Final preparations before the CTBTO’s largest ever field exercise

As the starting date for the Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14) approaches, a final preparatory activity for experts from the CTBTO and its Member States took place near Vienna, Austria, from 10 to 20 June 2014.

The training prepared participants for the specific roles that they will be carrying out during the exercise. It was the last in a series of build-up exercises, training activities and workshops that have been organized since 2012.

"The training is a significant and vital step toward preparedness for IFE14. It prepared the participants to perform their assigned functions during the exercise by building their team and improving their operational capabilities.” Ron Gavish, Chief of Training Section, OSI Division

Integrating a wealth of experience and knowledge

At the centre of an on-site inspection is a team of 40 inspectors with expertise as diverse as the different OSI inspection techniques. The team includes experts in seismology, geophysics, geology, radionuclides, radiation protection, communications, logistics and health and safety. Each of these disciplines is key to a successful OSI (and to the upcoming IFE), and the training allowed each expert team the time to check their equipment before its shipment to Jordan.

The extensive skills and knowledge of the inspection team must be applied within expert disciplines, but also across disciplines. One of the primary objectives of the training was therefore to integrate their knowledge using the information management system that is used in an OSI.  Participants had the opportunity to practice processes like mission planning, field deployment and return to the base of operations. Those pivotal steps allow for technical work to be carried out in a structured way that produces information that contributes to the overall mission.

Some types of equipment will be used by the whole inspection team – like communications and navigation equipment. Therefore all participants were trained to operate the new equipment or were familiarized with its appropriate use in the exercise.

Interacting professionally with OSI-relevant groups

Interaction between the inspection team and the inspected State Party (ISP) is crucial during an on-site inspection. ISP representatives must conduct dialogue with the inspection teams on many OSI activities in order to determine the following: that the planned activity is pertinent to the OSI, that it is logistically possible, and that it does not conflict with the interests of the inspected State. Prospective ISP representatives therefore joined the training in order to familiarize themselves with their roles in the upcoming exercise.

Members of the planning team from the Operations Support Centre also participated in order to fully comprehend the important role they will play during IFE14. The Operations Support Centre, based at the CTBTO’s headquarters in Vienna, will initiate all administrative and operational tasks. This will ensure that the inspection team is transported to the field as soon as possible and is fully supported while in the field.

“The integration of capability in the field among several technical disciplines as well as satellites activities is paramount. We work as a kind of chain reaction and all links must be strong enough to respond any demand, anywhere, anytime. The IFE14 Preparatory Training gave me the feeling that we as a team were ready to do just that.” Edson Andrade, inspector from the radionuclide/noble gas subteam

Health, Safety and Security

All OSI work must be done safely and with appropriate regard to personal security. IFE14 training paid particular attention to safety and security issues, and also allowed a good forum for dialog on issues related to health, safety and security.

Fully prepared for IFE14

By the end of the training exercise the participants were fully prepared to play their respective roles in IFE14.