Improvised Explosive Device Trainer Helps Prepare Warfighters for Afghanistan
William J. Sharp, Headquarters Army Directorate of Operations
As of February, Afghanistan-bound Soldiers and service members can access "ROC"-solid training to help counter improvised explosive device (IED) threats.
Recognition of Combatants-Improvised Explosive Devices, or ROC-IED for short, is a computer-based interactive multimedia trainer. The program helps train warfighters to anticipate and prevent IED-related incidents in theater. Officials distributed more than 30,000 CD copies of an Iraq-focused program. Based on its success and demand, officials determined the need for an Afghanistan version.
"ROC-IED is a high quality contribution to the safety, survivability, and lethality of our dedicated and selfless warfighters working in defense of our nation," said Brig. Gen. Ernest C. Audino, deputy director, Army operations, readiness and mobilization directorate (G-3/5/7).
The program is divided into three main topical areas: IED understanding, thermal understanding, and the IED visible/thermal browsing library. A trainee can select Iraq or Afghan-centric modules.
The IED understanding section begins with an IED overview followed by the Afghan operational environment to include types of emplaced devices; IED emplacement tactics; vehicle- and person-borne IED attacks; situational awareness; immediate responses; and preventive measures.
Differences between visible and thermal imagery, factors that affect thermal images, and techniques to optimize thermal images are discussed in the thermal understanding section.
The thermal browsing library helps train users on capabilities and limitations of sensor solutions. The library contains numerous images of personnel wearing a variety of suicide bomb devices. Additionally, ROC-IED's ask-the-instructor feature allows students to pose questions to various IED subject matter experts.
One of the program's many benefits is its versatility and flexibility.
"The software uses actual footage from insurgent and coalition-produced video which helps demonstrate lessons learned from both operational theaters," said Ken Cook, Recognition of Combatants Team member and one of the software's developers at Fort Belvoir, VA.
Additionally, "ROC-IED can be used alone as introductory level, self-paced counter-IED knowledge training, as a supplement to classroom and lane training, or as long-term sustainment training," Cook said. "ROC-IED is regularly evaluated and upgraded to address the ever-changing conditions in theater."
Organizations collaborating on ROC-IED development focused on emerging warfighter needs.
"You almost have to unlearn Iraq counter-IED strategy when approaching the Afghan theater," Cook said. "That's because terrain, tactics, types of devices, and the Afghanistan insurgency are considerably different from Iraq. So, in creating the program, we wanted to make sure the training is geared toward the new and different environment."
The training tool is available to U.S. government agencies and their designated contractors. The Army has also initiated a foreign disclosure process on ROC-IED in order to make it accessible to NATO and International Security Assistance Force partner nations. Product requests or questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The program is web accessible at https://rocv.army.mil.