Experts from the civilian law enforcement and the military have taken part in the first European Homemade Explosives Training course which took place between 2 and 6 June in the Curragh Camp at the IE Department of Defence Ordnance School.
The course, run jointly by the European Defence Agency and Europol, brought together 28 experts from 16 different countries. The participants took part in highly realistic training scenarios involving homemade explosives, in order to improve skills and to share best practices. The training consisted of identifying, processing, and disposing of different types of homemade explosives that can be found in improvised laboratories, such as those of criminals and/or terrorists.
The cooperation between EDA and Europol reflects the need for a combined civil-military approach to the threat not only of homemade explosives but the whole C-IED spectrum. This approach helps to ensure that there are clear lines of communication between the two and the need to share skills and experiences among military and civilian law enforcement agencies.
The course also showed the increasingly close ties between EU and US actors in the field of explosives security and safety issues with participation and support from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The course received very positive feedback from participants, with organisers looking at the possibility of arranging a second course to meet the high level of demand.
The course forms part of EDA’s comprehensive approach to tackling improvised explosive devices (IEDs). These efforts include areas such as the counter-IED Technical exploitation lab Level 2 Multinational Technical Exploitation Laboratory, MNTEL (D) which has been stationed in Afghanistan since 2011, a Manual Neutralisation Techniques Category B programme, for which the first exercise will be held in September in Vienna (1 to 12 September), the Joint Deployable Exploitation Analysis laboratory (JDEAL) initiative, which its operational life is intended to start in November 2014 as well as another ongoing C IED related activities and projects.