Friday, June 8, 2007

IDA's 21st-Century Irregular Warfare Planning and Experimentation Studies

The Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA]’s Studies and Analyses Center has been conducting weapons research studies for the Bush Administration’s war in Iraq and Afghanistan in the area of irregular warfare planning and experimentation during this 21st-century “era of permanent war and blogging.” As IDA’s web site ( notes:

“Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have produced most of the recent battle casualties among U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq… In 2005, the Joint IED-Defeat Task Force asked IDA to review existing DoD organizations and processes established to defeat the IED threat and to identify opportunities for improvement.

“IDA formed a team of more than 30 researchers from six research divisions, including the military component of IDA’s Joint Advanced Warfighting Program (JAWP). The study’s main source of information was the IED-Defeat community itself – from soldiers and Marines in the field to home-based organizations supporting their efforts.

“The team formed task groups that focused on functional dimensions of the IED challenge. JAWP’s senior military officer led a team of military and civilian analysts in Iraq for five weeks that collected warfighters’ perspectives throughout the region, ranging from headquarters to combat patrols. A complementary effort in the United States visited training installations and gathered insights from recently returned veterans. Other teams addressed the following: the adequacy of IED training programs; the intelligence community’s support to the warfighter; the process for identifying, developing, and rapidly fielding new counter-IED technologies; the process for developing and disseminating new IED-defeat tactics; the process for tracking and analyzing operational performance in order to gauge progress and determine the effectiveness of tactics or technologies; and DoD’s capacity to integrate these elements into a coordinated and responsive program.

“In each area, teams made recommendations, which DoD is considering as it refines its approach to defeating the IED threat.”

University of South Carolina President Emeritus John Palms is the Chairperson of the IDA board of trustees. MIT Institute Professor Sheila Widnall, MIT and Harvard University Broad Institute Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Programs Director Jill Mesirov, Harvard University JFK School of Government Lecturer in Public Policy John White and University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs Professor Edwin Dorn also sit on the IDA board of trustees these days.

Next: Columbia University’s DARPA War Research

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