LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Coping with IED threat

Story Topics
Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Rowan Scarborough’s article, “U.S. troops winning war against IEDs of Taliban” (Page 1, May 25), brings attention to the reality of 21st-century warfare; however, he does not accurately capture the breadth of the threat and the coordinated efforts to ensure our commanders have freedom of maneuver.

The IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and the networks that use them are a significant threat not only to our security forces, but also to our homeland. Today and in the future, U.S. forces will operate in an IED environment. The Defense Department has developed and rapidly deployed a comprehensive portfolio of capabilities - from mine rollers, hand-held detectors and pelvic protection garments to aerial- and ground-surveillance systems, to name a few. We do not rely on just one capability - our troops are provided an arsenal of tools to customize and apply to the IED threat.

One of the greatest challenges in Afghanistan is homemade explosives. Eighty-six percent of IEDs employed against our troops are homemade bombs, and the vast majority are made with calcium ammonium nitrate - a legally produced and widely used agricultural fertilizer. As Mr. Scarborough reported, these devices have been the greatest source of battlefield casualties this decade.

However, I would be remiss if I did not shed light on the global nature of this threat. Homemade explosives are not confined to Afghanistan. More than 500 IED incidents occur around the world each month. Because of the global nature of this threat, we have enlisted the help of our U.S. government partners, allies, industry and congressional leaders such as Rep. Duncan Hunter.

One thing I know is, the Defense Department cannot address the IED threat alone. The work to disrupt IED networks and to defeat the IED itself is a comprehensive effort that must continue to occur at all levels. We are never going to stop all IEDs, but with a holistic and decisive approach, we will significantly impact the effect the IED has on the battle space and here at home.

LT. GEN. MICHAEL D. BARBERO

Director, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, U.S. Army

Arlington, Va.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts