The European Defence Agency (EDA) is unique in that it brings together each aspect of the defence process to “allow the Agency to serve the needs, expectations and interests of Member States effectively and efficiently.” It brings together processes from cooperation planning, capabilities, research and technology, disarmaments cooperation, industry and market, and wider European policies. There are 27 participating Member States in the EDA.
The EDA counter-IED programme was established in 2009, after an international doctrine identifying six key C-IED operational areas was accepted:
From these areas, eight key C-IED capabilities were published:
- Military search
- IED exploitation
- Route clearance
- Tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP)
- IED disposal
- Counter radio-controlled IED electronic warfare
In order to identify a potential research and technology programme, a five-stage process was initiated. This included scientific studies into state of the art detection techniques, a workshop, engineering analysis, and industry briefings. In 2010 a workshop was run in Sweden, which has now been continued by the NATO C-IED Centre of Excellence in Madrid, Spain, becoming an annual event.
Various countries take a lead on different aspects of C-IED in the EDA. Route Clearance, for example, is under an Italian lead. A process of concept development and evaluation is in progress under the route clearance aspect, with the EDA examining the next generation of route clearance capabilities.
An important aspect of the C-IED work being undertaken by EDA is technical exploitation. The Agency is recording and analysing information related to events, scenes, technical components, and materials used in an IED attack. The objective of this work is to gather technical and tactical data about each attack, while simultaneously identifying the supply chain of IEDs to use in intelligence on those involved in IED production and use. As well as providing crucial information regarding the supply chain, this information helps bomb disposal experts to more fully understand the IED threat. In 2012, the EDA dispatched a counter-IED laboratory to join the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, which both helped with efforts in the ground and collected useful data for international C-IED efforts.
A related development is JDEAL, the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory. This was begun in May 2013 under a Dutch lead, with the aim of establishing a permanent IED exploitation training facility in the Netherlands. JDEAL was established after the completion of the mission in Afghanistan, with equipment and experience gained in country being used to form the training facility. Using knowledge gained in wartime is a crucial component in C-IED efforts, as is ensuring that such information is made available to the bomb disposal community as a whole, including military and civil.
The EDA has recognised the importance of sharing information between actors, organising events jointly with Europol. These events have brought together experts from as many as 16 different countries. They take part in realistic training scenarios, involving homemade explosives based on real life situations. This enables participants sharing best practices and improving skills. Countries who are not member states of the EDA have shown interest in these events, with the US sending experts from the FBI and the US Department of Justice.
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.
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