More than 100 explosives experts gathered in Brussels, Belgium, for the ninth annual European Union (EU)-United States (US) Explosives Experts’ Seminar.
The three-day event was co-hosted by the US Joint Program Office for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), which is administered by the FBI, and brought together subject matter experts from both the US and the European Union to discuss recent explosives-related incidents.
Experts also worked to identify expanded opportunities for continued coordination and collaboration among the EU and US partners. Among the topics discussed included protecting public spaces and special events, recognizing emerging threats, and addressing explosives precursor chemicals security.
Since the previous seminar held in the US in May 2018, important strides in collaboration have been accomplished through working groups established through the seminar. The EU-US Explosives Detection Dog Working Group collaborated on a range of topics and joint activities, including certification, special operations, classified detection tests, classified training and methods for suicide attackers and carriers of firearms, chemical threats detection, and development of respective guidance materials and common terminology applicable across the EU, NATO, and the US.
Additionally, the EU-US Special Events and Soft Targets Working Group collaborated on information-sharing and operations in support of the NATO Summit, Boston Marathon, critical EU government installations, classified vulnerability assessment processes, taxonomy of special events, security planning for public spaces, implementation of security measures, and best practices and guidance materials.
The EU-US Explosives Precursor Chemicals (EPC) Security Working Group continued sharing information and best practices related to respective precursor security regimes, such as US participation in the April 2019 meeting of the EU Standing Committee on Precursors, and informed new US approaches to voluntary precursor security controls at the retail level.
“The annual EU-US Explosives Experts’ Seminar continues to highlight the significance of counterterrorism-related dialogue between the EU and the US,” said FBI Critical Incident Response Group Deputy Assistant Director Michael Schneider. “We are all more successful in preventing explosives-related threats and protecting the American people due to our ongoing engagement with our partners.”