The MASC-CBRN Online Database sets out an integrated framework for conceptualising CBRN security risk governance. It is underpinned by the assumption that preventing and countering the wide range of multifaceted and multi-dimensional CBRN security risks in the twentieth-first century requires a systematic approach comprising a flexible combination of top-down and bottom-up CBRN security risk management initiatives and measures, in order to ensure resilience and an enhanced adaptive capacity. The Online Database is intended to serve as a mapping tool that provides a comprehensive snapshot of CBRN security risk governance at a national level.
The development of the Database has been informed by an analytical survey of the international and EU regulation of CBRN risks. The main conclusions of this study hold that:
- Upholding the international norms of WMD disarmament and non-proliferation is an essential requirement for preventing the hostile misuse of CBRN materials and knowledge.
- Countering the hostile misuse of CBRN materials and knowledge requires the full and effective implementation of both international CBRN safety and security regimes.
- The full and effective implementation of CBRN safety and security regimes at the national level requires both top-down and bottom-up approaches and measures.
These key findings have been subsequently used to design national surveys on CBRN risk governance. The surveys were structured around three main themes: defence and civil protection; counter-terrorism; and oversight of activities involving CBRN materials and information. Multi-agency cooperation for CBRN security was identified as a cross-cutting area of relevance to all three themes. The surveys were piloted in the four countries represented in the MASC-CBRN initiative: Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, and Spain. The data collected as part of the surveys have demonstrated that the proposed typology of thematic frameworks enables the development of a detailed overview of CBRN risk management at a national level.
National framework documents cover legally and not legally binding government-led initiatives, including policies, regulations, strategies, guidelines, and recommendations.
Competent authorities and key organisations refer to government entities and civil society stakeholders that are involved in preventing and countering CBRN security risks.
Implementation activities encompass projects and initiatives, including public-private partnerships that seek to enhance the operational capacity of government entities to prevent and counter CBRN security threats and ensure compliance with existing national policies and regulations, as well as self-governance efforts undertaken by civil society stakeholders.
To illustrate each thematic component and its respective substantive elements, the Database contains indicative examples of national frameworks, component authorities and organisations, and implementation activities that have been identified during the national surveys conducted as part of the MASC-CBRN initiative, as well as through desk research. The list of provided examples per country is not intended as exhaustive. Instead, in selecting national practices, attention has been given to showcasing diverse examples, in order to highlight the broad scope of each element of the Database. All material presented in the Database is taken from public sources. Would you like to recommend initiatives to be added to the Database? Please fill in this online form or contact us.
National framework documents
- The Health CBRN Plan adopted in Australia (revised in 2018) describes the agreed framework and mechanisms for the effective national coordination, response and recovery arrangements for a CBRN incident of national significance. For the purposes of this plan, a CBRN incident is defined as an incident which involves the threatened or deliberate release of a chemical, biological or radiological agent or activation of a nuclear device, which is intended to cause harm to people, animals/plants, property or the environment. Whilst the plan is primarily aimed at a threatened or deliberate release, the aspects related to the management of health issues remain the same, and the arrangements described in the plan can also be used as a model for accidental incidents, though some roles and responsibilities will change. Most importantly, responding to incidents motivated by malicious intent have some unique security and criminal investigation ramifications. These include, for example, restrictions on information sharing; the need for health services to be sensitive to investigative needs, especially preservation of evidence; and possible delays in access for health services to the incident scene while the latter is being secured by law enforcement/fire services.
- The National Defence Strategy (2016), the Doctrine of the Bulgarian Armed Forces (2017), and the Updated National Security Strategy of Bulgaria (2018) define the parameters of nuclear, chemical, and biological (NCB) protection in Bulgaria. NCB protection is underpinned by three main pillars – prevention, preparedness, and recovery – which encompass activities that are performed prior to the occurrence of a CBRN incident, during an incident, and after an incident has occurred. The primary goal of NCB protection is to identify opportunities for breaking the CBRN event chain as early as possible. This is achieved through the planning, development, and implementation of timely and effective counter-measures. NCB protection is an essential element of the process of ensuring the health and safety of the armed forces at all levels of management and command and, as such, it spans the entire scope of military missions and operations.
- Ordinance No 21 on the Terms and Procedure for the Registration, Communication, and Reporting of Infectious Diseases of the Ministry of Health in Bulgaria is an important element in the health security system which seeks to ensure effective disease surveillance, detection, early warning, and response to infectious disease outbreaks regardless of their origin. The Ordinance was adopted in 2006 and specifically addresses the risk of bioterrorism and the emergence of new and unknown infectious diseases (Article 1 (2)). In case of a suspicious biological event involving a new or unknown disease, the Ordinance defines the procedures for taking appropriate response measures for reducing the impact of a potential epidemiological situation at a national and regional level. These include sampling, rapid implementation of appropriate preventive and prophylactic strategies for limiting the spread of the disease, and timely and effective risk communication.
- The Recommendations on Sampling for Hazard Control in Civil Protection of the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance are aimed at emergency response personnel. They are intended to safeguard the protection of the emergency response personnel, the population, and the environment during the removal and transportation of suspected biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological samples, and to establish a common standard for sampling procedures. The Recommendations take into account the responsibilities of relevant authorities under the applicable national law.
- Law 4662 of 2020 (National Crisis Management and Risk Management Mechanism, restructuring of the General Secretariat for Civil Protection, upgrading of the civil protection voluntary system, reorganization of the Fire Brigade, and other provisions) in Greece sets out a National Crisis and Hazard Management Mechanism. This mechanism covers the entire disaster management cycle and performs all operational and administrative structures and functions of civil protection. The functioning of the National Mechanism is underpinned by the main principles of effective disaster management which include prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. The primary role of the mechanism is to ensure that these four principles are effectively implemented at a national, regional, and local level through the adoption of measures for crisis planning, early warning, provision of assistance, and inter-agency coordination.
- The UK Biological Security Strategy that was adopted in 2018 outlines an integrated all-hazard approach to the management of biological risks no matter how these occur and no matter who or what they affect. The Strategy seeks to ensure the effective countering of biological threats and maximise the potential that life science advancement holds for human, socio-economic, and environmental betterment. The Strategy is built around four pillars: (1) to understand the biological risks that need to be prevented and countered; (2) to prevent biological risks from emerging or from threatening national security; (3) detect, characterise, and report biological risks when they do emerge as early and reliably as possible; and (4) respond to biological risks to lessen their impact and mitigate any potential negative consequences. Two cross-cutting themes related to the implementation of the Strategy include (1) the need for developing effective scientific capabilities and capacity and (2) the importance of striking a balance between the opportunities and risks that the advancement of life sciences may bring.
- The US National Strategy for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Standards describes the elements of a standards and testing infrastructure needed to counter CBRNE threats. National standards take many forms and a suite of standards is necessary to ensure that responders have the right tools to respond to a CBRNE incident. To ensure a robust response, the user must be trained and confirmed by certification to demonstrate competency in the use of the equipment and to demonstrate an understanding of how the equipment fits into an overall response. This requires National standards for training and certification. In addition, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and response plans are needed to provide a framework to bring together the capabilities of all those responsible at the national and local level. The Strategy sets out six goals for the development of an infrastructure to test and evaluate CBRNE equipment, as well as related training and certification programs.
- The US National Biodefense Strategy that was adopted in 2018 sets out an integrated and coordinated effort to orchestrate the full range of activity that is carried across government sectors to ensure effective prevention and counter of, and protection against biological threats regardless of their origins. Given the evolving biological threat landscape, the US National Biodefense Strategy is underpinned by a set of assumptions that inform its specific goals and objectives. These assumptions hold that: (1) Biological threats are persistent; (2) Biological originate from multiple sources; (3) Infectious diseases do not respect borders; (4) Multi-sectorial cooperation is critical for prevention and response; (5) A multidisciplinary approach will help prevent disease emergence; and (6) Science and technology will continue to advance globally. The Strategy further highlights the importance of international cooperation and active civil society participation, including that of industry, academia, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector in the implementation of effective biological risk management.
Competent authorities and key organisations
- The General Directorate Fire Safety and Civil Protection is a specialised structure within the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior tasked with performing functions for the prevention and management of CBRN emergencies. Relevant activities within the mandate of the General Directora entail incident localisation; detection, surveillance, and early warning among the population in the zone of the incident; organising chemical, biological, and radiological protection activities; implementation of an integrated rescue system; maintenance of any required technical equipment for incident preparedness and response, including personal protective equipment; implementation of sanitary, epidemiological, and safety measures; and provision of training for the units involved in the integrated rescue system.
- The Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) is a specialist authority within the German Federal Ministry of Interior advances an integrated multi-hazard approach to civil security and protection of the population. CBRN protection is seen as one of BBK‘s key responsibilities when it comes to sharing professional expertise, conducting research, and providing suitable equipment. Key aspects when dealing with CBRN hazards include: ensuring the safety of first responders and the general public; rapid hazard identification and detection; and implementing effective response measures. BKK develops new concepts for CBRN protection and operates a portfolio of activities for safeguarding health in case of a CBRN event.
- The National Public Health Organisation (NPHO) in Greece is a legal entity under the supervision of the Minister of Health. Established in 2019, NPHO seeks to respond to threats to human health through epidemiological surveillance, the early detection, monitoring, and evaluation of risks, and reporting and submission of evidence-based proposals and intervention measures.
- The Military Emergencies Unit – MEU (Unidad Militar de Emergencias – UME) is a branch of the Spanish Armed Forces responsible for providing disaster relief throughout Spain mainly, and abroad if required. It is the newest branch of the Spanish Armed Forces. The Unit is tasked with disaster management and can be deployed for mitigating the consequences of technological CBRN accidents and terrorist attacks or illegal and violent acts, including those against critical infrastructure and high-risk facilities, and those involving CBRN agents.
- The Network of Biological Alert Laboratories (RE-LAB) in Spain was set up in 2009 as a scientific-technical infrastructure comprising research laboratories that specialise in microbiology. RE-LAB is administered by the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the Carlos III Health Institute. The Network seeks to provide operational support to the National Security System as regards the detection and management of risks and threats posed by the release of biological agents. This includes mitigating the consequences of naturally occurring diseases; laboratory accidents; and deliberate biological events. RE-LAB has served as a basis for the establishment of an Iberian network of laboratories of biological alert (IB-BIOALERTNET) which has sought to promote and enable the standardisation and accreditation of methods for the detection of highly pathogenic agents.
National framework documents
- The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Control over Toxic Chemicals and Their Precursors Act adopted in 2000 in Bulgaria seeks to ensure that toxic chemicals and their precursors are used only for peaceful purposes in line with the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The Act prohibits the development, manufacturing, acquisition, stockpiling, possession, storage, transfer, and use of chemical weapons. It further prohibits engagement in military preparations to use chemical weapons and the use of riot control agents as a method of warfare.
- The Safe Use of Nuclear Energy Act adopted in 2002 in Bulgaria implements the provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Act prohibits the development, manufacturing, transfer, trade (including international trade), storage, transport (including transit), acquisition, possession, and detonation of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, as well as the dissemination of information regarding such installations and activities, where this is directed against national security, public order, or public health.
- The US National Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism that was adopted in 2018 aims to greatly reduce the probability that extremist groups and individuals will conduct attacks using WMD. The Strategy stresses the need for continuous pressure against WMD-capable terrorist groups; enhanced security for dangerous materials throughout the world; and increased burden-sharing among our foreign partners. It identifies eight lines of effort to strengthen national security against the threats posed by WMD terrorism. These include: (1) Deny terrorists access to dangerous materials, agents, and equipment; (2) Detect and defeat terrorist WMD plots; (3) Degrade terrorist WMD technical capabilities; (4) Deter support for WMD terrorism; (5) Globalize the counter-WMD terrorism fight; (6) Strengthen national defenses against WMD terrorism; (7) Enhance state, local, tribal, and territorial preparedness against WMD terrorism; and (8) Avoid technological surprise.
Competent authorities and key organisations
- The State Agency for National Security (SANS) in Bulgaria performs the functions of a National Coordination Centre for Counter-Proliferation. The main goal of the Centre is to facilitate inter-agency and multi-stakeholder cooperation in the area of national security and countering WMD threats. SANS plays an important role in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by monitoring the visits to Bulgaria of individuals coming from countries considered ‘risky’. The Agency also carries out outreach activities with representatives of Bulgarian scientific units, in order to raise awareness of the risks of unauthorised technology transfer.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the USA investigates and collects intelligence on WMD-related threats and incidents to prevent attacks and respond to them when they occur. The FBI WMD Directorate leads the efforts to mitigate threats from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive weapons. The WMDD provides leadership and expertise to domestic and foreign law enforcement, academia, and industry partners on WMD issues through four lines of effort: (1) Strengthening preparedness; (2) Early identification of threats and developing countermeasures; (3) Investigation and operations; and (4) Intelligence gathering.
- The Ministry of Interior in Bulgaria is partnering with stakeholders from Cyprus, Greece, and Bulgaria in the COBRA (Confrontation of CBRN-Terrorism Threats) initiative which aims to increase preparedness and response capabilities of South-East Europe law enforcement agencies against terrorist attacks and CBRN threats. In particular, the COBRA initiative seeks to provide specialised training to personnel involved in detecting and mitigating the impact of attacks to open public spaces and managing CBRN risks related to critical infrastructure; to invest in the procurement and upgrade of field technical equipment and components for CBRN incident prevention and response; and to share good practices and lessons learnt, in order to align relevant standard operating procedures (SOPs) in case of cross-jurisdictional incidents.
- The National Domestic Preparedness Training Consortium (NDPT) in the USA is a partnership of several nationally recognised organisations whose membership is based on the urgent need to address the counter-terrorism preparedness needs of the emergency first responders within the context of all hazards including chemical, biological, radiological, and explosive WMD hazards. Each member organisation has a distinguished record in CBRN issues, bioterrorism, counter-terrorism, agroterrorism, and emergency management systems. NDPC aims to provide quality, cost-effective counter-terrorism training to the nation’s emergency responders.
National framework documents
- The Export Control on Defence-Related Products and Dual-Use Items and Technologies Act adopted in 2011 in Bulgaria is an important element of the state’s legal architecture for preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This Act sets out the procedures and requirements for the export, import, transfer, transit, and brokerage of defence-related products and dual-use items and technologies, and authorisation and oversight thereof. Under this Act, natural and legal persons, as well as public bodies are required to apply for a licence for the import, export, transfer, and brokerage of defence-related products and dual-use items and technologies.
- The Code of Good Scientific Practices of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is a national guidance document that is designed to provide an ethical basis for all scientific research. CSIC is the largest public institution in Spain dedicated to research; it is ascribed to the Ministry of Science and Innovation through the General Secretariat for Research. The Code of Good Scientific Practices comprises four parts which cover the following topics: (1) Principles of research work; (2) The researcher as a science professional; (3) Scientific publications; (4) Institutional framework. The Code of Good Scientific Practices draws attention to the social responsibilities of scientists and the risk of research misuse.
Competent authorities and key organisations
- The Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) exercises oversight of nuclear safety, nuclear security, and radiological protection in the use of nuclear energy and ionising radiation and the management of nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel. NRA grants, amends, renews, cancels, and revokes licences and permits for the safe use of nuclear energy and monitors licence-holders’ compliance with the established requirements for nuclear safety, nuclear security, and radiological protection. The system for nuclear security of nuclear facilities and the transport of nuclear material is informed by a security risk assessment which is carried out by the license-holder responsible for the operation and use of the respective facility and/or material in consultation with the State Agency for National Security (SANS).
- The Biosecurity Office in the Netherlands is a national information and knowledge centre for the government and for organisations that work with high-risk biological material. The Office was set up in 2013 and it is located within the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). The Biosecurity Office fulfills a clear bridge function between the Dutch government and life science stakeholders, including universities, hospitals, academic hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, biotechnology companies, biotech organizations, and (professional) associations. It plays a fundamental role in promoting biosecurity awareness and supporting the voluntary implementation of biosecurity measures, including through outreach activities, the development of relevant tools and applications, and the provision of expert advice to government stakeholders.
- The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) in the USA is a federal advisory committee that addresses issues related to biosecurity and dual-use research – legitimate life science research that may be misapplied in ways that pose threats to health and national security. The NSABB provides advice on and recommends specific strategies for the efficient and effective oversight of federally conducted or supported dual-use biological research, taking into consideration both national security concerns and the needs of the research community to foster continued rapid progress in public health and agricultural research. To this end, the NSABB develops and promotes strategies to raise awareness of dual-use issues relevant to life science and related interdisciplinary research communities.
- The International Master’s Degree Programme in Nuclear Security that is delivered by the University of National and World Economy (UNWE) in Sofia, Bulgaria seeks to contribute to nuclear security capacity building by preparing qualified managerial staff for the nuclear security sector. It is a result of the active cooperation between the UNWE, the IAEA and the International Nuclear Security Education Network (INSEN) that operates under the auspices of the Agency, the Bulgarian NRA, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In terms of curriculum, the Programme is based on the IAEA’s Technical Guidance Document titled Educational Programme in Nuclear Security covering a range of relevant topics including but not limited to International and National Legal Framework Regulating Nuclear Security; Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Nuclear Applications; Threat Assessment; Physical Protection Technologies, Systems and Equipment; Security of Nuclear and Other Radioactive Material in Transport; IT/Cyber Security and Computer Security for a Nuclear World; Nuclear Security at Major Public Events.
- The Analytical Approach for the Development of a National Biosafety and Biosecurity System developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada is a tool that provides a methodology for regional, national, or local authorities to develop, modernise, implement, and maintain national biosafety and biosecurity systems. The Analytical Approach can be adapted to the local context and circumstances of individual countries. It is intended as a framework that can be used for identifying and assessing needs, defining specific priorities, and developing solutions, in order to meet the objectives of international biosafety and biosecurity standards.
- The Code of Conduct for Biosecurity published by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008 sets out a self-governance framework for responsible life science conduct which aims to ensure that life science research, including any biological agents or toxins, are not misused for hostile purposes. The Code of Conduct for Biosecurity sets out the following principles: (1) Awareness-raising; (2) Research and publication policy; (3) Accountability and oversight; (4) Internal and external communication; (5) Accessibility; (6) Shipment and transport. The Code of Conduct is intended to promote the adoption of biosecurity practices and modes of behaviour in the life sciences. As such, it applies both to individual researchers and scientific institutions.