Study: Pentagon's IED group mired in chaos

Aug. 13, 2007 at 5:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A new U.S. study says the Pentagon’s working group to defeat roadside bombs is “mired in organizational chaos.”

The assessment of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization was conducted by three students at the Joint Forces Staff College, and the paper was published on the college’s Web site.

The group has been given a $10 billion budget over three years to develop means to defeat roadside bombs -- called Improvised Explosive Devices in military terminology. But the study says it lacks the "agility to quickly react" to an enemy, which develops new techniques and tactics much faster than the United States can bring countermeasures to the field.

The study says the group suffers from a problem familiar "to any undergraduate business major ... the larger an organization gets, the less agile it becomes."

But the authors -- Army Lt. Col. Richard Ellis, Air Force Maj. Richard Rogers and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bryan Cochran -- also say that the group suffers not just because it is a large bureaucracy, but because “it is built around a technical solution approach focused on research and development, testing and fielding the elusive 'silver bullet' to defeat IEDs.”

By doing so, they add, the group “overly relies on technology to defeat an adaptive enemy who quickly learns how to overcome our latest (technological) countermeasures."

The focus on deploying technologies, the paper says, also mires the group in a cumbersome Defense Department acquisition process, further delaying its efforts to field countermeasures.

The study was first reported by the Web site, which said a spokesman for the IED group did not return calls asking for comment.

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