NATO leaders discuss counterterrorism at London conference

NATO experts and industry leaders recently discussed preparedness for terrorist threats during the Counter Terror Expo 2013 in London.

The expo, which took place on April 24 and April 25, brought together experts from security services, academia, law enforcement, armed forces and governments to debate strategies, share experience, define counterterrorism measures and shape policy. The event is the largest international event to discuss the mitigation of threats, protection against terrorism and promote the understanding of modern-day risks.

NATO designed two workshops to allow attendees to learn more about products, capabilities and solutions that are currently available for NATO forces.

"NATO held two special seminars during the Counter Terror Expo," Jamie Shea, the deputy assistant secretary general of NATO's Emerging Security Challenges Division, said. "The first one was on Special Forces. As many NATO countries are going to rely increasingly on their Special Forces, we wanted to see how they are developing and what kind of capabilities they need. The second area was the interagency cooperation because in the field of counterterrorism you need a comprehensive approach, where the police are working with the military and the civilian authorities both within borders and across borders, exchanging information with a clear division of labor."

NATO supports counterterrorism capabilities and technology through its Defense Against Terrorism Program of Work. DAT POW is meant to prevent non-conventional attacks, like suicide bombings with improvised explosive devices, and to mitigate other challenges, like attacks on critical infrastructure.

NATO representatives held a DAT POW workshop during the conference to discuss strategies and best practices for project managers in detecting and counteracting chemical, biological and nuclear threats.

"We need to figure out what the upcoming challenges will be and, within the DAT POW, reassess which projects we need to consider so that we can deliver the required capabilities now and into the future," Shea said.

Most DAT POW projects are focused on finding solutions that can quickly be moved into the field.