On 10 July 2013, FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino testified to a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on ‘Lessons Learned from the Boston Marathon Bombings’ on the importance of training SWAT teams to integrate bomb technicians into tactical operations. The value of training to improve integration and interoperability here was proven in the incident response to the terrorist attack in Boston. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Integrated Assaulter (EODIA) platform-based training for agencies is an important step to attaining this capability.
The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Integrated Assaulter (EODIA) training introduces basic-to-advanced bomb disposal TTP for the tactical environment and develops the integrated concepts, force protection requirements, and deployment methods enabling bomb technicians to work effectively in high-risk operations with tactical units. This training is well-suited to dedicated agency bomb technicians with experience who have also attended SWAT school or equivalent training.
Several critical objectives are achieved and opportunity acquired for agencies who adopt EODIA training:
1. The opportunity for an agency and resident Bomb Squad to develop and maintain Plans, Procedures, Programs, and Systems and Critical Tasks which enable and support Integration and Interoperability of EOD/Bomb technician personnel with tactical operations unit.
2. The opportunity to form and develop effective procedures through practical, platform-based instruction and culmination exercise to include standardized training for integrated response in the tactical environment to terrorist events, suicide bombers, Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED), and other Explosive Threats and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and thereby preserve public security and safety with enhanced capability and response.
3. The opportunity to institute standards for continued internal maintenance and sustainment of s integration and interoperability standards for bomb technicians and EOD personnel with tactical operations unit.
4. The opportunity to insure that all EODIA training and TTP is consistent with that training offered by the FBI Hazardous Devices School (HDS). EODIA renews and invigorates bomb technicians roles and responsibilities.
Full spectrum EODIA training can be challenging in the application and practice of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) mitigation techniques, tactical positioning and movement of personnel with a given SWAT team or tactical unit & IED Mitigation Techniques and Concepts. The dynamic challenges posed by the tactical environment have repercussions and impact for technicians on many levels all the way down to equipment and tool selection and technician load-out. The reward of EODIA is found where ballistic and explosive threats can be addressed and mitigated simultaneously with enhanced options and readiness in analysis, assessment, circumvention options, remote skills, explosive disruption and hands-on methods for prosecuting the IED problems posed by explosive terrorism.
Set the conditions for success with the knowledge that your agency has the immediate support of EOD and bomb personnel for tactical units from large events and protective security to in extremis hostage rescue through better integration and interoperability through EODIA in your agency and be prepared.
About the Author: Aaron Cunningham is the acting President of the International Tactical Training Association (ITTA).