Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Improvised explosive devices are a persistent threat on the modern day battlefield. Every year, the Marine Detachment, Joint Center of Excellence, Joint IED Defeat Organization, guides a countless number of Marines and sailors, from the individual level to the regimental level, through Counter IED operations aboard the Combat Center.
In a broad sense, JIEDDO is the Department of Defense’s executive agent for CIEDs, said Craig McDonald, deputy officer in charge, JCOE, JIEDDO. The Combat Center’s Marine Detachment is the only one of its kind in the Marine Corps.
“We’re the Marine component of the Joint Center of Excellence,” McDonald said. “JCOE is the training arm of JIEDDO. When it comes to home station training, predeployment training, it’s really our job to find the best way to insert (CIED) into the training pipeline.”
Aboard the base, JIEDDO trains and facilitates the Marines preparing for Unit Deployment Programs, Marine Expeditionary Units and those deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Throughout this effort, they conform to a commander’s training agenda.
“That entails coming up with training systems and material systems to counter the IED problems,” McDonald said. “JIEDDO has put a lot of money and time into capabilities that help us attack the IED threat.”
The capabilities also include gathering training equipment and new technologies like different handheld devices, explained McDonald.
JIEDDO’s CIED training starts well before the detonation period. Intelligence can be gathered which leads to who funds, builds and places IEDs, which is an integral part of attacking the network. This evolution can take weeks or even months. During this time the pertinent information gathered by the small unit level is then recycled back to higher headquarters to further paint the picture of IED threats.
“There is a whole chain of events that goes into the IED fight prior to that IED ever making it in the ground,” McDonald said. “The number of attacks has gone up, but the number of casualties per attack has gone down. The increase in attacks is tied to an increased presence. We look at that as we’re making it harder and harder for our enemies to be successful.”
The organization works closely with the Combat Center’s tenant commands to reinforce the concept of attacking the network that drives the IED threat through intelligence gathering, defeating the device through fundamental knowledge of CIED techniques and training the force through repetitive CIED work-ups.
“Every time we find a device, every time we investigate a blast we gather a lot of information,” McDonald said. “We have an entire organization inside of JIEDDO, called Counter IED Operations and Intelligence Integration Center, that’s our intelligence cell. That information that we gather from that device feeds right back into our intelligence cycle. Through our intelligence office, we feed that intel back through the unit staff so we can paint a picture (of the enemy) which in turn helps units go outside the wire.”
In the pre-deployment training evolutions, COIC representatives work very close with and can embed with deploying units to expand upon the unit’s CIED operations.
JIEDDO works in parallel with the Marine Corps’ four block training concept. It starts with the individual Marine’s skill set, moves to the squad and platoon size element, the company and battalion sized element and the regimental size element.
In block two, squad and platoon size elements are reinforced with training like route clearance patrol organization and squad and platoon size immediate action drills. These types of preparation help ensure IEDs remain less of a danger on the battlefield.
“Then you have block three, company and battalion level skills,” McDonald said. “As you get up to the company level you have more resources, more information flow that can help small units during patrols and other missions.”
JIEDDO also facilitates training of higher level commands, like the regiment, to employ their higher echelon resources to create a better picture for the Marines in the fight. JIEDDO continues to ensure CIED events are appropriately represented during larger exercises such as Unified Endeavor, Large Scale Exercise and other service and combatant commander events.
“The rubber meets the road where the IED fight is at, the small unit level,” McDonald said. “We want to give the Marines those individual skills to recognize an IED, to understand where they might find it and to be vigilante. However we cannot fail to recognize the contributions and the capabilities of the higher headquarters in shaping the battlefield and supporting their subordinate units.”
For any CIED related training questions or information on JIEDDO, contact Dave Patterson at 830-3620.