September 1, 2007  

Agency dud

TO JIEDDO, THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT’S COUNTER-IED ORGANIZATION. Formed in late 2005 to lead and coordinate efforts to combat roadside bombs, the Joint IED Defeat Organization has been painfully slow to get its act together. Congress has spent $9.1 billion on JIEDDO so far, without results: Fatalities from IED attacks, the single most important metric by which JIEDDO’s success should be measured, were at all-time highs between April and July. Congress has raised concerns about JIEDDO management, its lack of a spending plan, duplicated work and its inability to provide specific information to Congress. Perhaps no surprise, then, that the head of JIEDDO, retired Army Gen. Montgomery Meigs, is stepping down, though a JIEDDO spokeswoman says this is part of a "not unexpected and normal transition." Meigs measured success by the dubious method of bomb attacks per death, but failed to see the logic that unless the deaths themselves decrease, the impunity with which the enemy can plant attacks makes the former measure superfluous. The new JIEDDO chief (not yet identified) must shake the organization out of its bureaucratic fog and deliver an action plan that focuses on a single goal: fewer troops killed and wounded.