Revamped agency, JIDA works to take down new improvised threats

The Department of Defense launched its revamped anti -improvised explosive device agency with a new name and broader mission capacity.

JIDA — the Joint Improvised Threat-Defeat Agency — monitors new trends in IED development, weapons, tactics and techniques used by enemy combatants and stops them before they can do damageBentz, Julie

JIDA is an expansion of the Joint IED Defeat Organization established in 2006. Its main focus was combating threats to troops from roadside bombs.

Now with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the reorganization of the agency comes from an effort to see how it can fit and function in the Pentagon’s future.

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“The success of [JIEDDO] was such that they realized there should be an enduring capability. They made us a support combat agency,” said Maj. Gen. Julie Bentz in an interview on  Federal Drive with Tom Temin, “We are still incredibly relevant in a constrained budget environment, because we’re utilizing and leveraging a community of action.”

The revamped agency has reduced both its budget and manpower significantly since the height of the wars by about 85 percent and 60 percent, respectively. Still, plenty of work remains to be done when it comes to taking down bomb-maker networks before new technologies become commonplace on the battlefield.

“At first, we were all about the device,”  Bentz said, “How do we defeat it? How do we mitigate it? In learning that it’s not simply about the device, but rather about the networks that facilitate all of the various pieces that culminate in a device, we have to focus on the network. It that way, we can stay at pace with the improvised threats”

Bentz said improvised threats are any available assets that counter the military’s technical over match, and can range anywhere from water-born IEDs to tunnel bombs.

“It’s going to be an abundantly cheap, easily transformed technology that’s effective by the use of available and expendable manpower that makes it lethal,” said Bentz.

She added that making sure troops are able to adapt quickly is a major priority for JIDA as a newly focused agency.

“We’ve realized that these enemy networks that we face today are agile,” Bentz said. “They’re adaptive organizations, and we have to be just as adaptive and collaborative and innovative in our response.”

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