Combat Support Agency Counters Worldwide IED Threats
Combat Support Agency
Counters Worldwide IED Threats
By Terri Moon Cronk, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — April 6, 2015 — The organization that has fought for a decade to
defeat improvised explosive devices used by American enemies in the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars has become a combat support agency, its director said in a
The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization -- known as JIEDDO
-- was realigned under the defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology
and logistics March 11 and is “here to stay,” Army Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson told
Johnson said he wants to ensure every commander and warfighter is aware of
the agency’s capabilities to support those in the field. Johnson added that
DoD’s senior leadership recognized that the global threat of IEDs is not going
away, and that the agency’s new status means the capabilities it provides will
be around a long time.
As a Defense Department function, the general said, the agency has better
access to other DoD capabilities to “collaborate and to make sure we’re
providing even better support to deployed service members.”
JIEDDO Established During Wars
Johnson said the need for JIEDDO became great when IEDs were killing and
injuring large numbers of service members, and JIEDDO stood up as a joint
organization from an Army task force in 2006 at the height of the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars. The military realized it needed an organization to work across
the entire spectrum of the problem by analyzing IED threats and developing
training and new equipment for warfighters, he added.
Today, “we track IEDs around the world, and in past 12 months, over 26,000
IED events caused 55,000 casualties,” the JIEDDO director pointed out.
“Gratefully, very few were Americans,” he added, “but it means that anywhere
U.S. troops deploy, they are going to be at risk of IEDs.”
JIEDDO works to connect a variety of IED experts early within deploying units’
training cycles, Johnson said, so warfighters are knowledgeable of terrorist
networks and the types of battlefield support the combat support agency will
Embedding Experts with Troops
JIEDDO experts range from intelligence analysts, operational experts, and
combat advisers that offer training and adaptable solutions to warfighters and
forces building allies’ capacities to improve counter-IED efforts, Johnson said.
These experts embed with U.S. forces from the start of deployment, regardless
of assignment, from maritime crisis response forces, the Army’s regionally
aligned forces or special operations, the general said.
Embedding experts helps troops and commanders understand what they’re seeing
and how best to use the resources at their disposal to deal with threats,
protect forces and defeat the enemy, he said.
JIEDDO a ‘Game Changer’ After Wars
JIEDDO brought a game changer to the table after its work during the Iraq and
Afghanistan wars, in which it provided a warfighter package of urgently needed
training, analytical support and equipment to counter IED threats, the general
said. Today, those capabilities reach across the globe, he added.
“We can apply the analysis to new training techniques, new tactics, equipment,
and significantly enhance how our ground forces do business,” he said. “We help
A key issue of IED proliferation by a variety of terrorist networks is that
these homemade bombs use products such as fertilizer and cheap, commercial-grade
explosives used in farming and mining, so the materials are available just about
anywhere, Johnson pointed out.
Compounding the expanding IED global presence is that terrorist networks
share information, he said.
“The enemies are very innovative, and they share their ideas and innovations.
If we see IEDs that have success in one place, we can guarantee you we’re likely
to see it elsewhere,” Johnson said.
And it’s that very type of information JIEDDO shares with forces deployed
around the world so warfighters are better prepared and equipped to handle the
problem, in addition to having reachback to national level resources, the
‘Global IED Threats to Continue’
There was some thought that JIEDDO might cease to exist following the end of
the two wars, Johnson said, but that is not the case.
“The truth is, we’re going to face IEDs anywhere we go in the world,” he
emphasized. “IEDs have proliferated around the world, and they challenge
security forces across the globe. Now we’re back helping the Iraqis with the
problems there, and our enemies are using IEDs in greater numbers all the time.”
Because of that global threat, JIEDDO’s business model is well entrenched for
efforts in the Middle East, but also counters the IED threat in various other
regions of the world such as Africa, South America, the Far East and the Pacific
region, Johnson said. JIEDDO’s mission is far-reaching, but has a central goal,
“We provide counter-IED capabilities that allow [service members] to adapt
and be that No. 1 weapon on the battlefield,” said Johnson, who described
service members as “the most trained, most capable weapon.”
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
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