The Pentagon's agency tasked with developing technology to counter improvised explosive devices failed to determine whether more than $100 million in equipment actually worked, according to a new report from the Defense Department's inspector general.
The IG report released Tuesday found flaws in the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency's effort to evaluate the gear it sent into theaters like Iraq and Afghanistan.
One problem the IG noted was the Army's decision, due to its force-reduction efforts, to terminate its in-theater team for collection and reporting on the operational capabilities and limitations of counter-IED equipment.
The IG scrutinized JIDA’s $1.6 billion portfolio of 95 counter-IED initiatives that were either approved for further funding or terminated between 2012 and 2015. The IG found the agency made those decisions without conducting proper assessments for eight of the initiatives, which collectively cost $112.5 million.
Pentagon regulations required assessments of the counter-IED equipment and its effectiveness within three to six months of the gear’s fielding. But for some of the JIDA initiatives, the military services and combatant commanders failed to provide sufficient data to determine whether those counter-IED efforts were effective.
The IG redacted from the published report the classified details of the counter-IED programs.
In response to the report, JIDA officials noted that they did conduct some assessments of the gear’s effectiveness, but in some cases the reviews were based on "insufficient data."
The inspector general recommended that JIDA and the Joint Staff refine its requirements and procedures for collecting data and conducting assessments of counter-IED equipment.
JIDA, initially known as the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, was created in 2006 to devise and field new technologies to help identify roadside bombs and other improvised explosives that were quickly becoming the weapon of choice for insurgents against U.S. troops.
By 2008 it grew to a $4 billion outfit with more than 3,000 employees. But as the large-scale deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan began to wind down, the agency contracted. In recent years, however, it has contracted to about 1,000 employees and about $500 million per year to spend.