Accession Number:



Getting it Right: The Endurance of Improvised Explosive Device Education in the US Army

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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As the United States seeks to maintain its influence abroad, hostile nations and non-state actors will attempt to leverage the low-cost effectiveness of improvised explosive devices IEDs to disrupt US military operations. These cheap devices, made from relatively easily acquired components, will enable the continued use of the IED on the modern battlefield. While the US spent billions of dollars to counter this seemingly new IED threat, the devices used in Iraq and Afghanistan were similar in nature and effect to the booby traps used in Vietnam. The Armys failure to retain the institutional knowledge gained from its experiences with booby traps in Vietnam resulted in an initial inability to provide support for the detection and clearance of these devices and targeting of assemblyemplacement networks. Instead, the Army rushed the force management process, specifically within the Engineer Regiment, to refocus its efforts, regrow the skillset, and organize to meet the threat. While the major Global War on Terrorism GWOT conflicts close, other powers seek to counter United States dominance with methods that do not involve major combat operations. The use of cheap and easily acquired parts for IEDs will support their continued use. Therefore, a key to success in future conflicts is retaining and institutionalizing the knowledge gained through recent experiences while understanding the evolution of threats.

Subject Categories:

  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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