First Day

By Sebastian Sprenger / December 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Newly minted Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates will take the helm of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization on Dec. 30, according to JIEDDO spokeswoman Irene Smith. Oates is the former commander of the 10th Mountain Division (Light) and Ft. Drum, NY. He succeeds Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, who is retiring.

Oates comes on board at JIEDDO as defense officials rethink their approach to countering IEDs. Defense Secretary Robert Gates last month established a department-wide IED task force of Defense Department leaders that could very well reassign some crucial authorities among the various organizations involved in keeping U.S. forces safe from the hidden bombs.

For Oates, those developments should make for an interesting job.