Overseas Civilian Contractors

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IED Casualties Up Despite Increased Vigilance

Military’s outgoing head of IED-combating task force says insurgents will continue to use the cheap, deadly weapons.

Yochi J. Dreazen at National Journal

Shortly after taking command of the military’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization more than 14 months ago, Lt. Gen. Michael Oates and several of his top aides went to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington to visit troops who had been wounded by the makeshift bombs, the insurgent weapon of choice in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

As Oates and his staff made their way through the sprawling hospital, the mother of a soldier who had just lost a leg to an IED asked Oates what he did in the military. Oates responded that he was in charge of the military task force charged with reducing the number and effectiveness of the roadside bombs.

“And she said, ‘Well, you failed with my son,'” Oates recalled during a conversation with a small group of reporters on Wednesday.

For Oates, the encounter was a vivid illustration of the military’s halting progress against IEDs, the primary cause of American casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The general believes he and his team have significantly improved the military’s ability to dismantle insurgent bomb-making networks and find specific IEDs before they can be set off. But as he prepares to relinquish command this Friday, Oates acknowledged that the IED fight is far from won. Please read the entire article here

March 3, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices, Iraq | , , ,

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