The cost of defeating IEDs


Smoke and dust rises after an improvised explosive device explodes in front of a convoy. (Photo by Sgt. Sean Kimmons)

Global spending on counter-IED systems hit $7.7 billion in 2009, according to this report.

But that amount is expected to decline. U.S. spending is expected to hit a decade-low by 2020, according to the report. This is due to a number of reasons. First, many projects will have been completed. Also, full withdrawal of 50,000 remaining troops in Iraq is expected by the end of 2011, and withdrawal from Afghanistan is also scheduled to start next year. And budget constraints always play a role.

If the use of IEDs remained a constant, that might be true. But there is a reason they are called “improvised.” And the ever-evolving nature of IEDs – and the subsequent success – certainly suggests continued efforts for counter-IED will be needed.

Current data shows there is much to be done. The devices remain the primary threat to soldiers in Afghanistan. They are responsible for 59 percent of coalition combat deaths so far this year, according to More than 1,300 IEDs were detonated or defused in July, which was a 42 percent increase over July 2009, according to the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization. The attacks killed 53 troops.

Granted, the Army doesn’t need 30 different MRAPs. But it does need to remain proactive and reactive in this fight.


About Author

A Navy brat who spent eight years in the Marines (two years aboard the carrier Independence). Worked in journalism in Eastern North Carolina through the latter part of the 90s, then became editor of Air Force Times in 2000. Stayed there five years, then took a break to finish some school. Now back in the game with Navy Times.

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