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First responders must stay up-to-date on the latest tactics and techniques for improvised explosive devices (IED) response. How does the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) ensure state and local bomb squads have the necessary resources at their fingertips?

S&T’s Response and Defeat Operations Support (REDOPS) program fosters collaboration among the country’s leading experts, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Defense, the National Bomb Squad Commanders Advisory Board and boots-on-the-ground bomb technicians at every level of government.

In addition to investing in research and development of technologies needed to render IEDs safe, REDOPS performs operational field assessments of technologies, transitions systems to the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School, and disseminates improved tactics, techniques, and procedures to minimize damage to life and/or property.

In pursuing these goals, S&T led an August 2017 vehicle-born IED (VBIED) response experimentation assessment. The goal of these exercises was to identify lessons learned and technology requirements by comparing various VBIED response tactics and equipment choices. The event featured six simulated response scenarios with experiments conducted on 30 late-model vehicle targets.

The REDOPS team also participated in several of the 2017 Raven’s Challenges, a series of nationwide exercises that bring together public safety bomb squads and military explosive ordnance disposal units to execute operational counter-IED scenarios.

“The most important thing REDOPS can do is continue to gather information from across the country and world about what equipment other squads are using and how they are using it,” said Baltimore Police Department Bomb Technician Randy Pope, who attended the Camp Dawson Raven’s Challenge.