Lt. Colonel Marc Caudrillier, France’s CBRN program officer for the Joint Staff, recently discussed Europe’s attempts to get its comprehensive biological capability program started in an interview with cbrneworld.com.
Caudrillier told cbrneworld.com that France's Biological Enhancement and Development Equipment Program is merely just the beginning.
“The main issue is not how to integrate current equipment but how to ensure the compatibility with other European equipment in the future,” Caudrillier told cbrneworld.com. “Of course, the objective is to gradually implement the most up-to-date standard. When Bio EDEP components will be fielded in our armed forces, it will progressively replace the existing equipment. Nevertheless, it will significantly increase the biological detection, identification and monitoring capabilities of the countries which currently have low-level standard.”
Caudrillier discussed some of the many challenges he faced in launching the comprehensive biological capability program. One of the biggest challenges, he told crbneworld.com, was dealing with biological contamination detection.
“What is needed tomorrow is equipment that gives an alert if there is still a live agent within a predefined list, at least on the surface of decontaminated equipment or on the skin of a soldier,” Caudrillier said. “Such equipment does not exist as of today, and it will be very challenging to European companies to make it, but it entails great rewards.”
Another challenge posed is defining the roles of military forces in the field, specifically as they pertain to identification of biological contaminants, and the question of private versus government and military laboratories under the program, according to Caudrillier.
Caudrillier noted there are two basic approaches in Europe.
“The first consists of buying a laboratory equipped with biological reagent from a company. This solution is very efficient – both financially and technically, and in terms of agenda,” Caudrillier said. “The huge drawback is that your biological force protection effectiveness is strongly dependent on the capacity and the will of a private company to product reagents.”
The other approach, shared by the French, is to create its own reagent so as to avoid being dependent on private companies, according to Caudrillier.
The launch of the Biological Enhancement and Development Equipment Program is slated for 2012.