USA — General Describes Effort to Counter Roadside Bombs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 11, 2010 — The direc­tor of the orga­ni­za­tion tasked with over­com­ing the chal­lenge posed by impro­vised explo­sive devices spoke about the future of counter-IED efforts to kick off the 2010 Joint Warfight­ing Con­fer­ence here today.

Army Lt. Gen. Michael L. Oates, Joint Impro­vised Explo­sive Device Defeat Orga­ni­za­tion direc­tor, told the audi­ence that IEDs rep­re­sent a threat that will grow in num­ber and com­plex­i­ty in com­ing years.

“We will see IEDs or their deriv­a­tives find their way into civ­i­lized soci­ety in greater num­bers,” he said. “They’ll be used by crim­i­nal enter­pris­es. They’ll be used by hybrid threats that seek to seek part­ners – either in the drug traf­fick­ing enter­prise or oth­er com­mer­cial busi­ness – to desta­bi­lize soci­eties. We will cer­tain­ly see them in the com­bat sphere for years to come, and we’re going to see the tech­nol­o­gy of these devices become more dif­fi­cult to defeat.”

Oates said infor­ma­tion shar­ing and analy­sis are cru­cial in enabling tac­ti­cal com­man­ders to stop IED net­works.

“I absolute­ly believe that we have got to find a way ahead imme­di­ate­ly to improve our infor­ma­tion fusion, these data­bas­es for our tac­ti­cal com­man­ders,” he said. “There is no short­age of data. There is a dearth of analy­sis.”

Oates also focused on the need to deliv­er bat­tle­field require­ments quick­ly.

“We have got to rapid­ly receive demands from the field and turn a prod­uct back to the wartime com­man­der in a time that he can use it,” he said. “The time­line at JIEDDO is zero to 24 months, and I think we are fail­ing. We need to turn some of these capa­bil­i­ties much faster. Days are like years for com­bat com­man­ders. Their sense of urgency has got to be repli­cat­ed with­in the indus­tri­al por­tion of the U.S. and our allies.”

Oates con­clud­ed his remarks on a note of opti­mism.

“I do believe that this is winnable,” he said. “I do believe that if we put our efforts togeth­er as part­ners with indus­try, acad­e­mia, media and the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus, I do believe that we can make great progress toward defeat­ing this capa­bil­i­ty, or at least ren­der­ing it much less effec­tive, in the very near term. That is what I believe we need to pro­vide to the com­bat­ant com­man­ders, not in the next five years, but cer­tain­ly in the next year to 18 months.”

The theme for this year’s three-day con­fer­ence is “Com­bat­ant and Coali­tion Com­man­ders: What Will They Need Five Years from Now?” The con­fer­ence is an annu­al event that brings Defense Depart­ment offi­cials togeth­er with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of indus­try, acad­e­mia and multi­na­tion­al part­ners. It’s co-spon­sored by the Armed Forces Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Elec­tron­ics Asso­ci­a­tion and the U.S. Naval Insti­tute in coor­di­na­tion with U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand.

U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand