Lynn Praises Work, Successes of IED-Defeat Agency

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2011 — Few Defense Depart­ment agen­cies have a more impor­tant mis­sion than the Joint Impro­vised Explo­sive Device Defeat Orga­ni­za­tion, Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III told a Pen­ta­gon audi­ence today.
The JIEDDO, as it is known, leads the department’s efforts to defeat the use of impro­vised explo­sive devices by insur­gents in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speak­ing at the agency’s change of direc­tor­ship cer­e­mo­ny, Lynn joked about the agency’s acronym.

“The rule of thumb in Wash­ing­ton, I think, is ‘the longer the acronym, the tougher the mis­sion,’ and that cer­tain­ly applies to JIEDDO,” Lynn said.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael L. Oates, who is slat­ed to retire, is pass­ing JIEDDO’s lead­er­ship baton to incom­ing com­man­der Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Bar­bero.

JIEDDO has a “par­tic­u­lar­ly com­pli­cat­ed assign­ment,” Lynn said, not­ing that dur­ing Oates’ lead­er­ship of JIEDDO his charge was to improve upon the organization’s many suc­cess­es.

Adding to that, Lynn said, was “an influx of tens of thou­sands of addi­tion­al troops” into Afghanistan, which meant that “more men and women” would encounter the very threat Oates was tasked to defeat.

Today, IEDs remain “the most-lethal threat we face in Afghanistan,” Lynn said.

“But under Gen­er­al Oates’ lead­er­ship,” he added, “the JIEDDO has worked hard to con­front that chal­lenge.”

Extra­or­di­nary resources, both mon­e­tary and human, were com­mit­ted to address the dan­gers impro­vised explo­sives pose to troops, Lynn said. The invest­ment in counter-IED tech­nol­o­gy and enhanced sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties has proved inte­gral in reduc­ing attacks, he said.

Bar­bero has served three tours in Iraq and for the past 18 months was the deputy com­man­der in charge of advis­ing and train­ing Iraqi troops.

As JIEDDO’s com­man­der, Bar­bero will employ skills that made him suc­cess­ful in Iraq, such as hav­ing “patience for [solv­ing] a com­pli­cat­ed prob­lem, nav­i­gat­ing the resources of a com­plex bureau­cra­cy, and stay­ing agile to keep our troops safe,” Lynn said.

The IED threat con­tin­ues to evolve, the deputy sec­re­tary said. “Because of this, our mil­i­tary needs to con­tin­u­al­ly inno­vate and improve our [anti-IED] strat­e­gy,” he said, adding that JIEDDO is doing just that.

“That’s why its mis­sion is so vital,” Lynn said, adding that JIEDDO is at the fore­front of efforts to meet the chang­ing nature of con­flict.

“There’s no greater mis­sion than to pro­tect our war­riors as they go into harm’s way,” Bar­bero said. “And JIEDDO will con­tin­ue to focus on and meet the needs of the warfight­er.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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