IED Summit

By Marjorie Censer / November 4, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates held a meeting this afternoon to bring together "all the disparate elements" of the Defense Department that seek to fight improvised explosive devices in an effort to address the IED problem in Afghanistan, DOD spokesman Geoff Morrell said today.

Morrell told reporters the meeting is "probably the biggest meeting of this kind" that he knows of.

The event was set to convene representatives from the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle task force; the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance task force; and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization -- as well as those in theater using a secure video teleconference, according to Morrell.

"These are all individual groups that have done a tremendous amount of good in their respective areas," he told reporters. "But we need to make sure that we are bringing all of our resources to bear together and are collaborating effectively and providing our troops . . . with whatever they need: armored protection, ISR, new capabilities, authorities, better command and control, those kinds of things."

Morrell stressed that Gates remains "very concerned about" IEDs in Afghanistan but declined to say what today's discussion would produce. He left open the possibility that similar meetings would be convened in the future.

"((L))et's have the meeting and see what comes of it and see if more are required, as likely will be," Morrell said. "And we'll go from there. But this is something . . . that is clearly a priority for him."