IEDs are one of the main causes of casualties among troops and exact a heavy toll on local populations. With the aim of reducing the risks posed by IEDs, the Alliance helps members and partners in developing their own counter-IED (C-IED) capabilities, with a particular emphasis on education and training, doctrine development and improving counter-measure technologies.
In 2010, NATO developed a C-IED Action Plan with three main focus areas: defeating the device (DtD) itself, attacking the network (AtN) and preparing the forces (PtF). With DtD, various branches within NATO look at how to detect and neutralise IEDs, exploit the IEDs as a source of information, prepare and train soldiers for an IED environment, develop technology to prevent IED attacks and protect soldiers and civilians.
Neutralisation of IED may be the most visible part of the C-IED effort but in order for it to be truly effective, it must be preceded by efforts to indentify and disrupt the networks emplacing, building and procuring IEDs. The Alliance focuses on reducing the frequency and severity of IED attacks, while also attacking the networks (AtN) that facilitate them. Understanding the various threat networks at the tactical to strategic levels is vital to success in current and future operations where battle lines are no longer linear.
C-IED efforts are conducted at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in Norfolk, Virginia (United States), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Headquarters in Afghanistan, as well as at various Centres of Excellence (CoEs) and NATO Agencies. These different commands, agencies and divisions focus on research, training, exercises, doctrine development, development of capabilities to defeat IEDs, sharing information and bringing together non-NATO actors to disrupt the network before IEDs kill or injure troops and civilians.