Special Report - C-IED

US Military Actions to Counter the Threat Posed by IEDs

Keen to emulate the success they have had in countering IEDs in Iraq in Afghanistan, the US military are investing in a variety of measures to counter the threat posed by IEDs.

JIEDDO JCOE instructor at FT. Irwin.

The US Marine Corps have just opened a new $9 million facility at Camp Pendleton in California to train troops to deal with IEDs. The US Marines say that roadside bombings are their biggest threat in Afghanistan but training on how to deal with IEDs effectively up until now has been limited. The new facility will be used to teach soldiers what to look for and how to deal with IEDs when they have been detected. It will also teach soldiers how to tackle IEDs in a variety of landscapes that they are likely to encounter when on deployment.

This initiative is one of a number that have been designed to support The Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO) mission areas, which are to Attack the Network, Defeat the Device and Train the Force.

In terms of ‘Defeating the Device’, in addition to already employing state of the art technologies such as bomb handling robots and RF jamming devices (Counter Radio-controlled Electronic Warfare or CREW), the US Military is investing heavily in research and development to counter IEDs more effectively. According to reports in Popular Mechanics, The Pentagon revealed earlier this year the existence of a new device that may be able to detonate IEDs that reside below the road surface using microwaves.

Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected (MRAP) vehicle.

This could represent a major leap forward in counter IED technology and may well prove the most effective way to deal with the most common IED threat encountered in Afghanistan currently – the pressure plate victim operated bomb hidden beneath the road surface. Many counter IED technologies are ineffective against this particular type of device as they are based on jamming bomb command signals or are designed to target devices that are visible. The new device is reported to target the IEDs main charge, using highly advanced RF technologies, and can do so at a distance, even if the devices is hidden beneath the road surface.

The JIEDDO ‘Attack the Network’ operation includes a wide spectrum of actions and activities, which are designed to reduce the effects of IEDs and interrupt the enemy's chain of IED related activities. This part of the mission focuses on the identifying and exploiting enemy vulnerabilities and facilitating offensive operations. Offensive actions seek to disrupt the enemy's innovation cycle and buy time to create additional IED countermeasures.

MRAP Testimonial
MRAP Testimonial

The ‘Attack the Network’ effort is being accomplished using a wide variety of measures. According to JIEDDO, these measures include intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, information operations, counter-bomber targeting, device technical and forensic exploitation, disposal of unexploded and captured ordnance, and persistent surveillance directed toward defeat of the enemy's capabilities. Operations to kill or capture network members provide the final, critical step in the process.

In order to succeed in C-IED operations, JIEDDO is applying unrelenting pressure to IED networks. Various initiatives have been implemented to disrupt IED related activity among and between financiers, IED makers, trainers, and their supporting infrastructure.

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