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AXON The Global IED Partnership

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 15.15.52Location: Australia

Website: Information can be found here

The AXON Global IED Partnership was initiated by the Australian Defence Force, partnering with Palantir Technologies, in April 2014. A trial of AXON was announced as an official Australian trial at the Convention of Certain Conventional Weapons, Amended Protocol II meeting in Geneva. AXON aims to encourage nations and jurisdictions to reduce the barriers to information sharing and includes functionality to allow basic post-event IED data sharing in a smart repository. Information to be shared focuses on event data such as date, location, and type of IED incidents.

The pilot program is designed and being project managed by the Australian Defence Force Counter IED Task Force (ADF CIEDTF). AXON Project Manager, Major Simon Patching, indicated that the intention of the program is for participating nations and entities to provide officially sanctioned data from relevant authorities who deal with IEDs. Even basic IED data such as date, location and type of IED, can be enough to provide a more meaningful picture of IED activity, without providing information which may be required to remain confidential for police investigations and judicial processes.

As of February 2015, some 12 countries and entities such as UNMAS and INTERPOL are taking part in the trial. As well as being a repository 
of IED incidents, the project interface provides participants the ability to conduct valuable data analytics. Patching emphasized the need for the CIED community to reconsider a default setting of classifying and keeping IED event data on closed systems. AXON advocates a ‘justify to classify’ approach with a view to bringing about cultural change in the community to improve collaboration between nations and jurisdictions. He spoke of the benefit of sharing information and providing as much information as possible so that countries can act appropriately on the basis of reliable data. Project participants have equal access to the data: whoever provides data then has access to all other data.

Participating countries and select CIED community entities may provide data to the AXON team which is then ingested to the repository for use by the collective. Data is provided via official channels – a key distinction from sourcing open source information about IEDs which can not be verified.

The database aims to provide state officials and select CIED community institutions (eg UNMAS) officially derived, accurate basic
 post-event data. Consideration to how NGOs (more broadly) and other organisations could 
have access to the database is being considered, but is not currently a function of the trial. Patching indicated the Project team and participants were learning constantly through undertaking this project. In particular, he mentioned the importance of bringing the international community together to create a common IED language (lexicon) which was appropriate for a multilingual and multijurisdictional environment.

Patching also discussed the importance of establishing an agreed international standard for IED event data sharing. He spoke of a general understanding with the CIED community that improved information sharing is essential to tackling the problem into the future, but said that much work needs to be done to overcome the default setting of officials to consider all IED event data protected. The AXON team is encouraged by the appetite shown by the community for such a data repository and is committed to improving data sharing between nations and jurisdictions through thought and action leadership.

This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.