The weapon system that personified the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and shaped the behavior of the U.S. military for almost fifteen years was the Improvised Explosive Device (IED). IEDs were responsible for approximately two-thirds of U.S. and Coalition casualties suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Civilian casualties from IEDs number in the tens of thousands. The important lesson to draw from the experience dealing with IEDs in Southwest Asia is the way a single instrument of war, no matter how simple, can have profound organizational, operational and strategic impacts. The IED allowed the insurgents to regain the strategic initiative and set the operating conditions for U.S. and Coalition forces. But in the future, drones will be an even greater threat to the U.S. military than IEDs and shape the character of the battlefield. I have written more on this subject for RealClearDefense here.
Find Archived Articles: