History

Evolution and Impact of the Developing EO Threats around the Globe to EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminars and Workshops organized by NATO EOD COE:

 

A Historical Review

1st ISAF EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminar

The inaugural ISAF EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminar was held on December 5-6, 2012, in Bratislava, Slovakia. This event, under the auspices of the NATO EOD Centre of Excellence (COE), aimed to share insights and operational experiences from ISAF EOD/IEDD operations. Key participants included EOD and IEDD professionals from seven NATO nations and representatives from key organizations like the C-IED COE and JIEDDO. The seminar’s classified discussions highlighted the necessity of deep, tactical-level exchanges, setting the stage for future events.

2nd Annual EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminar

On November 26-28, 2013, the second annual seminar took place, expanding its reach to over 50 participants from 12 countries. The event maintained its focus on ISAF operations but evolved to include broader tactical-level lessons. The classification was lowered to NATO Restricted, facilitating more open and productive discussions. The successful exchange of information prompted plans for a subsequent seminar in 2014.

3rd Annual EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminar

The 2014 seminar, held on November 24-25, expanded its scope beyond ISAF to include diverse EOD perspectives. This broader approach attracted participants from 18 nations and entities, marking a significant increase in engagement. The seminar underscored the importance of sharing EOD experiences, with many participants suggesting the event could evolve into a regular working session.

4th Annual EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminar

Held on October 27-29, 2015, the fourth seminar introduced a new format, dividing discussions into sessions focused on EOD incidents, training systems, and syndicate work. For the first time, Partnership for Peace (PfP) countries were invited, broadening the seminar’s inclusivity. Despite some logistical challenges, the seminar’s growing popularity was evident, and plans were made to develop more structured platforms for future knowledge sharing.

The 5th EOD Lessons Learned Seminar and Its Evolution

In 2016, the seminar was relocated to Trencin, Slovakia, and reclassified as NATO UNCLASSIFIED to enhance participation from PfP nations. The event, held on October 25-27, featured a redesigned agenda focusing on case studies, future threats, and ongoing EOD projects. This year marked a significant shift towards integrating past lessons with future EOD strategies through collaborative syndicate work.

Transition to EOD Workshops

In 2017, the seminar format evolved into more focused workshops, aiming to accomplish specific tasks and outcomes. The first workshop, held in November 2017 in Trencin, Slovakia, concentrated on developing EOD Lessons Learned Database, training implementation, and technological support tools. This shift signified a move from general discussions to targeted, actionable outcomes.

 

Continuation and Expansion: The 7th EOD Workshop

By 2019, the EOD workshops had become biennial events, with the seventh workshop held on September 24-26. The workshop addressed critical topics such as CBRN EOD Command and Control, EOD lessons sharing, and future EOD capabilities. Each block of the workshop was designed to achieve specific objectives, fostering deeper collaboration and trust within the EOD Community of Interest (COI).

Adapting to the Pandemic: The 8th EOD Workshop Online

The 8th EOD Workshop, held online on May 5-6, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrated the resilience and adaptability of the EOD COE. The online format allowed participation from up to 300 SMEs globally, covering emerging technologies, virtual and augmented reality tools, and best practices in EOD incident response.

The 9th EOD Workshop: A Hybrid Approach

The 9th EOD Workshop in 2022 embraced a hybrid format, accommodating both in-person and online participants. Held on May 4-6, the workshop drew 127 participants from 26 nations, focusing on current threats, technological advancements, and training systems. The outcomes were synthesized into an analytical report, providing valuable insights for future EOD capability development.

Conclusion

The evolution of the ISAF EOD Operators Lessons Learned Seminars into comprehensive workshops highlights the dynamic nature of EOD knowledge sharing. These events have progressively expanded in scope and participation, fostering a collaborative environment that enhances operational effectiveness and prepares the EOD community for future challenges.