NATO's Strategic Warfare Development Command

NATO Centres of Excellence – Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence (JCBRN Defence COE)

August 8, 2023

The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence Centre of Excellence (JCBRN Defence COE), in Vyskow, Czech Republic, employs the talent of more than 70 personnel from fourteen nations.  These experts strive to promote dynamic and innovative methods to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to protect against incidents involving the use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear tactics.

“The unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine…reminded us that future conflicts may not be a clash between society and non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, as we anticipated during the last 30 years,” said JCBRN Defence COE Director, Colonel David Martínek, Czech Republic – Army. “We should be prepared for a conflict between states with a full range of military capabilities.”

While Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear weapons have not been used against Ukraine, they have been exploited in a type of hybrid warfare as Russian authorities have threatened their use.  These kinds of psychological tactics involving the world’s deadliest weapons are precisely why NATO Centres of Excellence like the JCBRN Defence COE are critical.  They provide updated study of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear concept development, doctrine and standards, capabilities development, defence planning, experimentation, education and training, lessons learned, modelling and simulation and operations support.

To facilitate this continuing education, they offer five courses each year that cover International Radiological and Nuclear Training for Emergency Response, CBRN Warning and Reporting Centre Management, Live Agent Training, NATO’s Activities Countering weapons of mass destruction, and CBRN Consequence Management.

Additionally, the Centre hosts an annual conference which focuses on the most important NATO strategic documents and makes recommendations to the relevant NATO entities to further develop CBRN defence policies, concepts, and doctrines.

The JCBRN Defence COE also provides support to 8 annual NATO Exercises held in 7 different NATO Member Nations.

Since its founding, NATO has always adapted to changes in the security environment and we will continue to do so in order to address the significantly changing CBRN threats from Russia, non-state actors, and other states.  NATO’s 2022 Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defence Policy established the framework for planning, posturing, exercising, training, equipping, and assessing our capabilities, in order to counter escalations involving WMD and ensure that we deter and defend our Alliance against CBRN threats.

The purpose of NATO’s nuclear capability is to preserve peace, prevent coercion, and deter aggression. Particularly given the current situation in Europe, a credible and united nuclear Alliance is essential, and organizations like the JCBRN Defence COE are more vital than ever.