INTERPOL CBRNE Sub-Directorate, US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI in collaboration with the G7 Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction organized at INTERPOL´s General Secretariat Headquarters the first Global Congress on Chemical Security and Emerging Threats.
It was a three-day conference (29-31 October 2018) with 200 delegates from 40 countries in which were explored specialized case studies highlighting emerging trends, identify lessons learned and best practices relating chemical incident attribution and response and evolving technologies and tactics.
All this based and aligned with INTERPOL methodology for countering the threat of CBRN main three pillars:
- Information sharing and Intelligence Analysis
- Capacity Building and Training
- Operational and Investigative Support
As INTERPOL Secretary General Mr. Jürgen Stock said “…We are seeing an increase in chemical weapon usage by not-state actors both in and outside theatres of conflict…” adding “…Whether we are from law enforcement, the military, government or industry, we all have a role to play in preventing and responding to the persistent and emerging threats in relation to chemical security”.
Moreover, Mr. Trevor Smith and Mr. David Wulf, Co-Chairs of Global Partnership Chemical Security Group said in a joint statement “Collaboration across governments, academia, the chemical industry and multinational organizations is essential to strengthening our collective ability to prevent future uses of weapons of mass destruction and building the necessary response capabilities”.
In this context, the role of the Defense Industry in the development of new technologies and systems of CBRN protection, detection and decontamination is imperative. Especially in two of the “hot topics” or current main concerns of the global agenda in the strategies and programs of Security and Defense about CBRN: the decontamination of contaminated people in an incident with chemical agents and the protection of critical infrastructures.
Decontamination of people (ambulatory and non-ambulatory) affected by chemical agents in a Hazmat incident is established as a priority in CBRN protocols to achieve the final aim of “Mitigate risks and save lives”.
People contaminated by chemical agents in a Hazmat incident scenario should be decontaminated as soon as possible in order to:
- Eliminate chemical agents could be harm for the life of the people affected.
- Prevent contamination to other people (including medical staff)
In the specific case of casualties decontamination, STANAG 2228 AJP 4.10B establishes CBRN Decontamination doctrine most popular globally. This STANAG settles 4 main principles regarding decontamination of casualties:
- Reduce the risk of contamination of medical personnel and other patients
- Should be performed as soon as patient stabilization allows
- It must be decentralized to avoid creating delays at a centralized point
- Each Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) should be able to establish its own Decontamination Area, either a Decontamination Shower or a Decontamination Tent (Mass Decontamination Station).
Regarding the protection of Critical Infrastructures, also CBRN decontamination is playing an essential role. In case of a chemical attack to a Critical Infrastructure, the decontamination of both people contaminated and equipment is imperative.
Typically, equipment of Critical Infrastructures is mainly electronic equipment, which needs to be decontaminated immediately to assure a proper operation. But standard CBRN decontamination technologies (based on water) could not be used with this electronic equipment as they could damage their functionality. So it is necessary development of new CBRN Decontamination technologies (without water)
In summary, events as Global Congress on Chemical Security and Emerging Threats hosted by INTERPOL is the best way to help address the global CBRN threats of chemical, biological and radiological incidents through multi-agency collaboration and it is a significant opportunity to strengthen collaboration between law enforcement and industry.