Since 2012, NCT CBRNe Asia is the annual CBRNe defense networking forum in Asia! While assembling each year attendees from more than 20 countries, it has become the largest and leading event for the CBRNe community in the region. After events in Bangkok (2012), Kuala Lumpur (2013) and Phnom Penh (2014), NCT CBRNe Asia 2015 was hosted where it all began – in Bangkok, the dazzling capital of Thailand. As its predecessors, it had been organized in partnership with the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (NIEMS) of the Thai Ministry of Health and in cooperation with government partners such as the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Police.
Live CBRNe Exercise & Training of the Royal Thai Police and Royal Thai Army
On November 10, NCT CBRNe Asia traditionally started with a live CBRNe exercise and an extended networking program. This year, the live CBRNe training was hosted by the Royal Thai Army at the Royal Thai Police’s Sporting Stadium, providing an outstanding venue for a hands-on insight in Thai CBRNe response capabilities. Starting with an IED incident including chemical hazardous materials, the Royal Thai Police demonstrated its capabilities in EOD response, CBRNe reconnaissance and further investigation. From that moment on, the Royal Thai Army’s Chemical Corps took over the response to the chemical hazard including UGV investigation, CBRN reconnaissance and decontamination. In addition, both stakeholders demonstrated their capabilities in CBRNe detection and mitigation facing an unexploded IED, including the application of robotics and forensic techniques.
NCT CBRNe Awards Gala Party under Bangkok’s sky
In the evening, the live CBRNe exercise was followed by the NCT CBRNe Awards Gala Party. 47 floors above the busy city of Bangkok, the winners of the third edition of the NCT CBRNe Awards – the awards for both the CBRNe industry and I(N)GO community – were announced at the spectacular Cloud 47 Roof Top Bar. While enjoying live music and stunning views of Bangkok’s impressive skyline, the attending delegates enjoyed an outstanding networking opportunity that most will remember.
Obviously, the Awards Gala took place against the background of this year’s Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak and requirements of CBRN first responders worldwide in state-of-the-art CBRN detection and analysis equipment. The jury’s choice of this year’s winners was therefore no surprise: The winner of the NCT CBRNe Innovation Award was BBI Detection’s _D3_7937‘UK Ebola Lateral Flow Device’, described by the jury as an innovation that arrives just at the right time to tackle urgent challenges in effective Ebola Virus Disease control and rapid case detection. And also the NCT CBRNe Capability Award went to an agency contributing in an extensive way to international efforts to counter the threat of the EVD: the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) & U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that will provide $12 million over the next five years to three US medical centers, which together will co-lead the National Ebola Training and Education Center. Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. HHS, thanked this year’s jury for the honor to win the Award and praised the NETEC as a joint effort of clinicians, practitioners and administrators with tremendous experience and treating successfully Ebola patients. The most prestigious Award, the NCT CBRNe Product Award, went to 908 Devices for their ‘M908’ handheld detection device that was already a nominee last year in the innovation award category. The jury decided that it deserved to finally win an award after having proved as an established and end-user friendly state of the art product. Last but not least, the attendees of this year’s Awards Gala voted for Rheinmetall Defence’s Fox Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle as the winner of this year’s NCT CBRNe Community Award.
NCT CBRNe Asia 2015: the conference
Following a successful and eventful first day, NCT CBRNe Asia’s conference was opened on November 11 by no one less than the Commander of the German Armed Forces’ Joint CBRN Defense Command, Colonel Henry Neumann. He welcomed the attending CBRNe Defense Commands from Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Pakistan and Cambodia, as well as further participants from countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Lao PDR, the Philippines, Australia _D3_8292and Singapore. From the beginning, Colonel Neumann set the stage for again a very high-level CBRNe defense conference. As expected, this year’s international developments had an impact on the presentations and discussions during the event. While Colonel Neumann highlighted the importance of preventive measures to counter upcoming hybrid CBRNe threats, the regional attendees were highly concerned about the recent Bangkok Bombings as well as the rise of ISIS in the Levante – signs of a new rise of terrorism in Asia and worldwide. It was therefore comforting to get an overview during the event’s Opening that countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea, Pakistan and Germany are increasingly investing in CBRNe prevention and preparedness. In addition, state of the art technologies were introduced such as the Mobile Emergency Monitoring System for Radiological Rapid Assessment in Malaysia, the recently introduced BSL-3 Laboratories in the Philippines, as well as UAVs utilized in CBRN Emergency Management in Thailand.
The second day however brought the international threat of CBRNE terrorism and the rise of ISIS in the Middle East back on the agenda. Zamawang Almemar, representative of the Kurdish Regional Government’s Intelligence Agency, gave an emotional and inspiring speech on the current threat the Peshmerga Forces are facing while fighting ISIS. Peshmerga Forces _D3_8362are increasingly exposed to chemical weapon attacks of ISIS, while lacking sufficient PPE and reconnaissance equipment – with potentially severe consequences for the strength and morale of the local troops. At the same time, the Peshmerga are one of the rare regional forces that are successfully countering the rise of ISIS in the region. Thus, Ms. Almemar’s speech and following presentations on SOPs and lessons learned in responding to chemical warfare, as well as presentations on the threat biological dual-use therefore contributed to the overall aim of the event: exchanging lessons learned, setting urgent CBRNe related issues on the political agenda and providing attendees with technological and strategic solutions on how to counter these challenges. Against this background, NCT CBRNe Asia was already an outstanding success. It became clear that the message of Colonel Neumann concerning the importance of preventive CBRNe measures introduced had been heard and that hybrid threats posed by terrorist networks will be of increasing importance not only in Asia, but worldwide. The closing speeches of Brig. Gen. Zahir Kazmi and Prof. Aqab Malik from Pakistan, as well as the Police Colonel Yuttasak Kaitha, on WMD prevention, and the continuous threat of CBRNe terrorism with a case-study on the recent attacks in Bangkok reconfirmed this message.
Join us next year in Kuala Lumpur !
At the very end, the Managing Director of IB Consultancy, Ilja Bonsen, awarded Lt. Gen. _D3_9299Chalermsuk Yugala from the Royal Thai Army for his outstanding commitment and support to organize such a successful CBRNe event again in Bangkok. He then handed over the chairmanship for next year’s NCT CBRNe Asia event from the Royal Thai Army to the Science and Technology Research Institute for Defense (STRIDE) of the Malaysian Ministry of Defense. Dr. Zalini Yunus from STRIDE kindly accepted this responsibility and invited everyone to join Asia’s largest CBRNe forum next year in Malaysia.