High-level command to counter roadside bombs

The Defense Department has established a high-level command to counter the threat to U.S. soldiers from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Called the Joint IED Defeat Organization, the organization has a center of excellence located at the Army National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.

The new command will be led by retired Army Gen. Montgomery Meigs, former commander of Army forces in Europe and NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. Meigs was appointed to lead the new task force in December 2005.

DOD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Meigs will bring a senior commander’s operational perspective to the overall IED effort.

"The challenge we face from IEDs is part technological but goes beyond that to encompass the manner in which our forces operate, their tactics and procedures," Rumsfeld said. IEDs have been the major cause of U.S. casualties in Iraq.

DOD said the new IED organization will take lessons learned in Iraq to develop strategies to defeat the deadly weapons. The Fort Irwin center of excellence will test new IED equipment and concepts and train troops in counter-IED tactics and technologies.

The new IED Defeat Organization will set up satellite centers at each of the other services’ major training installations.

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