The Department of Defense announced today that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has asked retired U.S. Army Gen. Montgomery Meigs to spearhead an expanded DoD program to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices against U.S. and coalition forces.
Meigs is a former commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe and of NATOs peacekeeping force in Bosnia. He will assume the lead from Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel, current director, on Dec. 12, 2005. Votel, who has led the effort since its inception in 2003, will remain in the leadership of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Task Force (JIEDD-TF).
The challenge we face from IEDs is in part technological, but goes beyond that to encompass the manner in which our forces operate, their tactics and their procedures, said Rumsfeld. General Votel has helped focus resources and thinking on the many technological aspects of this challenge. Meigs will bring a senior commanders operational perspective to the overall IED effort, which has been ongoing since 2003. I thank him for his willingness to resume public service.
The JIEDD-TF under Meigs will expand upon existing efforts to ensure innovative solutions across ground, air, maritime and special operations domains by integrating technology and training with battlefield tactics, techniques and procedures, while leveraging outside sources for rapid acquisition of technical solutions. The task force also will provide for government-wide coordination of resources and analysis as available and appropriate.
Meigs also will lead the task force's efforts to create a center of excellence training center, intended to assist the service branches with pre-deployment IED threat training. This center, to be headquartered at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., will help ensure troops continue to have the opportunity to train on the equipment they'll use in the field prior to deployment.
The appointment of Meigs marks the latest evolution in the departments ongoing efforts to address the IED challenge. Since October 2003, the departments IED initiative has evolved from an Army organization of about 12 people to a joint task force, organized by the deputy secretary of defense, with resources in excess of $1 billion committed to training and technology priorities.