ISSN 2050-6732 (Print) ISSN 2050-6740 (Online)
Counter-IED Report Autumn 2019
CONNECTING THE DOTS: THE PACE OF IED CLEARANCE SEEN AS KEY FACTOR TO SAFE RETURN OF 1.67 MILLION DISPLACED IRAQIS STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENTS, A FORMULA FOR SUCCESS “NATO WHITE-COATS”, DREAMS OF AN ALLIED-JOINT THEATRE EXPLOITATION CAPABILITY MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF PERSON-BORNE IED CANINES DOGS-K9 STANDARDS & INTEGRATION WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXPLOSIVES SEARCH & TECHNOLOGIES SMART BFAS AND TIME CONTROLLED IGNITION PULWAMA IED ATTACK – A GAME CHANGER BACKUP RC SYSTEM SUICIDE BOMBER’S PBIED, SYRIA C-IED IN NATO ARTICLE-5 OPERATIONS: OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE?
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ISSN 2050-6732 (Print) ISSN 2050-6740 (Online)
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CONNECTING THE DOTS
By Dr Mark Wilkinson Ph.D., UNMAS (Iraq) Explosive Hazard Management Team Leader
STRATEGIC ENGAGEMENTS, A FORMULA FOR SUCCESS By Michael Solis, a former Deputy Director of the Africa C-IED Fusion Center at U.S. Africa Command, currently a Resident Program Manager in Kenya, working for the U.S. Department of State
THE PACE OF IED CLEARANCE SEEN AS KEY FACTOR TO SAFE RETURN OF 1.67 MILLION DISPLACED IRAQIS
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“NATO WHITE-COATS”, DREAMS OF AN ALLIED-JOINT THEATRE EXPLOITATION CAPABILITY By Lieutenant Colonel Jose M Rufas, Chief of Attack the Networks Branch, C-IED Centre of Excellence
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C-IED IN NATO ARTICLE-5 OPERATIONS: OLD WINE IN A NEW BOTTLE? By Lieutenant Colonel Jose M Rufas, Chief of Attack the Networks Branch, C-IED Centre of Excellence
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FOREWORD By Rob Hyde-Bales, Consulting Editor, Counter-IED Report
s we approach the end of 2019 it would appear there is some hope that the long running US war in Afghanistan may finally be reaching a conclusion after more than 18 years. It is a war in which the Improvised Explosive Device has been a defining lethal component throughout. Such hope is, however, predicated on the successful outcome of talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban. A current issue with the talks is that the Taliban are demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan as a condition of an agreement. The US does not yet seem ready to commit to this. Continuing Taliban and ISIS attacks across Afghanistan, usually utilising IEDs, further complicate the situation. The conflict has continued relentlessly throughout the summer. On 17 August ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a wedding in Kabul that killed more than 60 guests and injured at least 180. Such ISIS involvement demonstrates the growing international terrorist nature of the conflict. In July this year President Trump described Afghanistan as the “Harvard University of terrorism”. The fact is that the Taliban currently controls more of Afghanistan than it has at any time since being toppled from power in 2001. This conflict is the longest running war in which the US and other allied nations have participated and the overall statistics as outlined in a UK BBC report of 29 August 2019 make for very sombre reading. In 2011 the US military presence in Afghanistan peaked at some 110,000 troops and since the beginning of the conflict in 2001 they have suffered some 2,300
killed in action and more than 25,000 wounded. The UK armed forces’ death toll was some 450 killed in action and more than 600 seriously injured. For the Afghan security forces President Ghani has stated that they have suffered an estimated 45,000 killed since he assumed power in 2014. In all such conflicts it is invariably the civilian population who suffers the most and the UN estimates that some 32,000 civilians have died and more than 60,000 have been seriously injured as a result of the war since they began to record these statistics in 2009. The financial costs are stratospheric and a recent study in the US estimates that the overall costs to the US alone for this conflict approach one trillion US dollars. The overall costs to Afghanistan are incalculable. After the war there is no doubt that Afghanistan will continue to need substantial international support to redevelop its ravaged economy and infrastructure and a key element in the process will be the clearance of land mines, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). However, it is not only Afghanistan that requires support in such clearance operations. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali and Nigeria, together with other nations all require similar support. In terms of these clearance operations such external support may come from the UN, foreign military forces, NGOs or commercial companies. Each of these organisations has particular strengths and skills for differing situations. An article in this edition describes the very successful joint US-UK military partnership in the Counter-IED effort in Africa. counteriedreport.com
In his highly topical article Dr Mark Wilkinson of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) Iraq highlights the immense scale of the challenge to clear an area roughly one third the size of the UK of explosive hazards (EH). Such clearance is a critical factor to the return of more than 1.67 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) together with the economic and infrastructure regeneration of this war-ravaged nation. An ingenious approach to addressing this daunting problem devised by UNMAS Iraq is the development of Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) focused on humanitarian EH clearance – primarily in residential areas. These RRTs normally comprise four team members, predominantly former Iraqi military personnel with previous requisite experience. They are configured to deploy anywhere in country with 24 hours’ notice and to remain in situ for 48 hours, specialising in spot tasks and highrisk search and disposal to international UN IEDD standards. To date this has proved to be a highly successful concept which utilises Iraqi rather than foreign staff, thus increasing national ownership of clearance operations with an associated reduction in the financial costs and higher maintenance needs of international organisations. The success of the RRT concept, both to date and in the future is a key component in the normalisation of life in post war Iraq and serves as a model for other nations facing similar problems. Michael Solis, Counter-IED Deputy Branch Chief in US Africa Command in his most informative paper examines the importance of Strategic Engagements in the Counter-IED Campaign. He describes the Third Annual Africa C-IED Working Group held in Nairobi, Kenya in July of this year. For this event US Africa Command partnered with the UK Government and it was held for the first time at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi. It brought together over 100 delegates from some 26 nations with key representation from UN New York and UNMAS staffs from Libya, Mali, Somalia, and the African Union together with the Kenyan National Counter Terrorism Command. The key component of this event was the introduction of the new UN IEDD 14 COUNTER-IED REPORT, Autumn 2019
Standards based curriculum for Troop Contributing Nations to international missions. Throughout the event delegates were encouraged to consider the strategic environment and factors behind the continuing unrestricted use of IEDs rather than just concentrating on the effects and consequences of these weapons. Subject matter and briefings’ content were preceded by threat briefs or incident reports to set the scene against the wider strategic context. The presence of senior delegates from Kenya, the US and the UK together with maximum media coverage greatly assisted in broadcasting the message of Counter-IED coherence across a broad community of African partners, and to the wider international audience. Jim Vernon – chairman and founder member of the UK based Drugs and Explosives Search Association – provides a most comprehensive article on the background and current situation pertaining to the use of search dogs in the global campaign against international crime and terrorism. He is ideally placed in this respect having been trained in military search techniques by the UK Royal Engineers in the early days of the long running conflict in Northern Ireland. He chronicles past and current failings in the K9 CT search industry, both in terms of improper search procedures by global security companies and individual snake oil salesmen peddling pieces of worthless junk as bespoke explosives detectors. He points out that the genesis for current UK multi agency search procedures was the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton and the lethal destruction it caused during the 1984 Conservative Party Conference – almost assassinating the UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He highlights the critical requirements to improve the current situation. These include effective training of the search dogs, and more importantly the dog handlers. As with the demining sector and the fully accredited International Mine Action Standards, there is an urgent need for similar standards in the K9 CT search industry. Fortunately, he is currently assisting in the production of such standards. He is an ideal champion to carry forward much needed improvements to K9 search TTPs.
Donald Roberts of the US DHS Science and Technology Directorate contributes a highly relevant article, given the global security situation today, on the effectiveness of canines in the campaign against the Person Borne IED (PBIED). This has proved to be a devastating weapon for criminals, insurgents and terrorists as is demonstrated by current attacks in Afghanistan and other conflicts and recently in both the US and Europe. They are particularly lethal in attacks against soft targets – crowds and mass transit systems for example. The stand- off ability to identify and detect a PBIED is arguably the Holy Grail of explosives detection. He explains that canines are one of the best and most versatile mobile explosives detection tools in the quest to protect potential terrorist PBIED targets. He describes the S and T training regime – operational readiness tests and real time scenarios conducted in the canine’s working environment. This initiative started with a partnership between S and T and the University of Maryland Police Department. This has proved to be a most successful partnership and the UMPD Police Chief states, “PBIED canines are some of the best technology available today”. S and T is also working now with NATO, the US Pentagon and DHS to identify further possibilities for this invaluable tool against the PBIED – the highly mobile, effectively trained and versatile PBIED canine. Lt Col Jose M Rufas of the NATO Counter-IED Centre in Madrid compellingly illustrates what he perceives to be the requirement for NATO to possess a deployable Joint Theatre Technical Exploitation Capability. He describes the current situation in this respect and the three levels of Technical Exploitation – Level 1 Field Exploitation, Level 2 Theatre Exploitation and Level 3 Out of Theatre Exploitation. He opines the requirement for NATO for a Level 2 Theatre Exploitation deployable capability which should be adaptive, modular, scalable and flexible. He describes the technical exploitation capabilities of the European Defence Agency, Australia, Canada, France, Sweden and the United States. He examines the various capabilities that he deems necessary for effective technical exploitation at the basic,
intermediate and advanced levels and he does this in terms of support to Counter-IED operations. He further illustrates using chemical exploitation as an example, how this capability can be divided into sub-capabilities at the basic, intermediate and advanced levels. He concludes by suggesting that a future NATO technical exploitation project must be capability based on interoperable sub – capability blocks for a synergic and flexible solution. ■
Rob Hyde-Bales biography During his career in the UK Royal Engineers, Rob Hyde-Bales was responsible for landmine clearance in Libya and, more latterly, Afghanistan in the running of the first United Nations humanitarian landmine clearance training programme – Operation Salam. The programme trained Afghan male refugees in landmine clearance techniques, and Afghan women and children in mine awareness and avoidance training. More recently he set up the Caribbean Search Centre in Kingston, Jamaica. The Centre is designed to train security forces across the Caribbean in modern search techniques. After retiring from the army he joined Cranfield University at Shrivenham, near Oxford, and undertook a research project on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence that examined ways to improve the sharing of IED threat information between the military and civilian organisations in hazardous areas. counteriedreport.com
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Counter-IED Report is a leading international subscription-based publication, which covers the latest developments in the fight against the...
Published on Oct 25, 2019
Counter-IED Report is a leading international subscription-based publication, which covers the latest developments in the fight against the...