When U.S. forces began to be attacked persistently with Improvised Explosive Devises (IEDs) after the defeat of Saddam’s forces and the start of the insurgency in Iraq the call quickly came for the establishment of a Manhattan type project to counter them. The governmental response lead to the creation of the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) which reports directly to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and which has a multi-billion dollar budget and independent contracting authority. The impact of IED attacks, now centered in Afghanistan, but a danger worldwide, has been high on troop losses, public morale, the mobility of US forces, and equipment costs. Professor Harvey Sapolsky is examining the Manhattan Project the analogy and JIEDDO’s experience in order to understand the lessons for future asymmetric battlefield challenges.
This project is managed by Harvey Sapolsky, Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Organization, in collaboration with Michael Schrage of the MIT Sloan School.