IEDs have become one of the most effective weapons available for terrorists and insurgents. In addition to the human cost, millions of dollars in expensive equipment has been destroyed.
As a means of attempting to neutralize the continuous threat, some security units are deploying IED detection equipment. This equipment has become increasingly sophisticated, but the gold standard by which the equipment is measured remains the same: How does this machine compare to the performance capability of a military-trained dog?
That’s a question worth asking. It’s a fact that the most successful IED detection programs still incorporate military dogs specially trained in the British Arms and Explosives Search Dog System (AESD).
The success rate of equipment depends on whether or not every component of the machine is functioning properly. That’s not always a given in harsh environments. A $20 million piece of equipment can be rendered useless in the field by one malfunctioning component.
The Importance of Ongoing Training Program Support
An effective AESD Unit requires ongoing support. In addition to securing dogs suited to AESD styled work, proper training methods and Standard Operating Procedures must be developed to efficiently locate roadside IEDs, search booby-trapped buildings or detect landmines. Such programs need to be continuously improved and upgraded in order to keep up with the ever-changing strategies of today’s terrorists. Without such improvements, the effectiveness of an AESD program can be greatly diminished.
It’s important to remember that those who are involved in terror have all the time they need – time to watch and observe the activities of our soldiers, time to watch our soldiers work, time to see what tools and combat vehicles are being used and time to develop IEDs to fit the size of the intended targets. To counter that threat, you need to allocate sufficient AESD training time.
Each piece of detection equipment typically detects one or two components of an IED.
Equipment often needs to be transported, making it more difficult to use in rugged terrain. In many situations such equipment must be transported by personnel, adding to the weight an individual is required to carry, or can only be conveyed by a vehicle.
Sometimes the right equipment can take a day or more to arrive, putting substantial pressure on the mission. Often there just isn’t time to wait.
IED detection equipment is very expensive.
The bottom line: You can save more equipment and lives with DDSI training programs than you can with IED detection equipment.