IEDs and Counter IED Task Force

IEDs and Counter IED Task Force

Government sources


Counter Improvised Explosive Device Task Force (C-IED TF), Force Elements Currently Deployed as part of JTF633, Australian Operations in Afghanistan Fact Sheet, Department of Defence  [accessed 14 August 2010]

In February 2006 the Chief of Defence Force directed the establishment of a dedicated Joint Task Force to coordinate and monitor the ADF’s response to the IED threat – the ADF Counter Improvised Explosive device Task Force (C-IED TF). The ADF’s approach to combating the IED threat is heavily reliant on robust and adaptable tactics, techniques and procedures (TPPs), coupled with the  provision of world standard technology. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), performs a critical role in this area. The C-IED TF has strong links to our Coalition partners and has personnel deployed to support operations in Afghanistan as well as the United States at the Joint IED Defeat Organisation. A key component of the C-IED TF is the Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT) that analyse IED components used by insurgents in order for the ADF to determine the best methods of countering the IED threat

Army: Diggers and Afghans battle cold and insurgents together, Captain Al Green, Defence Magazine, Issue 5, 2007/2008.

A small number of ADF personnel are employed with the Coalition Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Task Force, designated TF Troy. TF Troy coordinates Coalition C-IED efforts focused on intelligence collection, material solutions and training for coalition forces throughout Iraq. ADF personnel serving with TF Troy also provide information that assists the Australian Counter IED Task Force that is based in Canberra.

Ed. note: US military sources relate TF Troy to Iraq IED activities, and Task Force Paladin to Afghanistan activities (see below).

IED Briefing, Lieutenant Colonel Russell Maddalena, Counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Task Force, Defence Media, 2007-05-10 [Audio]

IED Briefing, Russell Maddalena, ADF Operations Update, 10 May 2007

“My brief this morning will discuss the improvised explosive device and the ADF’s response to this threat. IEDs, or roadside bombs as they are widely known, have become the insurgent’s weapon of choice, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, where they are being used in unprecedented numbers against the coalition forces, Iraqi and Afghani security forces and the local population. To put it into the military context, IEDs are responsible for up to 70 percent of coalition casualties every month in these countries.

“IEDs, as the name suggest, are improvised devices that consist of five main components. That is firstly, a container, something that holds it all together, a power source, a battery, a switch or circuit to initiate the device, a detonator and finally, the explosive charge. The combination of these five components and the effect caused by the IED is really dependent on the ingenuity of the bomb maker and of the components that they have available to them.

“In February last year the Chief of Defence Force, in recognition of the growing threat posed by IEDs to Australian Forces in the Middle East directed the establishment of a dedicated joint taskforce to counter the threat, and that is to monitor and coordinate the ADF response to this threat. The taskforce is headed by a Brigadier and is staffed by specialists from the Army, Navy and Air Force; the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. We in the taskforce have very strong links to our coalition partners and have personnel deployed supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as in the US at the Joint IED Defeat Organisation.”

United States

Afghan Buildup Includes Billions to Fight Bombs, Thom Shanker, New York Times, 2009-02-15

As part of its buildup in Afghanistan, the Pentagon plans to deploy billions of dollars in heavily armored vehicles, spy planes, jammers and even experimental ground-penetrating radars to defend troops from roadside bombs that are proving increasingly lethal.

Counter-IED Conference Works To Defeat Enemy’s Favorite Weapon, Phil Manson, First U.S. Army in the News, 1 November 2006.

The Joint IED-Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) works with various national laboratories, the Department of Energy, contractors and academia to create and field countermeasures to IEDs. It also receives daily situation reports from two task forces (TF) located in theater – TF Paladin in Afghanistan and TF Troy in Iraq – that provide up-to-the-minute data about the evolving IED threat faced by the troops on the ground.


Iraq experience helps stem the growth of evil flowers in Afghanistan, Patrick Walters, Australian, 2009-08-02

The past month has been by far the bloodiest for the US-led coalition in the eight-year war in Afghanistan. A great deal has been learned from Iraq, particularly in defeating IED’s triggered by radio signals or other methods using the electro-magnetic spectrum. From the explosive ordnance expert on the ground using mini-robots to detect hidden devices to vehicles built to withstand roadside bombs and manned aerial vehicles able to conduct 24-hour surveillance using infra-red cameras, the IED threat has spawned remarkably swift and innovative counter-measures.

US predicts 50 percent spike in Afghan IEDs, Jason Straziuso, Associated Press, 16 May 2009

The U.S. military expects a 50 percent spike this year in roadside and suicide bombings, which surpassed the number of similar strikes in Iraq during the spring. These types of bombs killed 172 coalition forces last year — and far more Afghan civilians — according to military figures.


Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) / Booby Traps,

Comprehensive article with good subsidiary articles and links.

Improvised Explosive Device, Wikipedia

Wide-ranging article with material on IED use in various conflicts.



US Military Equipment in Afghanistan
, Wilkileaks

Half of all equipment purchases have been diverted to dealing with home made mobile phone and radio bombs. Not since the US 1945-1951 nuclear build up has there been such a decisive shift in military purchasing priorities. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, or JIEDDO was predicted last year to have spent $13 billion, across all theaters, on detectors and robots to defuse bombs, improvements to vehicle armor, training and other means to counter homemade weapons.

The leaked document shows US forces in Afghanistan hold at least 2,769 “Warlock” radio frequency jammers ($415 million), which prevent radio signals from triggering explosives. Dealing with IEDs is by far the largest US army equipment expense, accounting for around half of the total equipment outlay. If we view IEDs as a rebel investment, to which the US must pay dividends in defensive equipment costs, then every insurgent dollar spent has a return on investment of somewhere around thousand fold. Significant price gouging by counter-IED defense contractors is evident.


Left of Boom:  The Struggle to Defeat Roadside Bombs, Washington Post, Spring 2005 – Summer 2006.

Major series of articles, videos, and graphics on IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Racing to Defeat the Roadside Bomb, Renae Merle and Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post, 3 July 2007.

Yesterday, the Pentagon said it had given the Army the go-ahead to purchase as many as 17,700 MRAPs [mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles] — more than three times the Army’s earlier authorization — through the end of next year.”

“The obvious appeal of the MRAP stems from its design. Though more than a half-dozen companies are producing test versions that differ in some regards, they all share two main features: a raised chassis and V-shaped hull meant to deflect the impact of roadside bombs — the biggest killer of U.S. troops in Iraq. Yet the MRAP is not invincible. Some have been destroyed by roadside bombs — including the latest threat on Iraqi roads, explosively formed projectiles — and U.S. troops have died in them. The Marine Corps says it has not lost anyone in an MRAP, but some Army soldiers have been killed in MRAP vehicles known as RG-31s that were hit by roadside bombs, according to Pentagon casualty reports. Military officials would not give detailed statistics.” 

Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO): Tactical Successes Mired in Organizational Chaos; Roadblock in the Counter-IED Fight, LTC Richard F. Ellis, USA, Maj Richard D. Rogers, USAF, LCDR Bryan M. Cochran, USN, Joint Forces Staff College, Joint and Combined Warfighting School, 13 March 2007.

Iraq: The Social Context of IEDs, Montgomery McFate, Military Review 85, no. 3, May-June 2005.

“A shift in focus from IED technology to IED makers requires examining the social environment in which bombs are invented, manufactured, distributed, and used. Focusing on the bombmaker requires understanding the four elements that make IED use possible in Iraq: knowledge, organization, material, and the surrounding population.”

IED casualties

icasualties: OIF Deaths by IED, Iraq Coalition Casualty Count

Australian IED deaths – Iraq

Jon Hadaway, contractor, Iraq,  13 August 2006

Wayne Schultz, contractor, Iraq, 8 June 2006, Iraq

Australian IED deaths – Afghanistan

See Casualties – ADF, Australia in Afghanistan.

Project coordinator: Richard Tanter
Updated: 14 August 2010