If there was one message that Lt. Gen. Thomas F. Metz, USA, director, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, wanted the full-to-capacity luncheon audience to remember, it was this: The IED is a strategic weapon and it has to be dealt with as a strategic weapon. While most of the public sees it as a tactical device, its goal is to wear down the will to fight, he stated.
In the general's opinion, the United States will be fighting in irregular warfare for 20 to 30 years with an enemy who figures out where the U.S. does not want to fight. "The problem is we thought we would fight this fight, be done and everything would go back to normal. We're not going back to normal again," he said.
Gen. Metz' primary concern is that while the U.S. military is making tremendous strides at defeating IEDs, the enemy continues to find new ways to deploy them. While he has no facts to prove it, he feels that some suicide bombs are actually being detonated remotely.
The general also shared that it is just as important to be forward-thinking about the enemy's future strategies. Once the IED becomes an ineffective strategic weapon, it is certain adversaries will enlist other tactics, and the U.S. military must be prepared for that.
Listen to his address here (mp3 link):