A frightening scenario

Foreign militias siege Eastern Småland and Blekinge. The militias are supported by the regional power - Neland - with funding, equipment and some training. Nelands long-term goal is to make Sweden and the Nordic region unstable. Neland spread its message through propaganda. Relations between Sweden and Neland are not good due to Sweden criticizing Neland for violating human rights.

Soldiers working on the ground
Soldiers working on the ground
The French IEDD-team (Improvised Explosive Device Disposal team) in action at Jönköping Airport Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Soldier taking a picture.
The improvised explosive device is carefully photographed and the evidence collected. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Soldier holding a spray can and making marks on the gound.
Secure areas are carefully marked. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
soldiers next to the landing strip.
The airport is under threat. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Soldiers sitting in the ground.
The French team in discussion. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Soldiers standing by a car.
Orders are given. Photo: Monica Sandsvik Svensson/Försvarsmakten
Portrait of Fredrik Ekman.
Fredrik Ekman is in charge of developing the scenario. Photo: Monica Sandsvik Svensson/Försvarsmakten

That is the baseline scenario at the ongoing International Bison Counter Exercise in Småland and Blekinge. 21 countries participate in the C-IED Exercise (Counter - Improvised Explosive Device) which means to prevent the threat from improvised explosive devices and other threats. This means that the C-IED is practiced at all levels from strategic decision based on intelligence gathering and fact-finding down to defeat the device according to the schoolbook.

A troubled world

There is a worldwide economic crisis since three years back. In Sweden the rural areas suffer from high unemployment and social unrest increase dramatically. The Police Authority can’t keep up with the increasing crime rate in the society. This leads to vigilante committees taking over and their actions have wide support among the population.

Sweden has not tried to retake the besieged area, but has asked for support from the United Nations. UN are planning to regain the militia-controlled area together with the Swedish Armed Forces. The UN Security Council has decided that within three weeks send two forces; the first force is already in place - a special force within the C-IED.  The other the force consists of a mechanized battalion, is due in about three weeks. The European cooperation is also supporting Sweden with the forensic laboratory - JDEAL (Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory).

Key hubs are vulnerable

The baseline scenario has been planned by Fredrik Ekman from the Command and Control Regiment and the detail planning of the enemy side are done by officers from the Royal Life Guard and officers from Göta Engineer Regiment and Swedec, Sweden EOD and Demining Centre. Around 40 events are taking place during the exercise and here we follow the exercise at the airport with soldiers from France, Norway and Sweden.

The scenario continues...

At night airport staff notice suspicious activity just outside the area; they follow their alarm routines and almost immediately call for assistance from the Armed Forces. In the chase of the perpetrators one car is stopped, but the other car gets away. The perpetrator is captured and interrogated and confess that they have placed homemade explosives aiming towards the airport. The IEDD Team is quickly on the scene with dogs and equipment.

 Jonas Frohlund, Deputy Exercise Director has chosen the Airport as the training ground for the exercise to be as realistic as possible and to train collaboration with other government agencies. It also gives a better understanding of each other's activities.

— The airport is an important location for infrastructure and transport and in the scenario all parties are interested in that important hub, says Fredrik Ekman.

 A homemade mortar defended with a pressure plate (a trigger mechanism linked to a hidden explosive device) is found. The leader of the IEDD Team stops the air traffic and gives order to evacuate the airport. The area is then searched by MWD (Military Working Dog) and then with a metal detector to make an assessment of the methods to be used. The group neutralizes the homemade explosive device. Everything is documented in order to secure evidence, identify how and where militias and the two criminal groups in the besieged area work. Weapon Intelligence Team, WIT, in the Armed Forces, takes evidence and submits them to the forensic laboratory - JDEAL.

Different techniques provide knowledge

The observer/controllers follow the approach that the team chooses. It is particularly interesting since IEDD groups (Improvised Explosive Device Disposal) comes from different countries and are using different techniques. The team must reflect and explain their methodology, Special instructors share their observations and that gives a good exchange of knowledge.

Eastern Småland and Blekinge are still under siege, but the IEDD team has secured the airport from an attack. This time. The goal is that with all the collected evidence have the opportunities to add a puzzle to stop the threat before it becomes another homemade bomb and a frightening scenario.