FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 4, 2010
By Geoff S. Fein, ONR Corporate Strategic Communications
ARLINGTON, Va. - As the use of improvised explosive devices (IED) continues to grow globally, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is exploring physical and social sciences to counter the threat. This research will be highlighted at the 2010 ONR Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference scheduled Nov. 8-10.
The event will be at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City, Va., and ONR will have experts on site to discuss near- and long-term solutions for locating, disarming and avoiding IEDs.
Among the approaches to Counter IED (C-IED) threats, U.S. Marines in Afghanistan have been using Labrador retrievers (trained under ONR contract), to seek out roadside bombs. Initially, 21 dogs were fielded in Al Anbar province in 2007, said Lisa Albuquerque, ONR naval expeditionary dog program manager. (Watch a counter-IED video | Read a transcript)
"The Marine Corps now has 247 dogs with 140 in theater, and they are growing the number to more than 500," she said.
Albuquerque acknowledges it is a challenge adapting the animals to meet the changing mission threat. ONR's research has been optimizing dog detection capabilities and has found that canines suitable for IED detection are quite different than those used for sentry or guard duty.
"ONR is also making gains in detecting, identifying and neutralizing IEDs at a safe distance," said Dr. Dan Prono, an ONR program manager whose research focuses on advanced scientific technologies to defeat insurgency use of IEDs.
Efforts at mitigation are looking at new materials for personal protection. "It's critical we develop these technologies now, so we can outpace the threat," said David Tremper, electronic warfare program officer at ONR.
In social sciences, ONR is exploring the mindset behind building and planting IEDs. Dr. Ivy Estabrooke, ONR's manager for human, social, cultural and behavioral sciences, is merging social science with technology solutions to better understand the motivations and intentions of radicalized populations who use IEDs.
Learn more about ONR's research into counter-IED threats at the 2010 ONR Naval Science & Technology Partnership Conference.
About the Office of Naval Research
The Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.