First Responders Combating the IED Threat

Contributor:  Tom Lynch
Posted:  11/28/2012  12:00:00 AM EST
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Tags:   CIED | Tom Lynch | NTOA

Knowing how to react to possible threats and build a better understanding of terrorist tactics is central to protecting the United States. This interview provides insight into the approach of the nation’s first responders in weaving a safety net for civilians. Tom Lynch, Explosive/IED Section Chairman, National Tactical Officers Association, speaks about the challenges associated with mitigating the IED threat…

How does the NTOA approach these operations against an ever changing weapon?

The NTOA recognizes the evolving terrorist/criminal IED threat and the impact that multiple attacks would have on the United States first responder community.  The NTOA has been working with other organizations and agencies in helping to promote IED awareness, intelligence collection/sharing, multi-jurisdictional support and advanced technologies to help improve field level operational capabilities against potential guerilla warfare tactics using both firearms and IED’s. Collaboration between the private and public sector will play a key role in evaluating the changing IED threat awareness and help guide future training improvements in multi-discipline operational proficiency levels.

Explore the role of first responders in weaving a safety net for civilians when it comes to domestic terrorism

Protecting the lives of the public during the terrorist use of explosives requires prior coordinated planning and preparation efforts between the private and public sector.  The potential IED threat stream of suicide bombers, VBIED’s, active shooters with explosives and the use of timed and radio controlled devices presents serious scene management challenges to emergency responders.  First responder’s initial roles and responsibilities in scene management will be critical to public safety and specialized response preparations.
What is a ‘multi-layered’ front against terrorism on the domestic front?

The term “multi-layer” usually refers to an all-inclusive approach which includes multi-disciplines, multi-jurisdictions and whole community participation. This approach is emphasized in the 2011 Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Goal with the Core Capabilities Mission Areas.
If we don’t ‘hear’ about domestic terrorism in the news, does this prove our approaches are working? Do you think we always need to be re-assessing our strategies? Why?

The domestic terrorism programs in the United States have greatly improved over the years. FBI/JTTF and local law enforcement continue to intercept terrorist plots against the homeland, which shows that we still face an active threat. These thwarted incidents and the technical and tactical training materials being shared by terrorist groups on the internet point out the need to constantly reevaluate our national terrorist combating strategies.
Speak to the operational approaches to mitigating the IED threat. What challenges are hindering us effectively mitigating IED’s as a threat? Is this impassable?

There are many challenges this nation faces when it comes to the prevention, protection, mitigation and response to the terrorists use of explosives. The potential use of time sensitive VBIED’s, suicide bombers and improvised mortars/rockets are one of many tactical challenges facing the nation’s emergency responders. Many of these challenges have been identified and are currently being addressed as a result of the HSPD-19, 2007 National Strategy for Combating Terrorist use of Explosives in the States Implementation Plan and the 2008 Subcommittee on Domestic Improvised Explosive Devices, Research Challenges in Combating Terrorist Use of Explosive in the United States.  There are numerous professional organizations and R&D agencies participating in working groups making progress addressing operational gaps and proficiency challenges facing the nation’s first responders combating the IED threat.
Tom Lynch Contributor:   Tom Lynch

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