The U.S. Government’s response to the devastation and threat of IED’s to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq was overwhelmingly positive and reminiscent of the classic American “can do” thinking and engineering of World War II. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and other government agencies combined the talent and American know-how to reduce the number of casualties by developing an incredible array of technologies to identify and defeat IEDs.
Now that the Iraq pullout has been completed and the U.S. troop draw down is underway in Afghanistan, we have a tremendous opportunity to re-deploy those same technologies here in the United States with federal, state, and local agencies to provide the same level of protection to our citizens at home. You might recall JIEDDO Director Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero’s July testimony before a closed session of the House Committee on Homeland Security. In that testimony, Gen. Barbero described in serious detail the threat posed by IEDs in the United States.
These technologies used by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are being sent back to the United States and stockpiled. But our state and local law enforcement agencies need those technologies today, and DHS has a tremendous opportunity to expand state and local homeland security capabilities with virtually little investment at all. I know that forward-thinkers in DHS are looking at ways to acquire and transition those technologies to LEAs around the country, and it could not happen soon enough.
Let’s hope they get the senior leadership and budget support to make the right decision to get this critically needed technology into the hands of those who need them now – before the bombs start going off.