NCT Asia Pacific 2017
Connecting the CBRNe Community
16-18 May 2017 , Seoul, South Korea
ABOUT OUR EVENT
Organized in Official Partnership with the Korea University BioDefense Research Institute (BDRI) and the Korean CBRN Society, the second edition of NCT Asia Pacific 2017 took place from the 16th to the 18th of May at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul. This year’s edition offered unique knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities, bringing together numerous regional stakeholders and government officials, experts, first responders and decision-makers in the field of CBRNe and EOD/C-IED. Korean representatives from the Fire Service, Police, National 119 Rescue Service, Armed Forces, as well as delegations from Japan, Europe, Syria and the USA took part in the event, which gathered over 150 participants. The three-day event, chaired by JB Burton, Former Commander of the U.S. Army 20th CBRNE Command, included a live demonstration by the ROK CBRN Defense Command, a 2-day conference and exhibition, showcasing CBRNe detection, decontamination and protection equipment.
After a break of only five months, it was time again for the third edition of NCT CBRNe Europe – taking place this time in Brussels from February 12-13 with end-users, decision makers and CBRN experts from all over Europe. Like last year’s event in Leipzig, Germany, this year’s NCT CBRNe Europe was held again in a challenging international environment. Besides the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the fight against ISIS in the Near East, it was especially the violent conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the present terrorist threat in Europe, after the attacks in France and Belgium that directed presentations and topics to be discussed during the conference. Tragically, the event was followed by the shootings in Copenhagen just one day later, showing that the menace of terrorism in Europe is intensifying and, together with terrorism, the threat of non-conventional attacks. It is therefore an understatement to say that NCT CBRNe Europe took place at the right time, at the right place.
Live capability demonstration at the HQ of the ROK CBRN Defense Command
The 3-day conference opened with a live capability demonstration at the Headquarters of the ROK Amed Forces CBRN Defense Command. The demonstration featured a scenario involving an explosion and the consequent release of a chemical cloud in Seoul’s train station. The units of the CBRN Command showcased the prompt intervention of the ROK Army, their decontamination procedures as well as the use of and EOD robot.
After the live demonstration, participants were offered to opportunity to interact with representatives of the CBRN Defense Command in a static display of CBRNe capabilities.
Like the previous edition in Seoul, NCT Asia Pacific 2017 attracted an extensive range of expert and speakers from all over the Asia Pacific region, Europe, USA and the Middle East. The Joint plenary was launched by the chairman JB Burton, followed by the keynote opening remarks by Brigadier General Yoo Bong Heo, the ROK Army CBRN Defense Commander. Subsequently, comprehensive presentations by Dr. Ronald Hann, Director of Chemical and Biological Technologies Department of the Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Alexander Müller form Bruker Detection and Brig. Gen. Moon Sung-joon, Commander of ROK CBRN Defense School addressed various aspects of CBRN-related threats to the Korean Peninsula. Topics highlighted in the presentations include the rising threat of global terrorism, the multinational efforts to counter CBRN threats and multilateral capacity-building initiatives.
Later that morning the presentations focused on the existing challenges in fully securing high visibility events form CBRN threats, dedicating specific attention to one of the biggest upcoming events in the region: 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Major General Yoshino, Commander of the Chemical School of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, gave an interesting overview of the preparedness of CBRN units in Japan, while Jon Beville, Director Global Sales & Business Development, Heyltex, addressed the necessity to effectively secure high visibility events with proper medical countermeasures. The morning session was closed by Katsumi Ito, Former Director of Tokyo Fire Department, with an introduction to the concrete measures taken by first-responders in preparation for Tokyo 2020.
Other sessions throughout the day addressed the growing nuclear and terrorist threats to the region, with presentations ranging from an evaluation of the North Korean nuclear hazard and South Korea’s response by Col. (ret.) Dong-Myung Kim, Director of RIGA, to preparedness and protocols in nations such as Japan to deal with bioterrorism by Dr. Tomoya Saito, Principal Researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Public Health.
With regards to the escalating threat of chemical attacks, the conference welcomed the contribution of the newly nominated Secretary General of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, Dr. Mohammed Nazir Hakim, which outlined the use of chemical weapons in the ongoing conflict in Syria and the dramatic consequences for the civil population.
The morning of the second conference day offered a comprehensive insight on the existing biological threats to the Korean Peninsula, as well as a session on the protection of critical infrastructures in densely populated areas, which complemented the ongoing discussion concerning the security measures necessary to safeguard high visibility events. The opening session on biological and infectious Diseases featured presentations by Prof. Dr. Jin-Won Song from the Korea University BioDefense Research Institute (BDRI) and Jeong Ho Kim, Managing Director of HDS Security, which addressed existing tools and measures to protect South Korea from dangerous viruses and prevent the outspread of biological threats. In turns, Dr. Park Kisoo, Spokesperson of the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) discussed the improved know-how in risk communication after the MERS experience. Later that morning, the session on the protection of critical infrastructures featured presentation on prevention, prediction and preparation against CRBNe threats by Dr. Gyu Cheol Lee, Researcher at Korean Water Resources and Colonel (ret.) Wolfgang Widders, Senior Adviser at TMS. In turns, Mr. Jonathan JooHyung Lee gave an interesting contribution on airport security and threat prevention, based on his expertise as the Security Deputy Director at Incheon Airport in Seoul.
The two-day conference was concluded by a Closing Plenary that gave an emphasis on CBRNe threats related to terrorist action, highlighting emergency preparedness and response measures to improve safety in the Korean Peninsula. This, featured presentations form Brigadier General (ret.) Woon Goh, Former Commander of the ROK Army CBRN School and Fire Lieutenant Cho Chul-Hee, National 119 Rescue Service, as well as a welcomed contribution from Hong Kong Police EOD Senior Superintendent Tony Chow.
NCT Asia Pacific in the news
The official website of the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces published an article about NCT Asia Pacific and the participation of Secretary General Hakim outlining the importance of NCT events in raising awareness on the use of chemical and non-conventional weapons.