CBRN Defence Principles

According to Allied Joint Doctrine for Comprehensive Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defence (AJP-3.8) we can distinguish 8 CBRN Defence Principles. Commanders and the staff follow them before, during, and after a CBRN incident.

a. CBRN related Intelligence requirements. This concerns gathering and analysing information that address the full spectrum of CBRN threats, hazards, and risks. CBRN detection, identification, monitoring (DIM) are parts of the CBRN intelligence and contribute to the Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (JISR) process. The CBRN related intelligence output provides information to the CBRN threat assessment.

b. CBRN Threat Assessment. Based on all-source intelligence, the CBRN threat assessment aims to determine the most likely and most dangerous case scenario, which includes the full spectrum of CBRN threats, hazards, and subsequent risks. Threat assessments must be reviewed so that the appropriate CBRN defence capabilities and protective measures are selected and adjusted as required. Intelligence sharing among Allies and non-NATO entities, where it is applicable, is crucial for producing actionable intelligence.

c. CBRN Risk Management. Not risk elimination, but risk management supports CBRN defence. Threat and hazard assessment set against own force vulnerabilities allow for the determination of risk areas. Then CBRN defence measures have to be applied in order to limit the operational impact of a CBRN incident.

d. Interoperability. All components of the force should apply to CBRN defence interoperability and harmonization of both military and civilian capabilities. The harmonisation of respective nations and, where appropriate, Host Nation’s (HN) capabilities and information exchange should be prioritized.

e. Prioritization. It must be stressed that CBRN defence specialist capabilities can be not equally distributed. All elements of the force could not be supported to the same degree. This should be taken into account and, within the CBRN Vulnerability Assessment, priorities for support must be determined.

f. Flexibility. CBRN defence must be flexible, modular, and scalable in the application and capable of responding to a rapidly changing operational environment while cognizant of differing national policies and capabilities.

g. Force preparation. NATO forces must be prepared for CBRN defence. Actions should be based on the appropriate doctrine, equipment, procedures, organisation, and training. Such preliminary CBRN defence measures need to be in place before NATO is committed to operations. The preparations also aim at deterring potential adversaries from considering the use of CBRN substances.

h. Sustainability. It must be admitted that CBRN incidents form a hindrance to achieving sustainable development goals. Effective CBRN defence requires additional logistic resources, and CBRN incidents may degrade the supply chain. The logistic plan will have to focus on the inherent vulnerability of fixed assets and facilities to CBRN hazards at entry points into theatre and on lines of communication through protection and redundancy.