Improvised Explosive Device Disposal

  • Version
    Edition 1
  • Creation
    07 Mar 2019

In today’s asymmetric environment it is important that the mine action sector is prepared to respond to the wide variety of threats that exist as a consequence of conflict, including those posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Traditionally the guidance provided in International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) has reflected the fact that mine action activities have focussed mainly on mitigating the risks posed by explosive ordnance (EO) that has been produced and assembled to formally specified set of manufacturing standards. This standard has therefore been developed in order to complement the existing guidance for mine action operations. It should not be seen as a standalone document but rather as an integral component of an IMAS framework that, when applied, ensures safety, quality and efficiency in activities being conducted, and thereby providing confidence in mine action operations. References to other standards, included in the text below, should therefore be seen as constituting normative provisions of this part of the standard.

An IED is defined as a device placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating explosive material, destructive, lethal, noxious, incendiary, pyrotechnic materials or chemicals designed to destroy, disfigure, distract or harass. They may incorporate military stores, but are normally devised from non-military components1. There are, by definition, no manufacturing standards for IED construction; additionally those who manufacture IEDs continuously alter the characteristics, the functioning or the delivery method of the device. IEDs are employed in a variety of different contexts, these can include; use in open areas, where these devices might be used to counter mobility and/or deny access to specific open areas, such as approaches to an area, resource, or facility that is being protected; as well as in urban spaces or buildings where IED contamination presents a different technical challenge and requires an additional set of skills, equipment and procedures. Although IEDs are among the world’s oldest types of weapons, the increased use of IEDs as a weapon of choice by non-state armed groups has been a clear trend in recent years. IEDs impede humanitarian access and impact on civilians, international relief agencies and clearance organisations. As a consequence the mine action sector is increasingly being called upon to help to address the humanitarian impact of the widespread use of IEDs in recent conflicts.

IED Disposal (IEDD) in a mine action context is the location2, identification, rendering safe and final disposal of IEDs. Mine action organisations may be called upon to conduct IEDD activities within any context that they operate, and as such always need to be mindful of the requirements associated with the specific task or operation being conducted. The layout and complexity of the operating context has a significant bearing on the skillsets required to safely carry out IEDD as part of a larger mine action intervention. The safe conduct of IEDD, relies upon appropriately trained and qualified operators having a thorough understanding of the area that they are working in, and of the increasing complexity of these types of devices.

The overarching aim of this standard is to provide specifications and guidance for the management of IEDD as a part of mine action operations in whichever context mine action operators are being deployed. This standard outlines the competencies required by individuals to meet the minimum requirements relating to IEDD operations in a mine action context. Whilst reference is made to quality of training, this document does not outline quality requirements for clearance operations, as these are addressed in other IMAS within the series. It covers principles and management responsibilities for IEDD as a specific subset of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). The guidance herein, including the associated annexes, and Technical and Evaluation Protocols (T&EP) have been developed to assist National Mine Action Authorities (NMAA) in countries affected by IED contamination. The content has been designed to inform the development of national standards and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which are tailored to, and appropriate for, the threat posed in specific operating contexts.

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