The European Defense Agency marked a new phase in its biological detection, identification and monitoring (T&E Bio DIM) project with a 26 February kick-off meeting to commence Phase 2.
In Phase 1 of the project, participants defined requirements and criteria for T&E of biological DIM equipment. Based on this framework, Phase 2 is programmed over 2020-2023 to deliver improved testing and evaluation capabilities to ensure the performance of biological DIM systems at the development and procurement stage.
Five EDA Member States (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands) as well as Norway (which has signed an Administrative Agreement with the Agency) are participating.
Detection, identification and monitoring of biological material are critical to enhancing situational awareness in a timely manner, supporting decisions, and enabling military commanders to take the most appropriate decisions in a recognized chemical and biological environment.
Despite the importance of biological DIM, Europe still lacks coordination and harmonization of the technical requirements for Member States’ test and evaluation (T&E) equipment. This makes it difficult to compare and exchange T&E results both within and between European countries as well as NATO members. It also causes duplication of effort and reduces the cost-effectiveness of both national and international military and civilian T&E efforts, e.g. by limiting the burden-sharing and cost-reduction potential.
European BioDefence Laboratory Network (EBLN)
A related EDA project is underway, the European BioDefence Laboratory Network (EBLN Phase II), which aims to strengthen EU preparedness by establishing a fully characterized collection of biological agents and a closely collaborating laboratory network at EU level in order to rapidly identify biothreat agents. Participating Member States in EBLN II are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden.
The two projects are part of EDA’s long term research efforts to enhance Member States’ biodefence capabilities and thereby, improve Europe’s overall ability to respond to emerging biological threats.