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  • OT - IEDs

    How would you approach this problem...any thoughts?


    U.S. Spending Billions to Stop Iraq IEDs By CHARLES J. HANLEY,

    The United States is pouring billions more dollars and fresh platoons of experts into its campaign to "defeat IEDs," the roadside bombs President Bush describes as threat No. 1 to Iraq's future.

    The American military even plans to build special, more defensible highways here, in its frustrating standoff with the makeshift munitions — "improvised explosive devices" — that Iraqi insurgents field by the hundreds to hobble U.S. road movements in the 3-year-old conflict.

    Out on those risky roads, and back at the Pentagon, few believe that even the most advanced technology will eliminate the threat.

    "As we've improved our armor, the enemy's improved his IEDs. They're bigger, and with better detonating mechanisms," said Maj. Randall Simmons, whose Georgia National Guard unit escorts convoys in western Iraq that are regularly rocked, damaged and delayed by roadside blasts.

    Lt. Col. Bill Adamson, operations chief for the anti-IED campaign, was realistic about the challenge in a Pentagon interview. "They adapt more quickly than we procure technology," he said of the insurgents.

    Casualty charts show a growing problem.

    Better armor and tactics lowered the casualty rate per IED attack last year. But attacks almost doubled from 2004, to 10,593, meaning the U.S. death toll from IEDs still rose. Since mid-2005, an average of about 40 Americans a month have been killed by improvised explosives, twice the rate of the previous 12 months, according to, an independent Web site that tracks casualties in Iraq.

    Meanwhile, the overall U.S. death rate held steady from 2004 to 2005, making IED fatalities comparatively more significant. Last month, for example, 36 of 55 American military personnel killed in Iraq were IED victims.

    The bomb makers have the White House's attention. In a radio address on Saturday, Bush said roadside bombs "are now the principal threat to our troops and to the future of a free Iraq."

    Bush said in a speech Monday that Iran had supplied IED components to Iraqi groups, but U.S. officials have presented no evidence to support that, nor did Bush explain why Shiite Muslim Iran would aid Iraq's Sunni-dominated insurgency.

    For their IEDs, Iraqi insurgents, who are believed under the direction of former military and intelligence officers, rely on the tons of military ordnance left over from the era of Saddam Hussein, and on store-bought electronic and other items for ignition systems.

    The Pentagon's upgraded Joint IED Defeat Organization is getting a sharply increased $3.3 billion this year to foil the often rudimentary weapons, which the Iraqi resistance generally fashions from artillery and mortar rounds. The "JIEDDO" staff of explosives experts and others will almost triple, to 365.

    From 2004 to 2006, some $6.1 billion will have been spent on the U.S. effort — comparable, in equivalent dollars, to the cost of the Manhattan Project installation that produced plutonium for World War II's atom bombs.

    The investment has paid dividends in Iraq: in "jammers" installed on hundreds of U.S. vehicles to block radio detonation signals; in massively armored Buffalo vehicles whose mechanical arms disable roadside bombs. Forty-five percent of emplaced bombs are cleared before detonation, the U.S. command says.

    In one initiative showing how seriously it takes the threat, the Defense Department proposes spending $167 million to build new supply roads in Iraq that bypass urban centers where convoys are exposed to IEDs.

    But experts like the Air Force's Bob Sisk, an explosives-disposal specialist whose teams are daily disarming IEDs north of Baghdad, said the most important investment is in intelligence.

    "The idea is to get the pieces of an IED to `Sexy,'" said this senior master sergeant.

    "Sexy" is CEXC, the Counter Explosive Exploitation Cell, a secretive group at Baghdad's Camp Victory that is building a database on IED incidents, in search of patterns and defenses.

    "The initiation system" — detonators — "is always of interest," Sisk said. The bomb makers have progressed from using washing-machine timers and pressure switches for initiating explosions, to cell phone and walkie-talkie signals, and even infrared beams.

    The IED analysts are vitally interested in placement-concealment tactics. The bombs can be found in roadside garbage bags or sandbags, in piles of rocks, buried in holes, in sheep or dog carcasses. One was recently discovered disguised as concrete street-side curbing.

    Hoaxes are a peril. "The enemy's very smart," said Capt. Peter Weld, Sisk's commander. "They plant a harmless device that soldiers find and gather around, and then they hit them with a real device nearby."

    "Shaped charges" are also proliferating — killer explosives that direct armor-piercing projectiles into U.S. vehicles.

    The Pentagon's Adamson said new ways to neutralize IEDs on the ground are critically important. But "we'll never keep up with the enemy's agility," and the top priority must be "taking down the human component — the financiers, the suppliers, the bomb makers."

    For that, he said, "our goal is to get better technical and forensic data off the ordnance" — from digital photos, measurements, explosive residue, fingerprints, debriefings of troops on the scene.

    The U.S. command claims significant success, saying it has captured or killed 41 bomb makers since November. But soldiers still face the bombs at seemingly the same rate.

    The Georgia National Guard's Sgt. Robert Lewis couldn't help being impressed while on duty in central Iraq.

    "There's a road we called IED Alley that the ordnance disposal guys would clear regularly," Lewis, 47, of Carrollton, Ga., said at his current post in western Iraq. "But no sooner would they reach the end of that stretch" — eight miles — "than the insurgents would be planting IEDs again at the beginning."

  • #2
    Part of the problem is something that the MSM willfully overlooks: The most advanced stuff is being supplied by Iran. This isn't a bunch of guys using electronic "junk" to build complicated detonation sequences. I've heard it said by a couple of defense analysts that they suspect that Iran has started up a counterpart to "Sexy"(CESC) that studies how we defeat the "improvised"(yeah right) explosive devices, and then design something with it in mind. The reasoning is bombs have suddenly become very complicated, with elegant designs, and at the same time, have started showing up with components traceable to Iran.


    This Old Shed
    EGO partum , proinde EGO sum


    • #3
      Sometimes I wish we could just nuke Iran but that would probably only make things worse.

      Obviously there is no simple solution to these roadside bombs, although I do have some ideas on how to protect against them better.

      -Christian D. Sokolowski


      • #4
        Some of this you cannot fix, First if you have ever worn body amour you know you can only wear so much before it becomes too cumbersome, Second you can't stop some kid from rolling over a body with a grenade positioned underneath it. Third some mines are undectectable, the germans made bombs out of wood.
        Some of it is our own stupidity too, trucks and vehicles until now have never been built with amour, trucks are still canvas topped and the hoods are now fiberglass.
        Lastly IEDs need not work to be effective, I have watch a patrol slow down or delay for hours because they found one booby trap, As soon as you find one the point man slows down considerably.
        Lastly, we sometimes refuse to learn from mistakes, In Vietnam we refused to listen to the french concerning the way the VC would ambush a convoy, it took along time to learn.

        [This message has been edited by chief (edited 03-13-2006).]
        Non, je ne regrette rien.


        • #5
          Last report I heard was that the jammers worked on everthing except the ones hardwired,it is hard to jamb wire after all.

          A couple weeks ago I also saw an article on the number of attacks of all types in that given week.The suprisng number was 555 attacks in that week,but only three were sucessful,that says a lot about the skill of the Coalition forces.
          I just need one more tool,just one!


          • #6
            I would intermittantly transmit on all the frequencies commonly used to detonate the devices, so that as soon as a device was armed, it would explode. With any luck at all, killing the maker or placer of the bomb.


            • #7
              I would make hordes of Iraqi civilians walk down the street surrounding my convoys. If that is overly harsh I would move the soldiers back and only hunt the bad guys with air strikes. I heard they just sent the C130 gunships back over there. Those will do the job quite well.
              James Kilroy


              • #8
                Well, given that the majority of the Iraqis want us to leave,
                I'd relocate our troops to our own shores, where the risk of IEDs would be greatly reduced. The odds of the insurgents continuing to target our kids here is vanishingly small.

                - Bart
                Bart Smaalders


                • #9
                  I usually don't get envolved in these discussions but with less money, you could put hired guards every 10' on all 8 miles of the road--24/7.


                  • #10
                    I read this, I wasn't sure I wanted to reply. But I found this quote from a D. Drake story about war and its costs:

                    "It doesn't matter how you do it. But don't forget, boy: it has to be done, whatever it takes."

                    Most of my input on this subject goes to military people I know, and the "official channels". I wish this "was history" and I could share more...

                    Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."
                    Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."