The recent CBRNe World article by Jim Murphy MP, UK Shadow Defence Secretary, made some interesting observations on the state of UK security and the position of the current government, many of which underline the urgency for wider CBRN response training.
The worldwide threat posed by the increasing availability of CBRN weaponry need hardly be emphasised and, indeed, the UK Government’s National Security Strategy (NSS) recognises a terrorist attack by such means as the top, ‘Tier One’ threat. However, as Mr Murphy points out, the current government has not introduced any new strategy or committed new resources to its prevention, while moves such as replacing the 1st Royal Tank Regiment’s role in the highly specialised Joint CBRN Regiment with the 27 Squadron RAF Regiment means that the RAF will rely on the Yeomanry to support CBRN response.
If the government recognises CBRN as of such great strategic importance while at the same time cutting the resources to fight CBRN then response training becomes even more important. Moreover, the use of simulation equipment is vital to provide the most efficient, flexible and cost-effective training.
Using programmable electronic sources, simulation training systems are capable of simulating a wide range of threats. In each case, the exact functionality, look and feel of real life in-service equipment is replicated, making it easy for trainees to transfer their knowledge from the training centre to the field of operations.
The ease with which these simulations can be set up significantly increases the efficiency and flexibility of training exercises, allowing instructors to simulate a wide range of realistic scenarios. Here in the UK our armed forces regularly run training courses attended by our allies from around the world. It is therefore vital that we deliver the highest possible standards of training, so that personnel can return to their units with the knowledge and skills to deal with current mission specific threats and to meet the changing needs of contingency operations. The employment of advanced simulation equipment such as that supplied by Argon is an essential factor in our ability to fulfil this need, both now and in the future.
Simulation equipment is playing an important role in improving the quality and consistency of training and that role can only become more vital as budgets are tightened and government policy brings about changes in responsibility. Jim Murphy points out that across Europe, defence spending has declined substantially as a result of the financial crisis. With reductions in transnational defence spending and resultant changes to force structures, the efficiency of simulation training is now more valuable than ever.