBRN response to a terrorist attack on a chemical facility. During the Joint Closing session, Brig. Gen. King gave a valuable overview of the US Army’s various agencies involved in CBRNe/EOD responses and the importance of inter-agency cooperation, an element which was prominently featured during the live demonstration.
The second conference day focused largely on responses to CBRN incidents, disaster management and solutions with some presentations by major CBRN industry representatives such as Environics and Morpho Detection, focusing on the available technological means. Brig. Gen. Kazmi opened the day’s conference sessions with a very comprehensive presentation on Pakistan’s CBRNe defense solutions which elaborated on the various agencies involved, government plans and legislation as well as the country’s research and development efforts. In the field on radiological-nuclear prevention and response, the conference welcomed regional specialists such as Dr Noriah Jamal from the Malaysian Nuclear Agency who gave a detailed presentation on the latest technological and scientific developments when dealing with nuclear and radiological incidents. Dr. Makoto Akashi from Japan’s National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology gave important insights based on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident and Mr. Duong Hong Nhat from the Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety provided the audience with a perspective on radiological threats and emergency response systems in Vietnam. Preparedness and risk management in the field of biological defense were also explored with an analysis based on the 2015 MERS virus outbreak in Korea given by Dr. Nam Taek Lee of the Republic of Korea’s BioDefense Research Institute. His presentation highlighted certain inadequacies in how the crisis was managed by hospitals and government agencies and what has been done since to improve preparedness.
The two-day conference finished with a Joint Closing Plenary which featured a presentation by Mohammed Said Nasri, political advisor for the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, on the mine threat in Syria which brought back to the forefront the current situation in Syria. The state of emergency in Syria, which suffers greatly from the use of explosives and chemical weapons against the civilian population, is a very real example of the CBRNe and IED threat today and offered a sober reflection on the necessity for states to ensure proper CBRNe and C-IED emergency responses.
NCT eXplosive Asia conference session
The eXplosive conference sessions welcomed experts from the armed forces, industry and government with an extensive background on EOD/C-IED and were chaired by Prof. Col. (ret.) Zvonko Orehovec. After opening remarks from Prof. Orehovec on the first day, Mr. Mohd Sofandi bin Bujang from the Government Security Office of the Prime Minister Department, gave the audience insights on the structure and procedures regarding the protection of Malaysia’s national key points and critical infrastructure. In recent years, the protection of critical infrastructure and national key points has been stressed, especially after the attacks in Paris, Brussels, Bangkok and Boston that all occurred in the last two years. These topics were also emphasized by Dr. Monika Felten, Director of R&D at Serim Research Corporation. Her presentation on Home-made explosives and the improvements in colorimetric detection, highlighted how easily accessible the ingredients for an effective explosive device are and how important it is to effectively detect the threat before the attack can happen.
On the second day the morning session was opened by Pol. Supt. Yuli Cahyanti, Director for Plans and Programmes at ASEANAPOL. She stressed the need for further cooperation in the form of cross border operations within the ASEAN region on combatting issues such as terrorism, arms smuggling, and illicit drug trafficking. Assistant Inspector General of Police Shafqat Malik highlighted the numerous IED-threats Pakistan has been facing since 9/11. He stressed the importance of solid lines of communication and general cooperation with local communities in order to combat the threat of explosive attacks.
The explosive conference continued in the afternoon of the second day with a presentation given by Police Senior Superintendent Marlon Sapla, Acting Chief of the Philippine Bomb Data Centre, who emphasized the importance of understanding intelligence in preparing the force, attacking the network, and defeating the device. After this, Specialist Superintendent Alick Mcwhirter from the Hong Kong Police Force gave us insights on the threats faced in a highly urbanized area such as Hong Kong. Brigadier Basant Ponwar, Director of the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College completed a wide variety of covered topics by presenting on the current threats and scenarios in India whilst emphasizing the importance of training those who put their lives at risk.
NCT Asia 2016 in the news
Malaysian online newspaper Utusan published an article and video of the live demonstration which can be found here, describing the importance of improving multi-agency coordination when responding to possible CBRNe attacks which can cause destruction on a large scale.
For more pictures of the event, have a look at IB Consultancy’s Facebook page here.
In 2017, NCT Asia comes to Singapore!
The next editions of NCT CBRNe Asia and NCT eXplosive Asia will be held in conjunction and in collaboration with the International Symposium on Protection Against Toxic Substances (SISPAT) which is organized by DSO National Laboratories. All three conferences will take place on from March 21st to 23rd 2017 in the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore. For more information on the event, the program, the speakers, the exhibitors and more, check out the event website.