FBI talks IEDs with military and local law enforcement

Scott Sweetow, deputy director of the FBI's Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, speaks to military and local law enforcment agencies about analyzing improvised explosive devices during a presentation at Fort Benning July 20. (Photo by Desiree Dillehay)

Scott Sweetow, deputy director of the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center, speaks to military and local law enforcment agencies about analyzing improvised explosive devices during a presentation at Fort Benning July 20. (Photo by Desiree Dillehay)

By Desiree Dillehay, Fort Benning Public Affairs /

Military emergency service and ordnance organizations, along with local law enforcement agencies, attended a presentation by the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center in Fort Benning’s Derby Auditorium July 20.

The Maneuver Center of Excellence Command and Tactics Directorate co-hosted the event with Auburn University’s Futures Laboratory, a think tank comprised of individuals representing academia, business, military and government to network with and hear from futuristic speakers on a variety of topics. This is TEDAC’s first joint venture with the Futures Lab.

“We do engage academia and look at research products and initiatives pertaining to improvised explosive device forensic technologies, forensic science and associated trends … So those are some things that we are looking to embark upon and continue to expand on,” said Jason Jarnagin, unit chief of the TEDAC Technical Exploitation Unit.

Scott Sweetow, deputy director of TEDAC, and Jarnagin discussed their mission, capabilities and the partnerships TEDAC forms with other organizations and countries during the hour and a half presentation, which included discussion of explosive devices used by foreign and domestic terrorists.

“The ability to see and identify IED associations that we may have seen in theater and may be used now domestically is imperative,” said Jarnagin. “So we may find a piece of evidence domestically in an investigation, and we run that in a database and we find that a part of that may have been used in an IED or an identical circuit may have been used in an IED in theater.”

He added that the TEDAC database is intelligence that is now capable of being tapped into and exploited to gain the most for both the military and the law enforcement communities.

“We can’t say enough about how intelligence sharing across these communities is imperative for us to move forward in any capacity,” Jarnagin said.

According to the FBI’s website, TEDAC was established in 2003 to serve as the single interagency organization to receive, fully analyze and exploit all terrorist IEDs of interest to the United States.

The presentation was followed by a question and answer session, where members of the audience asked strategic and tactical questions, as well as discussed what’s working in the field.

Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Peltz, operations NCO, 789th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Co., was able to offer insight to others in the audience by explaining the tactical flow of information and data collection in deployed environments.

“Any bridge we can make between us and those higher echelons will help us out in the long run because they are the ones who run strategy, they’re the ones establishing these priorities and they’re the ones talking even higher from them,” said Peltz. “So understanding how to engage them and understanding where assets exist will help us … in theater to determine how to drive training priorities and how we can drive operational priorities so then we can say, ‘this is what we are going to provide on the ground to better serve up the chain.'”

According to Jarnagin, TEDAC does several presentations each week for various audiences. The presentations allow for increased awareness of the interagency communities dealing collaboratively through TEDAC to thwart IED proliferation and to ultimately keep the first responders and those on the front lines safe.

“So by (the military) working with TEDAC … they become more aware of threats, tactics and procedures that the adversaries are using, and that ultimately keeps them safer. It keeps them more aware. It helps us by them knowing what to look for and what to provide us. It also may assist them in finding a way to correctly collect the evidence,” Jarnagin said.

He added that the outreach also allows them to build relationships and educate others on what TEDAC does.

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