Inaugural Indo-Pacific Counter-IED Leaders’ Forum
7 December 2013
Defence recently hosted the highly successful inaugural Indo-Pacific Counter Improvised Explosive Device Leaders’ Forum to discuss ways to defeat the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The forum—held at the Australian War Memorial from 2–4 December—brought together senior military personnel from 20 countries within the Indo-Pacific, and observers from outside the region.
In the past two years alone, over 15,000 people have been killed and nearly 45,000 people wounded by IEDs, outside Afghanistan. These devices have become the weapon of choice for insurgents and terrorists.
Senior forum participants shared their concerns and strategies for countering the IED threat. There was widespread acknowledgement that regional and global cooperation on this issue is critical. The forum focused on building a regional community of action to share information and coordinate the response to this common threat.
Commander of the Australian Defence Force Counter-IED Taskforce and forum host, Brigadier Wayne Budd said the forum was deemed a success, with participating countries agreeing it should be held every year.
“I am encouraged by the acknowledgement that this is a shared problem and by the enthusiasm to kick-start regional cooperation and information-sharing to improve regional and global security,” he said.
Acting Secretary of Defence, Australia’s Counter Terrorism Ambassador, Chief of Army and Chief of Joint Operations all addressed the conference, along with the Deputy Commanding General of US Army Pacific, and the Deputy Director of the US Joint IED Defeat Organization.
Countries represented included Bangladesh, Canada, India, Japan, Maldives, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga, US, Pakistan, UK and France. The African Union was also represented.
IEDs are a persistent, pervasive and evolving aspect of modern warfare. Although recent Australian experience in the Middle East influences our perception of IEDs, these weapons existed before the most recent operations and will not disappear when our troops leave Afghanistan.
The insurgents and terrorists employing IEDs are highly adaptive and operate across national boundaries and as such a coordinated regional and international response is required to address the threat.
Imagery is available through the Defence Image Library: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20132446
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999