Counter-IED system procurement sets new standards for speedy deployment

Leaders of the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) are setting new standards for speedy weapon system procurement, as they sometimes are able to consider and fund systems to counter roadside bombs within two months from initial proposal.

By John Keller

SAN DIEGO—Leaders of the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) are setting new standards for speedy weapon system procurement, as they sometimes are able to consider and fund systems to counter roadside bombs within two months from initial proposal.

Their work apparently has paid off, as today it takes about 10 IEDs to produce one casualty among U.S. service personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, while only a few years ago the ratio was more like one IED per U.S. casualty, says Dr. Robin Keesee, the JIEDDO deputy director. IED stands for improvised explosive device.

Keesee made his comments last month in an address at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum conference and trade show in San Diego, sponsored by Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine.

Despite the JIEDDO’s success at helping to reduce U.S. military casualties from IEDs, “this is no comfort to families who have lost people, and we appreciate that,” Keesee says. The JIEDDO has a program in place where industry proposals for counter-IED systems go before a selection board once every week. Traditional U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) procurement cycles are much longer, he says.

During federal fiscal years 2006 and 2007, the JIEDDO received 1,335 proposals for counter-IED systems, funded 349 of those systems, and of those 12 have become institutional military programs, Keesee says. During that period 17 major counter-IED initiatives took shape at JIEDDO, each worth more than $25 million.

One thermal-imaging program designed to enhance detection of IEDs, for example, took only about six weeks to deploy, he says.

If companies have ideas about counter-IED systems and technology, they should contact the JIEDDO online at www.jieddo.dod.mil, by e-mail at iedtaskforce@jieddo.dod.mil, or by telephone at 877-251-3337.

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