Gates Creates New Counter IED Group

Gates Creates New Counter IED Group

As we reported yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has created a new counter-IED task force to do what the current counter-IED task force apparently isn’t doing well enough, namely, counter-IEDs. Gates’ is clearly frustrated with the current counter-IED effort, run by the Army, that he says is slow to come up with solutions, does not rapidly adapt to different IED tactics and bomb networks in Afghanistan, and has too many separate initiatives underway that are not collaborating.

Of course all of this integrating counter-IED efforts was supposed to be the job of the “Joint” IED Defeat Organization. We asked JIEDDO what this new task force means for them and how they will contribute to the new effort. We’ll let you know what we hear from them.

Gates is bringing his now customary, very hands-on, “if you want it done right, do it yourself,” approach to the IED fight. “I will meet with the task force and expect a report from them monthly… probably for about six months… I just want to make sure that all of these different organizations in the department are moving together and cooperating – breaking down the stovepipes,” he said yesterday, speaking to reporters (it sounds like he’s sticking around as SecDef for at least six more months).

We’ve seen Gates take the same approach with the building and buying of MRAP vehicles — a process he saw as too slow, getting more aerial drones into the wars — also too slow and not an Air Force priority, the larger issue of defense spending — not oriented enough to current wars, nuclear weapons stewardship, the Army’s care of its wounded veterans, and on and on. In each case, Gates has moved fast to shake-up the status quo; he gets things done.

The new task force will be run by Ashton Carter, undersecretary for acquisition, and Lieutenant General Jay Paxton, the J-3 of the Joint Staff. Gates said the new task force will coordinate closely with commanders on the ground in Afghanistan. Gates said the IED fight in Afghanistan is very different from that of Iraq

“More than 80 percent of our casualties [in Afghanistan] are coming from IEDs. It’s a very different kind of challenge than in Iraq. The terrain is different, the road system is different – both paved and unpaved and nonexistent. The composition of the IEDs is different to a considerable extent. In Iraq they were mostly – they’ve mostly based on artillery shells and so on. And in Afghanistan, we find that a lot of them – especially the bigger ones – are made from fertilizer, like ammonium nitrate, with mines as detonators. The networks are different — structured differently in Afghanistan than in Iraq. So it’s a different kind of fight that we face here.”

He asked the new task force to examine the Soviet experience battling IEDs during their war in Afghanistan in the 1980s — when the CIA under Gates was supplying weapons and know how to the Mujaheddin — for possible lessons learned to counter Taliban IEDs.

How bad did the Soviets get hammered by mines and IEDs? According to the man who has written many books on that war, Lester Grau of the Army War College, the Soviets lost 1,995 soldiers killed and 1,191 vehicles to mines in Afghanistan.

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No one will believe how much has already been spent on “anti IED” work.Pentagon office was established in 2004-05, with a retired 4 star in charge,and has spent just short of $20 billion! yes billion.They have sponsored many handheld wireless jamming devices and other high tech items to defeat or locate IEDs. With the change to Afghanistan, many of the Iraq techniques didnt work there,and that is why casaluties are
about 75% caused by IEDs.

Kind of a weird pic. What are you guys doing, vehicle recovery? Looks like your Body Armor is undone, or is that a separate vest of gear hanging off it?

Hey, hey…that’s me on the Pic…on the Korengal Valley road.

Chief Rod

IED payloads can vary a lot, and there’s already enough data on the various forms of IED’s that we can simply replicate ourselves.

Our troops should borrow the IED the Afghan troops already have and test it to our anti IED vehicles, if it works before assigning it to the battlefield.

If the Army still had C-27s, I bet they could defeat an IED !

I read a post a couple years ago about a all helicopter army for Mike Burleson from New Wars.He said that one of the current problems of Industrial Age Warfare is a greatly extended supply chain and the only weapon currently in the US arsenal, which could perform all the duties of the combined arms, while conducting its own resupply, is the helicopter and tiltrotor.He said that one weapon the chopper is invulnerable to is the IED, which has proven so troublesome to our soldiers in recent years. It can also use its unmatched mobility to bypass potential SAM sights offloading its troops into armored cars to ferry them into battle​.Me think that the tendency for the future is the replacement of motorized troops for airborne troops and light fighters(like Tucano) and CAS in the roll of tanks and artillery.Of course in terrains were the tank is not viable like Astan

Hmmmm.… I rember that tatic was tried in a place called Vienam. I think it didn’t work.

hmmm.…actually it did work what didn’t work was when an army(ARVN) equipped and trained to fight a counter insurgency capaign(which was defeated) was faced with repelling an invading heavy conventional force(NVA Motor Rifle) of course US airpower made the difference in ’72 but a certain promise was broken and thus the fall in 1975. Hopefully we can all concentrate on the current fight and not rehash what might have happened 35 years ago.

Trying to defeat low tech weapons with 20 billion dollars worth of PowerPoint slides usually does not work. Persistent surveillance can help, people on the ground can help, but loyalty of the people is what will solve the IED problem. Getting the help of the locals requires that we go into these areas and stay in the area, not cutting and running after we get a black eye. Loyalty is earned.


I agree $20 billion and mediore results is way too much money for this project. I have seen IED’s and Car bombs go off, and spent a lot of time discussing this with my electrical engineer. Jamming signals was only a good solution for remote detonations, and Al Quaeda adapts and changes tactics quickly. Warlock also has the bad side effect of jamming other communications.

We think what is required is development of smart and fast ground penetrating radar to sweep roads and fields from the air. The diffculty of course is discerning rocks, pipes, and buried junk from the real thing. The radar itself is proven. The software can be adapted and updated quickly as the threat evolves. Also as backup for the GPR infared sweeps are required to find things that stick out (recently disturbed soil or other hiding methods).

Imagine one air sweep of the road out in front of the convoy.

I was a “Tunnel Rat” in I Corp, 23rd In.Div. 11Th LIB.
It appears that the AFGN-IRAQ Theater is experiencing “Shaped Charge IED”.( ammonium nitrate) saturation.
It is more stable, meaning No premature detonations for the most part, and cheaper materials.
I’m surprised that petrol FuGas isn’t also used.
The comments re: UW/LIC Warfare are appropriate; if not we will fail just as the USSR did with mass field echelons of Cbt. Maneuver Units. (Where are the ODA’s SOCOM ?)
Remember WWII-Urban Warfare? Polish Ghettos, French Cities? Resistance? US Indian Wars?
For 400 years The Moors had an advanced Culture Society.
If a “Good Muslim” had quality of life then, Why can’t a “Good Muslim” have quality of life now?
Something for them to ask their clerics!
PSYOPS, were are you when we need you? Win The Hearts and Minds and it will get easier!
USMC did in their AO, had it better then others.
CMD has already implemented the old “Chu Hoi” program in “buying loyalty”.
Do a “Kit Carson” program while your at it!
Thank you Australia/New Zeland for being there-You had some of the best Rat’s in RVN!
Guess us “Old Guy’s” don’t know what we are talking about. _Sun Tzu 5Th Column._

Many of you ‘old guy’s’ came away with the wrong lessons after Vietnam and laid the blame on the ARVN(corruption was present but not universal) there were ‘the few’ who remained in theater post 69–70 and witnessed the dismantling of the VC only to be cut off by a war weary home-front and a US military that was facing implosion. The service of all is respected I assure you and currently all US assets are being employed in Afghanistan as we speak while headway is being made whether the general media reports it or not. Also I find Confucius more enlightening than Sun Tzu.

and yet they are not even looking at the new technologies that are offered. IIEDDO puts out RFP’s and does not even response with a determination about what the industry submitted. Foe example the BAA that the industry responded to in August has fallen on deaf ears. we have offered technologies that detect explosives from a distance, but we can not get any one to listed to us!

How can I get in touch with Gates!
In the spring of this year. 2009, I built and shipped 2 units to Khoust, Afghanistan, to my son that was stationed there. He installed one on a Husky and first trip out it detonated a tripwire IED, saving the life of the driver and serious damage to the Husky, it was estimated to be a 60 pound IED by the men in the convoy (I have a video interview with 3 of the men, including the Husky driver) stating these facts. I sent a proposal into JIEDDO on Oct. 20,2009, it is still sitting there 2 months later. This item WORKS and it costs $2,000 to save lives and JIEDDO is dragging their feet. I only hope someone can tell me how to contact Gates directly so we can start saving our men and women’s lives. This is maddening.

Yeah, I tried getting in contact with JIEDDO as well. I have all but given up. Its nigh on impossible. Just try cklicking on any of thier links, they always fail

Hi, thanks for the comments regarding the Aussies/New Zealanders.

Is it really you? I have developed a C-IED system, and would be very interested in speaking to some US servicemen regarding it, and the problems they are facing. Would appreciate it if you could respond. Regards

What did you build that saved the life of your son? The Husky is a very safe vehicle However, if you have a good way of making it safer, there are people that will listen to your idea. Gates is more of a ‘big picture’ person. You probably want to get in touch with the Army, or some contractors.

Drak– Ryan Schrader here– I just checked this site after all this time and found your post. Do you have sources I can contact? Email me at as soon as possible — Thanks


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