NORFOLK, Virginia - Eight NATO nations and NATO's strategic commander for transformation signed the Functional Relationship and Operational Memorandum of Understanding at Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation on 26 October 2006.
Among the signers were Supreme Allied Commander Transformation U.S. Air Force Gen. Lance L. Smith and the Czech Republic National Liaison Representative Air Force Col. Petr Tichy.
The Centre's first director, Czech Republic Army Colonel Radomir Mikes attended as the guest of honor.
"The eight nations represented here to sign indicates the importance we place in this particular area," Gen Smith said. "The significance of the MOU is that it really begins the accreditation process for the JCBRN as a NATO COE and that's an important thing for all of us because we really don’t have, within ACT or in Allied Command Operations, the expertise or capabilities to really explore this area as much as we would like."
Gen Smith said the Czech Republic is the perfect host for such a centre. "The Czech Republic's expertise in this area is overwhelming," Gen Smith said. "We've relied on much of your expertise in operations that have been conducted in Afghanistan and like places, and we look to you for taking this specialty and allowing us to continuously improve our capabilities. I see great things in the future for this centre."
"The JCBRN Defence COE will undoubtedly provide NATO with a focused subject matter expertise on those critical issues that directly impact us and which are crucial in the new security environment," Smith said. "The current challenges emanating from the increased asymmetrical threat, counter IED and the overall defence against terrorism brings the CBRN defence matters to the forefront of NATO's required capabilities."
Following Gen Smith's comments, Col Mikes addressed the audience, which included a delegation of five senators from the host nation. “The centre offers the platform for NATO countries to share their knowledge and expertise and to create appropriate ideas for CBRN defence," said Col Mikes. "Our goal for the centre is to become fully operational before the end of 2007."
With the assistance of the centre and the other COEs located throughout Europe, Allied Command Transformation will have an additional tool to help shape a new NATO ready to face the 21st century.
Contact: 1LT Pavlina Vasickova, +420 973 452 803