On 25 October, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq participated in the opening ceremony of the IAWS 2016 workshop organized by the Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE) at the Guardia Civil Officers Academy in Aranjuez/Madrid, Spain. At this occasion, he stressed the important work done so far by the EDA on C-IED and called for increased cooperation between institutions and stakeholders on this crucial issue.
The European Defence Agency is involved in countering IED since the very beginning because C-IEDs has been one of the Capability Development Plan (CDP) priorities almost since the launch of the EDA CDP process itself, Mr Domecq recalled in his speech.
In 2010, the Agency invested one million euros to establish a Counter IED exploitation deployable laboratory. That initiative grew into the Multinational Technical Exploitation Laboratory - or MNTEL - which was successfully deployed to Afghanistan from 2011 to July 2014. MNTEL subsequently led to the establishment of the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory (JDEAL) – a capability which presents a real opportunity to tackle technical exploitation in general, and exploitation of Improvised Explosive Devices in particular.
“The pressing operational need to Counter IEDs has been a major driver for these developments. EDA’s projects have aimed to generate exploitation capabilities that directly improve the understanding, identification and exposure of threat networks. And they were successful”, Mr Domecq stressed. In August 2016, a full exploitation deployable capability was deployed to the multinational exercise ‘Bison Counter 2016’.
Cooperation is key
To be even more effective in the future, stakeholders have to cooperate and share their knowledge and expertise, Mr Domecq insisted. “We, at the EDA, demonstrated our openness to cooperation very clearly when we signed a successful and productive Cooperation Framework Agreement with the Centre of Excellence C-IED in Madrid. C-IED demands a strong Interagency approach, as do exploitation issues. This agreement has definitely paved the way for others to come. Just opening new lines of action and cooperating with stakeholders enables Institutions to work better and faster together, and of course to broaden the scope for further opportunities”.
The EDA Chief Executive added: “We are strong proponents of developing exploitation capabilities and so is NATO. At the end of the day, Member States and Allies each have one set of forces to deploy and protect, be it for national or EU or NATO or UN engagements. Hence we will continue our close staff-to-staff discussion on what we are currently doing on exploitation and our future intentions. Sharing in certain domains - such as the recent NATO C-IED Task Force meeting - is of enormous benefit to our on-going activities, and also helps avoid duplication of effort”.
“Exploitation disciplines should no longer be a national secret. Proficiency in this domain needs to be improved, shared and deployed by organizations and nations – to fail to do so leaves the door open for those who wish to do us harm. In this respect EDA is delivering capabilities and providing options to strengthen cooperation between MS as well as between all relevant stakeholders. Exchange of experts and training capabilities must underpin the fight against insurgent networks and hybrid hazards and this event provides the best avenue to do so”, he concluded.
The IAWS2016 is a 3-day event to discuss about the current situation and the future initiatives on the use of exploitation as an essential tool to counter threat networks that employ or facilitate IEDs.
The general objective for the IAWS 2016 is to promote and enhance interagency cooperation among military, law enforcement and civil organizations and agencies, at both national and international levels, in order to better counter the threat networks that facilitate and employ IEDs.
The IAWS 2016 addresses the current IED threat situation, with a special focus on sensitive areas for NATO and its partners. Exploitation will also be tackled, from a twofold point of view: currently existing exploitation capabilities in the military as well as in the law enforcement, and exploitation-related, capacity-building initiatives in partner countries and possible ways ahead and standards.