Engineering Corps Total Force and FireWare, an inspiring partnership to raise CBRNE simulations to the highest possible level

05 November 2020

On 19 and 20 May 2020 the first simulation-inspiration sessions were held at the NTC (the National Training Centre) in Vught. A multidisciplinary team of specialists joined forces by sharing knowledge, dreaming together, brainstorming and, in particular, conducting a great many hands-on experiments. They had just one goal: how can we, by truly working together, make a CBRNE simulation as realistic as possible?

CBRNE is an acronym of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive – all complex types of incidents, as are the means of dealing with them. As part of the armed forces, the military engineering corps has created specialist units to deal with them, and they have a dedicated national training centre, the NTC. The training centre is not just used by the military, but also by firefighters, the police, regional first responders, paramedics, specialist units, the Dutch Forensics Institute and many other professionals from both the Netherlands and abroad.

Realistic exercises

The more realistic an exercise, the better prepared the first responders are in the event of an actual incident. Some of the things that contribute to that sense of realism are good imagery, interactivity, creating dilemmas and an eye for detail (touching, hearing, tasting, smelling) – all while keeping the intended learning and teaching goals in the back of one’s mind.

In order to create such a high degree of realism and link them to those goals, intensive cooperation is required. The military engineering corps has created a separate task force for military and civil partnerships, called the Engineering Corps Total Force (Total Force Genie or TFG). The TFG falls under the concept of adaptive armed forces, performing military tasks hand-in-hand with civilian partners.

Bundling civil and military expertise

FireWare is one of these civilian partners. As a specialist in creating realistic training environments for first responders, FireWare is able to make a major contribution to making the NTC a perfect training ground. That is the reason why the FireWare team has commenced on being trained by the NTC in respect of CBRNE incidents, while the NTC team is in turn learning simulation skills from FireWare. By bundling our expertise and by brainstorming, experimenting and learning from each other, we are able to achieve a significantly higher experiential level.

The first simulation-inspiration session was a great success and we are certainly looking forward to further events! It is a great example of inspirational cooperation, which is one of the core values of FireWare and also a great way to give meaning to the idea of an adaptive armed forces.

For more information about the National Training Center, visit the website of the Defense CBRN Center: