Welcomed by Arnaud Robinet, Mayor of Reims, the guests were given a concise presentation on the security challenges facing the community. Following the reception, the auditors, accompanied by the deputy director of the IHEDN, prefect Nicolas Basselier, and sub-prefect Jean-Michel Delvert, head of the IHEDN's regional activities department, visited the aerospace company Latitude, a pioneer of the French New Space. Vincent Baudoin, the company's vice-president, gave them an insight into the industrial challenges facing this fast-growing company. Rear-Admiral Christophe Mérieult, deputy space commander, had travelled from Paris to give them a presentation on the defence implications of space.
The auditors were impressed by the vitality of the Latitude company, whose CEO (and recent IHEDN youth auditor), Stanislas Maximin, was in Brussels to take part in the 16th European Space Conference.
During the week, the auditors were also able to attend training manoeuvres by the army's armoured and mechanised forces at the CENTAC combat training centre at the Mailly camp. The discovery of the institutional players in defence and security continued at the Service départemental d'incendie et de secours (SDIS) de la Marne, under the direction of colonel Laurent Nicolay (auditor of the 230th session in the Normandy region). The various workshops on offer gave participants an insight into the many facets of firefighting.
In a region characterised by a historically dense industrial fabric, the sites of ASI Group and Aresia, two medium-sized companies in the aviation sector, helped to shed light on the close interweaving between defence and the private sector. Finally, a visit to the 113 air base at Saint-Dizier brought the auditors into contact with the men and women who help to ensure the nation's nuclear deterrent.
This knowledge was directly invested in the collective sessions of the committees which, like the conferences and visits, are part of the IHEDN's national training programme.