Preparation intensifies ahead of OSI Build-Up Exercise 2024

CTBTO’s On-Site Inspection (OSI) Division recently held a series of training courses at the Technology Support and Training Centre (TeST Centre) in Seibersdorf, Austria. More than 70 participants from 30 States Signatories came together over three weeks for intense training and preparation in anticipation of the integrated Build-Up Exercise (BUE24) taking place in June 2024 in Hungary. 

What is a build-up exercise?

OSI exercises are simulations of real-world activities designed to test how well concepts and procedures work, train individuals in their duties, and test equipment. 

BUE24 plays an important role in testing several OSI techniques, mechanisms, systems and procedures in an integrated and cross-cutting manner. It serves as the final preparatory exercise in advance of the large-scale Integrated Field Exercise in 2025 (IFE25).    

An action-packed training agenda

The first of the three courses was the In-Field Operations Support course (IFOS-LTP), held from 8 – 12 April, which targeted Linear Training Programme (LTP) trainees. The IFOS-LTP aimed to provide participants with an overview and practical training on the in-field operations support elements that assist and sustain an inspection team and their inspection activities in the field.  

Part of Base of Operations installed during the IFOS-LTP training

Introduction to the IFOS-LTP participants

A total of 35 participants from 30 States Signatories participated in the IFOS-LTP. Throughout the week, the participants learned about and operationalized the in-field operations support elements that would be utilized for the subsequent weeks of training including set-up, functionality and sustainability of the  Base of Operations (BoO), logistics and operations support plan, power generation and distribution, climate systems, ICT infrastructure, health and safety infrastructure, and the OSI field laboratory. The BoO was set up with the purpose of supporting the subsequent BUE-24 training course.

Enhancing inspection skills

The BUE-24 training course was held from 15 – 26 April and was designed to prepare BUE-24 participants for their potential Inspection Team (IT) role in the June 2024 exercise. The course participants were primarily rostered surrogate inspectors from the Third Training Cycle who have expertise in a number of fields, including non-seismic and seismic geophysical techniques, position finding and visual observation, radionuclide and noble gas techniques, and in-field operations support.  

Participants using a position finding instrument

Inspection team members conducting field mission

A total of 46 participants from 26 States Signatories took part in the intensive two-week programme. Course participants received a refresher on key OSI concepts and procedures as well as hands-on training on techniques and equipment application in the OSI context.

The training framework also challenged participants to apply the integrated on-site inspection workflow which includes activities such as mission planning, equipment preparation, deployment and conduct of the field missions, sample analysis and data processing, report writing and routine inspection team meetings.  

Adhering to rights and obligations of the Treaty

The third recent course was the BUE-24 Training Course for the Inspected State Party (ISP), bringing together 19 participants from 13 States Signatories. The course was held from 22 – 26 April and was designed to prepare participants who will play the role of an ISP representative for the exercise by reviewing the Treaty provisions relevant to the rights and obligations of the Inspection Team and ISP during an OSI, and observing the application of OSI techniques taking place in the parallel BUE-24 training course.

Tabletop exercise on ISP rights and obligations

Briefing on lessons learned during the ISP training

The ISP course participants were a combination of PTS staff members and nominated external experts who had also participated in the First and Second Training Cycles for OSI surrogate inspectors and other OSI-related activities.

Preparing for entry into force

The CTBTO is actively enhancing its work to build on-site inspection capability through a comprehensive approach in preparation for the entry into force of the Treaty. Core elements include the OSI operational manual detailing legal, technical, and administrative procedures, a designated list of equipment for on-site inspections, a specialized training program for inspectors, and the procurement, testing, and maintenance of OSI equipment. 

These efforts are pivotal as the world awaits the entry into force of the CTBT. 

Learn more about the OSI procedures, techniques, trainings and exercises.  

Participants during Inspection team meeting 1 (ITM1)

Training on data processing and reporting

Electrical resistivity tomography equipment installation

Preparation of ground penetrating radar for practice in the field

Receiving subsurface noble gas samples at the Base of Operations

Participants took part in a refresher CPR First Aid course

Group picture of the BUE preparatory trainings participants in the TeST Centre in Seiberdorf