By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, July 13, 2015 – Because it takes a network to defeat a network, the Defense Department today debuts its newest agency to stay at the forefront of improvised threats.
DoD’s Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency, or JIDA, is built from what had been the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. It is a combat support agency in the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, Army Maj. Gen. Julie A. Bentz, the agency’s vice director, told DoD News. JIDA has a new, expanded mission to reflect the new name, she said.
JIDA Has Broader Mission
“DoD broadened JIEDDO’s mission set to include the improvised threat,” Bentz explained. “Our job was always to counter the improvised explosive device, and this new mission set asks us to look at the next IED.” The nation’s adversary is an adaptive one, Bentz said, adding that the next generation of IED will be an improvised threat. “The department has given us an increased latitude to go after those innovative networks, because it takes a network to defeat a network,” she said.
JIDA Works in a Network
As a network, JIDA is a community of action, and will work with such organizations as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and across all communities that are affected by an improvised threat, the general said. JIDA’s network also includes coalition forces, partner nations and other U.S. agencies, she added.
The team approach brings the necessary authorities and capabilities to use each one’s strengths “to go after an adversary who knows how to exploit the seams between our capabilities,” Bentz explained. “The closer we stitch our abilities and leverage our authorities, the tighter a network we become to go after their network,” she added.
Patterns Lead to New Devices
JIEDDO learned early that as it defeated a device, “the next device was in front of us,” Bentz said. “But if we went upstream, [we] started noticing there were similar patterns and similar signatures that helped us understand there was a network of materials, people, tactics, techniques and procedures all coming together to build that IED.”
JIDA will continue that effort, she added. “Those same networks that build the IEDs are the same networks that will continue building improvised threats,” she said. The IED will continue to be a threat to U.S. and coalition forces worldwide, Bentz acknowledged.
“It is a threat that’s not going away anytime soon, unfortunately,” she said.