- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Many thanks to California Rep. Duncan D. Hunter for arguing that we should fully implement the new Taskforce ODIN (Observe, Detect, Identify, Neutralize) in Afghanistan, enabling troops to disrupt and defeat insurgent improved explosive device teams as they bury the bombs (“Hunter lauds tactic to snuff IEDs,” Page 1, Sept. 16). As seen in Iraq, ODIN’s next generation surveillance capabilities save troops’ lives, reduce civilian casualties and deny insurgents their most effective weapon.

However, I am concerned that Congress is not attempting to build on the wisdom of Taskforce ODIN by rushing similar new surveillance technologies to troops in the form of the Army’s Brigade Combat Team Modernization program (BCTM). Recent tests of the BCTM equipment - including a fast, new, mobile network, aerial and ground surveillance drones and sensors that detect insurgent movement - demonstrate that it could give troops a better operational picture, potentially enabling them to stop insurgents before they have a chance to emplace IEDs or set ambushes.

Although Mr. Hunter has supported such technologies, the House Armed Services Committee on which he sits has repeatedly attempted to cut back the BCTM program, delaying life-saving technologies and capabilities.

After the scandals over a lack of body armor and armored vehicles in Iraq, why are members of Congress still blocking critical equipment for our troops?

ANTONIO GIL MORALES

Fort Worth, Texas