Initial Visit

Ohrid, North Macedonia
20-24 January 2020

Executive summary

The setup of this Initial Visit was a primer, in duration and number of participants. The meeting its primary purpose was to acquaint the DISTAFF (directing staff) of the Republic of North Macedonia with their NATO counterparts, discuss all the aspects of planning, conducting and evaluating the “NORTH MACEDONIA 2020” EADRCC Consequence Management Command Post and Field Exercise.


This exercise will be unique in offering two exercise elements that have never been practiced before: mountain rescue and illegal migration.


NATO EADRCC Field Exercises offer a small window of opportunities for the Host Nation to push through changes in the Crisis Management System.


We, ahead of the Main Planning Conference, agreed on the exercise objectives, decided what training to provide and ensured the potential exercise sites provide sufficient opportunities to keep the national and international teams busy for the duration of the exercise.


The meeting also agreed which International Organisations to invite to the exercise.


Agreed exercise objectives:

Support national authorities in building resilience through improved disaster preparedness, planning, prevention and response, and strengthen their capability to  manage potential civil emergencies
Use the Next-Generation Incident Command System, at all operational levels
» Improve cooperation and tools available to partners
» Practice EADRCC procedures and capabilities, in order to improve cooperation among Allied and partner nations during a consequence management operation, including response to chemical, biological or radiological incidents
» Demonstrate/use new technologies that can improve international disaster response
» Strengthen North Macedonia its capabilities to receive international assistance and effectively organize and co-ordinate consequence management operations involving international response teams
» Facilitate cross-border co-operation among neighbouring countries, including by practicing the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Facilitation of Vital Civil Cross Border Transport
» Practice civil-military cooperation with active military participation in a civil catastrophe
» Conduct a “Virtual Exercise”
» Exercise the use of the Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (VOSOCC)
» Practice, as appropriate, co-ordination and co-operation between NATO and International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations
» Practice internationally agreed guidelines, including the INSARAG guidelines for Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR)
» Familiarise Civil Experts with CEP Crisis Management Arrangements (CMAs) in terms of its capabilities, responsibilities and mechanisms (e.g. CEPC, EADRCC), supporting the overall NATO Crisis Response System (NCRS)

Agreed exercise elements

  • Simulated Public Information and Media play;
  • Use of social media, including NICS social media tools;
  • Fake news and disinformation campaigns;
  • Internet, energy and communications black-out;
  • Suspicious (CBR) accident (suspicious, possibly linked to counterterrorism);
  • Emergency Medical Teams, ROL / EMT;
  • Telemedicine: teams can test their own telemedicine, should they wish.
  • Virtual Reality sites;
  • Water rescue;
  • Urban search and rescue;
  • Mountain search and rescue;
  • Military assets in a civil-coordinated catastrophe;
  • Dike breach;
  • Mass movement of people / refugees / illegal migrants / …
  • Virus outbreak;
  • Site survey / assessment;
  • Shelter for people;
  • Field hospital.


Agreed Training activities:

  • CBRN and medical teams: Non-Binding Guidelines and Minimum Standards for CBRN first responders;
  • Occupational safety awareness;
  • Next-Generation Incident Command System;
  • Media training on public information / disinformation / deep fake …;
  • Protection of Civilians;
    • Table-top and Command Post exercise to test the command structures involving staff members of the DISTAFF, LEMA, OSOCC, UCC, EMTCC, as well as liaison officers and team commanders;
    • Virtual reality training;
    • Water rescue;
    • Mountain search and rescue;
    • Urban Search and Rescue: INSARAG guidelines;
    • NICS: at MPC, FPC and EX;
    • LEMA, OSOCC, On-Site Commanders training for interaction with evaluators and DISTAFF: perhaps immediately following the Final Visit;
    • Cyber/hybrid training;



The EADRCC Consequence Management Command Post and Field Exercises are not aimed at evaluating participating team but are focused on the exercise objectives.


As a result, not all the teams come in a “complete setup”. For example, many teams leave their self-sufficiency component at home during the exercises. This has (discussed) consequences for the host nation.


Minutes from Initial Visit





Crisis Management & Disaster Response Center of ExcellenceField Exercise North Macedonia 2021