Hoyo de Manzanares, Madrid

 29 April 2024

·         Felipe VI visited the facilities of the Centre of Excellence to learn about the multidomain work developed by this NATO-accredited centre, which is under the authority of the Spanish Defence Staff

His Majesty the King visited the Centre of Excellence against Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED CoE), located inside the facilities of the Engineers’ Academy Barracks, in Hoyo de Manzanares, Madrid.

This visit represents an important milestone in the history of this NATO-accredited Centre and reflects Spain’s ongoing commitment to the Alliance, international security and the fight against terrorism.

Felipe VI, who had already visited the Centre in 2012 (when he still held the title of His Royal Highness, Prince of Asturias) was received upon his arrival by Admiral Teodoro E. López Calderón, Chief of Defense; Colonel Juan Pedro Moral Albaladejo, Chief of the Engineers’ Academy Barracks; and Colonel Javier Corbacho Margallo, CoE’s Director. The representatives of the twelve nations who are part of the Centre were also present.

After the customary military honours, His Majesty was briefed on the C-IED CoE’s activities and global impact. The presentation highlighted the Centre’s contribution to NATO’s mission, enhancing international security thanks to its specialization in prevention and response to IEDs.

Since its creation in 2010, the C-IED CoE has stood out as a leading institution against improvised explosive devices, an element which is present in NATO’s defense and security strategy and that of its Allied nations. The C-IED CoE, with staff from twelve nations, is dedicated to improving the Allied Forces’ interoperability and capacity, assessing and developing doctrines, and validating concepts through experimentation in the C-IED field.

Its organizational structure includes teams specialized in Attack the Networks (AtN), Defeat the Device (DtD) and Prepare the Force (PtF), following the pillars of NATO Doctrine. Looking ahead, the C-IED CoE works hard to be a global centre of reference on C-IED matters, integrating capacities across all operational domains, including cognitive and cyber, with the aim of responding to increasingly complex threats. Future challenges include improving the Centre’s international visibility and the expansion of its network of Sponsoring Nations.

Events and Demonstrations

During his visit, Felipe VI witnessed several demonstrations, including tactics to analyse explosive devices and emerging technologies in the fight against IEDs. These specific demonstrations exemplified the practical application of the technologies and tactics developed and refined at the C-IED CoE:

DEMO 1 Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT): outdoor demonstration where technical exploitation tactics for IED incidents were presented using the "Walkthrough IED" equipment.

DEMO 2 Attack the Networks (AtN): during this session, it was shown how analyses are performed to advise on the best options to be employed in order to influence and/or neutralize the terrorist networks that use IEDs as a means of attack.

DEMO 3 Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) Lab: at the Centre’s Lab, new technologies and R+D projects were explained, including 3D-printing, used to simulate and study IEDs in a controlled environment.

DEMO 4 Document and Media Exploitation (DOMEX): focused on the forensic analysis and the exploitation of electronic devices (mobile phones, electronic media, UAV, UUV and related items) seized in IED incidents in order to obtain critical intelligence.

During these demonstrations, His Majesty had the chance to talk to members of the international staff about their roles and experiences. He also signed the Book of Honour and was photographed with the staff. The C-IED CoE continues with its vital mission of saving lives and enhancing global security, strengthening ties between NATO and the international community, with the continued support from Spain.


The Counter-Improvised Explosive Devices – Centre of Excellence (C-IED CoE) is one of the 29 NATO Accredited Centres of Excellence and is located in Hoyo de Manzanares, Madrid. It has an international staff formed by military personnel from twelve nations. Members of the Armed Forces, together with members of other military and civilian agencies, are part of the team of subject-matter experts, as well as of the administration and support department.

The C-IED CoE’s mission is to provide subject-matter expertise in order to support NATO, NATO Partners and the international community in the fight against IEDs to increase the security of the deployed troops. Its goal is to reduce or eliminate the IED threat, in particular from terrorist or insurgent networks, but also any emerging threat coming from the fast-evolving global scenario.

The C-IED CoE was offered by Spain to be part of NATO’s Centres of Excellence network and it was first accredited by the Alliance in November 2010. In April 2023, the Centre underwent a new accreditation process, with a result that was considered “extremely satisfactory” to the Alliance’s interests.

Spanish version.