Accession Number:



Understanding the Enemy: The Enduring Value of Technical and Forensic Exploitation

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The escalation of improvised explosive device IED incidents and related casualties during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom led to a new intelligence field related to technical intelligence TECHINT called weapons technical intelligence WTI, which combined technical and forensic IED exploitation techniques to link persons, places, things, and events. WTI operationalizes technical and forensic activities by fusing the technical, forensic, and biometric disciplines to produce actionable intelligence for countering threat networks. It is an especially powerful tool against terrorist organizations that rely on IEDs as a primary weapon in their arsenals. Given the enduring nature of the IED problem, careful consideration is required to ensure that we have the necessary counter-IED capability and capacity to meet future threats across the range of military operations. Across this range and at each level of war from tactical to strategic, TECHINT and WTI make critical contributions to joint warfare and military decisionmaking. WTI development has been incremental and idiosyncratic and has led to the fielding of a number of new capabilities including Counter-IED Task Forces, Counter-IED Operations Intelligence Centers, Combined Explosives Exploitation Cells CEXCs, Expeditionary Forensic Labs EFLs formerly Joint Expeditionary Forensic Facilities, and Weapons Intelligence Teams, all of which contribute to WTI. A few capabilities have been written into doctrine or have become programs of record, such as the CEXC platoons, which deploy small footprint expeditionary laboratories for the technical exploitation of IEDs and other ordnance, and the Army EFLs, which perform expeditionary forensic exploitation of IEDs as their name implies.1 The relationships among these organizations, however, remain largely ad hoc in the maritime domain, they are untested.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Intelligence
  • Ammunition and Explosives

Distribution Statement: