Muscat: Recognising the shared threat posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) across the globe, the United States Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and the Sultanate of Oman recently announced the completion of a week-long Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives Commodity Identification Training and Interdiction Table-top Exercise (CBRNe CIT and TTX) at the Royal Oman Police (ROP) Customs Academy in Muscat.
The course was a collaborative exercise between the USA and Omani officials that brought together law enforcement personnel to strengthen their capacity to detect and interdict smuggled CBRNe-related materials, components, and equipment that could be used in a terrorist act.
Aimed at training participants on the visual recognition of commodities that could be used for CBRNe purposes, the course highlighted methods that a terrorist might use when seeking to acquire or develop chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosives weapons. It also focused on how such items would look, be marked or labelled, and be packaged. These identification and interdiction capabilities are critical to combating the illicit smuggling of CBRNe-related commodities that could be used by terrorists.
Building on the commodity identification training, the capstone table-top exercise 'Khamsin Discovery' used a fictional WMD terrorism-related smuggling scenario to elicit a broad range of actions required to successfully detect, identify, and interdict CBRNe items that could be used by terrorists for illicit purposes.
Participating ROP officials worked together to assess and respond to the fictional attempt by terrorists to smuggle CBRNe-related items for a terror attack. The goal of the tabletop exercise was to identify the suspicious 'red flags' associated with potential WMD terrorism-related incidents, provide first-hand CBRNe interdiction experience, and strengthen cooperation between the various agencies charged with preventing and interdicting illegal shipments.
At the end of the day, the Omani experts applied their expertise to successfully foil the fictional plot.
"Nuclear terrorism is the greatest threat to global security," said Deputy Under Secretary of Energy for Counterterrorism and Counter proliferation Steven Aoki. Terrorist organisations have engaged in efforts to develop and acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and if successful, we believe that they are likely to use them. Nations must work together to address this shared and global threat. This training course and tabletop exercise demonstrated both countries' strong commitment to countering terrorist acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction-related items," he added.
"We are pleased to work with the Sultanate of Oman on such important non-proliferation initiatives. These types of initiatives contribute to global security and are vital to stemming proliferation and illicit trafficking," said Deputy Administrator for Defence Nuclear Non-proliferation, Anne Harrington.