In the First World War, chemical weapons of mass destruction, for instance, the insecticides employed in the field to kill insect pests, were already used. For military purposes it was an important improvement. Several gases were used, since many tests were performed on civil and military personnel until finding the best; tear gas obtained the best results, as well as disabling agents such as mustard gas and lethal gas phosgene.

The nuclear bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the Second World War in 1945. On July 1, 1968, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed by 190 countries, only allowing that five countries remain armed with nuclear weapons; the USA UK, France, Russia and China. They are also the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. This pact was signed due to the missile crisis in 1962; The US discovered a battery of Soviet nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba.

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When the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan broke out, the US Military did not have a name yet for the weapon that came to shape these conflicts like no other. After 15 years and thousands of service members, law enforcement officials and civilians killed and injured, improvised explosive devices remain the weapon of choice for insurgents, terrorists and irregular forces around the world, primarily due to their easy availability, low cost and persistently devastating impact. Considering the experience of Western militaries during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ongoing fight against ISIS encourages a closer look at the role of IEDs in counterinsurgency campaigns.

During the peak of its reign, ISIS successfully established IED production capabilities on an industrial scale, incorporating high degrees of standardisation and a complex supply chain as well as sophisticated research and development facilities. Chemical precursors, detonators and mobile phones originating in countries as diverse as Brazil, India and China were usually imported via Turkey or the United Arab Emirates, processed through assembly lines in Iraq or Syria and deployed by frontline fighters, up-armoured vehicles or UAVs. This logistical structure further enabled the group to hide thousands of the devices in the cities and regions it was abandoning under the pressure of advancing Kurdish and Iraqi forces, continuously causing casualties among those units and preventing the previously displaced population from returning until a lengthy and thorough sweep has deemed their homes safe again. The threat of ISIS remains long after the organisation has been repelled.

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In an age where improvised explosive devices (IED) are being used with devastating effect in a variety of geographic regions, an ability to counter this threat quickly and at no risk to service personnel has become an important strategic imperative worldwide.

The London-based company SteelRock Techonolgies (SRT) provides unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and counter-UAV products as well as solutions designed for government and military clients.

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The multiple-headed Hydra that is the improvised explosive device (IED) has long been theweapon of choice of the terrorist and insurgent, not only against civilians but as a prime obstacle for advancing troops on the battlefield. In the Vietnam War - the first major example of asymmetric warfare in our time - IEDs caused a third of all US casualties. Large mines such as the 'Bouncing Betty' were placed by Viet Cong insurgents who dug into the side of the supporting berm to prevent the disruption of the road from being seen from approaching vehicles. They were exploded by remote control and blew up armoured and civilian vehicles. Mines dug into trains were set off by booby-trap trip wires.

In this century, Afghanistan and Iraq became ‘template’ battlefields. In Afghanistan, thousands of pressure-plate IEDs were deployed by the Taliban, killing and injuring hundreds of Coalition troops, and are now resurgent. Specialist units and regular troops carrying out explosives ordnance disposal (EOD) have had to adapt to the multiple forms of the IED used as an area denial weapon - the ‘artillery of the 21st century’ - and the highly adaptable enemy’s multiple M.O.

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This is the 32nd issue of the new feature called the IBC Threat Assessment (IBC-TA) that was initiated in November 2014. It is intended to inform our readers about ongoing and emerging CRBNe-threats that need the attention of policymakers, experts and ordinary citizens. If left unattended these threats may result in grave consequences for different sectors of our societies and/or the security of ordinary citizens. As the threat environment is constantly changing existing regulations, crisis plans or security protocols are often insufficient and in need of adaptation or review. Every TA will cover a threat for each CBRNe category. The TA’s are based on open sources.

Topics covered in this issue:

  • Intensifying international debate about the right punitive response to the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria
  • Dutch poultry sector hit by new outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N6) in northern town
  • New incident of theft of a density meter with a radiological source reported in Mexico
  • New sanctions imposed on North Korean shipping aimed at reducing smuggling activities
  • Small commercial drones are revolutionizing asymmetric warfare and expertise developed by Daesh in Iraq and Syria is likely to proliferate to terrorist/criminal groups in other countries

The Threat Assessments are based on open sources. End date of collection: February 26, more

NCT Info Series #2: Washington D.C. – NCT USA 2018

Join us for America’s best CBRNe conference at the Hilton Washington Dulles! The 4th edition of NCT USA will open with a live CBRNe Demonstration on day-one by federal and local first responders right outside the conference venue. The following two days will feature an industry exhibition, conference, workshops and a static display of CBRNe capabilities. Building on the success of the previous edition, NCT USA 2018 will again host two parallel conference streams: NCT CBRNe USA, addressing all aspects of CBRNe, including Novel Detection Technologies and Approaches in Critical Infrastructure, and the NCT Workshops, offering a more interactive platform for dialogue on key CBRNe issues. Additionally, the NCT BBQ and Static Display will give the opportunity to interact directly with first responders in a more informal setting and gain insights in the state-of-the-art technologies currently in use by local Fire and Police Departments. These are some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Chairman: Brig. Gen. (ret.) William King
  • The Honorable Mr. Guy Roberts, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Programs, Department of Defense, USA
  • Dr. Ronald Hann, Director of Chemical/Biological Technologies Department, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), USA
  • Dr. Wendin Smith, Senior Advisor, Countering WMDs, Special Operations Command, Department of Defense, USA

Issue 55 | March 2018


Take a look at NCT USA

Take a look at NCT Asia Pacific


The full listing of all CBRNe related events can be found at the


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IB Consultancy provides a platform for authors of quality articles. The opinions stated in this Newsletter, or on the, or facts given, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, nor of IB Consultancy.