The NATO Multinational Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Defence Battalion (CBRN) Defence Battalion will be a high readiness, multi-national, multi-functional Battalion, able to deploy quickly to participate in the full spectrum of NATO missions wherever NATO requires.
At the Prague Summit in November 2002, NATO Heads of State and Government endorsed the implementation of five chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN, commonly known as NBC) initiatives to enhance the Alliance's defence capabilities against weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The North Atlantic Council, in June 2003, decided to further enhance and take forward these initiatives by forming a Multinational CBRN Defence Battalion.
The Battalion is just one part of a far-reaching transformation of NATO to ensure it remains able to deal with new security threats, amongst them the problem of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The new Battalion marks the fulfilment of one of the key Prague Capability Commitments made by NATO's Heads of State and Government.
The mission of the CBRN Defence Battalion is to provide rapidly a credible Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) capability, primarily to deployed NATO joint forces and commands, in order that Alliance freedom of action is maintained in an NBC threat environment.
The CBRN Defence Battalion will be capable of conducting the following tasks:
- NBC reconnaissance operations.
- Provide identification of NBC substances.
- Biological detection and monitoring operations.
- Provide NBC assessments and advice to NATO commanders.
- NBC decontamination operations.
The Multinational CBRN Defence Battalion will be under the operational control of SACEUR. The operational control can be delegated to a Joint Forces Command if required. It will have the following organisation:
- Headquarters Company
- A Joint Assessment Team
- Reconnaissance Company
- Light decontamination Company
- Heavy decontamination Company.
- Deployable CBRN Laboratories.
The NATO Multinational CBRN Defence Battalion will be a high readiness, multi-national, multi-functional Battalion, able to deploy quickly to participate in the full spectrum of NATO missions wherever NATO requires.
It will be capable of deploying together or in part as a specific force tailored to a specific mission. Its level of readiness will be will be from 5 to 20 days and comparable with the requirements of NRF. To maintain a high readiness, the unit will be on operational standby for 6 months, with other multinational Battalions following in rotation.
The first lead nation will be Czech Republic which will provide the core Headquarters leadership and staff. 12 other nations (Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA) have offered to provide forces for this first Multinational CBRN Defence Battalion. Germany will lead the second rotation.