Can Cops Help Stop IED Drops?
L-3 MPRI, Inc. in Alexandria, VA recently received a $156.1 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to embed former law-enforcement professionals into corps, division, brigade, regimental and battalion headquarters. Their mission will involve helping battlefield commanders penetrate and suppress criminal networks involved in IED land mine production, distribution, and use throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, and other overseas operations. The contract will run to Dec 10/11, and 1 bid was solicited with 1 bid received by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Contracting Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD (W91CRB-08-D-0049).
Most people aren’t aware of the human networks behind the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. International terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah are definitely part of that fight, but they often rely on and leverage local criminal networks for information, smuggling, and even recruiting. The person who sets a land mine, for instance, is often just a local who is paid/ threatened into doing it, while the bomb-makers remain in the background. Understanding the full network in play, and targeting its leadership, demands both a military presence on the ground, and law enforcement type expertise. While breakthroughs do happen, it’s mostly slow work that builds a picture over multiple operations from the “small fish,” which leads to the intermediaries, which leads to the local leaders, which finally leads to the “big fish.” Hence US JIEDDO’s Law Enforcement Professional Program, which aims to combine law enforcement experience with military operations.
This problem is not limited to Afghanistan and Iraq, which means this approach is likely to catch on. In the modern era, the line between terrorism and organized crime has blurred even farther with the IRA, Hezbollah, FARC, Tamil Tigers, the Taliban, and other terrorist organizations acting as major narcotics kingpins – or even fully diversified criminal syndicates. The same can be said of some front line governments, as Wikileaks demonstrates.