European defense ministers meeting in Luxembourg yesterday approved a cooperative effort to set up a deployable field laboratory for forensic research on improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Led by France, the mobile laboratory is scheduled to become operational by the middle of next year and will provide forensic analysis of incidents involving IEDs in order to develop methods to prevent further attacks. It will be tested in a real operational environment and the results will be shared among members of the European Defence Agency (EDA).
Photo of Weis (center) courtesy of EDA
Defense ministers also launched an EDA research and technology programme on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection. The programme will focus on second and third generation CBRN protection capabilities to be operational beyond 2015. It will cover areas such as detection and identification, decontamination and medical countermeasures.
Ministers were presented with a report by a “Wise Pen Team” of five retired admirals on maritime surveillance in support of the European Common Security and Defense Policy, which calls for the creation of a federated maritime surveillance network linking national and international military and civilian assets.
The EDA chief executive, Alexander Weis, briefed ministers on EDA cooperation with NATO, including informally with Allied Command Transformation in Norfolk, Virginia. He identified five areas of common interest: countering IEDs; network-enabled capabilities; joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; medical; and CBRN protection. Meeting both defense and foreign ministers in Luxembourg, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen added a sixth area, police training in Afghanistan, calling for a greater EU contribution in this area.