The last 10 years have seen a dramatic shift in the capability and experience of the US military Counter IED and EOD forces against various simple and complex IED threats. Both on a technical level as pure IED response, and also as an integrated component of the larger Counter IED effort, US military EOD forces have a wealth of experience and knowledge valuable to Homeland Defense. Yet, is the integration of military EOD experience into the Homeland Defense sector as robust as it should be? Are we utilizing all avenues to cross level the valuable knowledge, skills, and experience gained overseas to the domestic agencies that most need it?
Why look to the US military EOD? Prior to 2003; the UK, Israel, and some full time police bomb squads in the US were the leaders on IED technical knowledge, with only a few US military units focusing on the IED aspect. Instead, with some exceptions Unexploded Ordnance was the main focus of the US military EOD units at that time. However, all that has changed.
With the large volume of IED incidents that the US military has experienced across all services, combined with a wider range of training that includes Electronic Countermeasures, Home Made Explosives, Electronics, and Advanced IEDs, Forensics, etc. the level of capability for US military EOD technicians at the Team Leader level has now in many cases surpassed the three prior CIED leaders to become foremost in the world.
But just as the capability of the US military expanded over the last decade of conflict, so too did the capability of bombers and bombing groups. And unlike the US government; the information and capability of the terrorist is not bound by jurisdictional restrictions or bureaucratic process. For the bombers, it is as easy as logging into the internet, talking with a friendly mentor, or even being an astute reader of the news. This means that the ability to initiate very lethal IEDs here in the US is high. And not just among terrorist groups. Criminals, and even just the curious teenager are able to procure all the materials and knowledge within minutes, and bring to bear a lethality against first responders that was once reserved for military engagements overseas.
So how do we leverage the military experience effectively and efficiently to where they are most needed for homeland defense? Especially in this age of reducing budgets?
For the next month, this blog will be focusing on those questions, and potential solutions to them. Feedback is welcome from the various members of the community to share information from their perspective of where the best use of resources can be applied.