BISON COUNTER, the periodic EDA-supported multinational live exercise bringing together Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) teams from Europe and the US, kicked off today in Sardinia, Italy, with some 650 staff participating. The exercise’s objectives are to exchange and train technical skills, integrate and use available technical enablers at a tactical level and implement the full C-IED operational cycle with a view to improving interoperability and resilience among European and allied C-IED capabilities in their fight against evolving IED threats, both in military and counter-terrorism operations.
BISON COUNTER is today the largest and most relevant EU exercise of the C-IED community. After 2013 (The Netherlands) and 2016 (Sweden), it is the third time this exercise is organised under the auspices of EDA. A total of 650 military staff from 10 EU Member States (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden), as well as Norway and the United States participate in this year’s event hosted by the Italian Armed Forces.
As in previous editions, EDA is closely involved in the organisation and running of BISON COUNTER 21 which integrates EDA projects such as the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory (JDEAL), the European Centre for Manual Neutralisation Capabilities (ECMAN) and the Military Search Capability Building (MSCB). It can also count on the support of NATO’s C-IED Centre of Excellence.
BISON COUNTER 21 gathers dedicated teams specialised in the following enabler capabilities:
- Military Search
- Military Working Dogs
- Combat Engineering
- Route Clearance
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (EOD/IEDD)
- EOD Divers
- EOD Manual Neutralization Techniques (MNT) Teams
- Weapons Intelligence Teams (WIT)
- Level 2 Technical Exploitation, fully manned and operational Laboratory
- Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters.
The aim is to develop common processes, techniques, procedures and interoperability requirements. Lessons learned from previous BISON COUNTER editions will also be raised and included in the operational part. In the same vein, the exercise will also serve as an experimentation and testing ground for IED related assets, equipment and technologies.
As one of the key objectives is to increase responsiveness and operational readiness for EU crises management, the exercise scenario is built up on a Crisis Management Operation (CMO) and spread around different locations in order to meet the specific requirements of the different technical domains. The geographical dispersion also allows to replicate the real-life challenges that operations have to face in terms of Command and Control and Reporting, the handling and transportation of evidence collected from IED incidents, as well as their exploitation.