IED dogs of war

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

porters, not­ing that the in­frared sen­sors are “the back­bone of the im­por­tant mis­sion that we do, that our nation needs to pro­vide that early warn­ing of hos­tile mis­sile in­tent and threats around the world for our nation and our al­lies.”

Gen. Teague said GEO-1 is “so much more sen­si­tive” than other satel­lites used for mis­sile warn­ing, in­clud­ing the De­fense Sup­port Pro­gram con­stel­la­tion of ning sen­sors. It will mon­i­tor “mis­sile launches and nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena across the Earth, while the star­ing sen­sor will be used to ob­serve smaller ar­eas of in­ter­est with en­hanced sen­si­tiv­ity,” the com­pany said in a state­ment. The Pen­tagon is de­vel­op­ing a new dog for the bat­tle­field. This canine will be able to sniff out hard-to-de­tect, buried im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vices (IEDs) that are in­creas­ingly maim­ing and killing troops in Afghanistan.

For cur­rently de­ployed dogs — and elec­tronic sen­sors — such fer­til­izer-based home­made ex­plo­sives are dif­fi­cult to find.

The Pen­tagon’s Joint Im­pro­vised Ex­plo­sive De­vice De­feat Or­ga­ni­za­tion (JIEDDO) de­cided to train its own spe­cial­ized ken­nel of snif­fers be­fore send­ing them to war in Septem­ber.

“The JIEDDO dog pro­gram is solely fo­cused on the cur­rent threat in Afghanistan to de­tect home­made ex­plo­sives off leash,” spokes­woman Irene Smith told spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent Rowan Scar­bor­ough.

“There are other mil­i­tary work­ing dogs who are trained off a [De­fense Depart­ment] scent list, al­low­ing them to be de­ployed around the world. JIEDDO’s dog pro­gram is specif­i­cally tai­lored to [Afghanistan] [. . . ] This is a unique ca­pa­bil­ity from the other mil­i­tary work­ing-dogs pro­grams.”

The agency is work­ing with a num­ber of breeds in ad­di­tion to the ubiq­ui­tous, hu­man-friendly Labrador retriever.

“There is a de­bate on which dog is best for de­tect­ing ex­plo­sives,” Ms. Smith said.

Send­ing su­per dogs to Afghanistan is one of sev­eral moves JIEDDO is mak­ing in re­sponse to an in­crease in the num­ber of pres­sure-ac­ti­vated IEDS buried around vil­lages by the Tal­iban to at­tack Marines and sol­diers ap­proach­ing on foot.

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