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International collaboration in CBRN R&T: A funding multiplier or a strategic instrument?

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Author: Busker, R.W.
Source:12th International Symposium on Protection against Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents, Stockholm, Sweden, 8-10 June 2016, 78 (21 sheets)
Identifier: 537507
Keywords: Warfare · Observation, Weapon & Protection Systems · CBRN - CBRN Protection · TS - Technical Sciences


Fortunately, the CBRN threat is only a minor segment of the spectrum of challenges that Defense and Security organizations have to be prepared for. Although not neglected, CBRN is not high on political agendas. This means that maintaining adequate CBRN defense, as well as the research needed to enable it, acquire only relatively moderate financial resources. Unfortunately, the nature of the CBRN threat is highly dynamic and extremely difficult to predict. Therefore, existing preventive and protective solutions not necessarily cope with the actual threat. This, however, puts severe pressure on scarce research funding. The contradistinction between moderate political attention on the one hand and an urgent need for adaptive solutions on the other, inspire nations to seek international collaboration as a cost-sharing mechanism. This is neither new nor specific for CBRN. Many, even ancient, memoranda of understanding have been the formal basis of excellent scientific collaborative achievements. The presentation will provide some examples of hi- and trilateral CBRN research projects. The main driving force thus far has been to create a multiplier for existing research efforts. Another, more innovative, approach for international research collaboration, would be based on mutual willingness and preparedness to allow a certain level of interdependence between participating nations. The foundation would be to come to an agreement on defining, building and maintaining a shared knowledge base on a domain of common interest. That knowledge base would consist of competences and resources of research institutes of both nations. Those competences could have common grounds, but would rather be complementary in order to broaden the overall pool. That knowledge base should be readily accessible for both defense organizations and should be mutually guaranteed for an agreed upon term. In 2015, the Ministers of Defense of the Netherlands and Norway have signed an agreement to come to a Strategic Mutual Assistance in Research & Technology (SMART). As a first domain to discover the feasibility of SMART, they have tasked their national defense research establishments, TNO and FFI, respectively, to build a mutually shared knowledge base on CBRN. For that purpose, TNO and FFI have compared their CBRN portfolios, made a long term plan to achieve a shared knowledge base and have started research projects to fill it. The presentation will explain the SMART concept in more depth and will share the earliest experiences.