Knowledge Means The Power To Act

The threat of improvised explosive devices (IED) is a reality that every unit working in an area of conflict needs to address. Every soldier needs to be aware of how to act when faced with such a threat and proper training is vital.

Soldier in the forrest.
The Exercise Bison Counter takes place i in Småland and Blekinge and includes 21 different nations. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Bison Counter 2016
Dogs are a valuable tool when working with C-IED (Counter Improvised Explosive Device) Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Bison Counter 2016
Mans best friend. And colleague. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Bison Counter 2016
Robots are also a valuable tool. This is a portuguese robot in action during Bison Counter. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Bison Counter 2016
Cooperation is key. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten
Bison Counter 2016
Joacim Hallberg, chief of staff in the international task force and his colleagues work together to make everything run according to plan during Bison Counter. Photo: Gustaf Ubby/Försvarsmakten

In Småland and Blekinge in Sweden, soldiers, sailors and officers from 21 different countries are gathered to train together in the purpose of developing their skills within C-IED (Counter Improvised Explosive Device) and to work together in the struggle to handle this kind of unconventional warfare.


The concept of C-IED is often close connected to the handling of bombs and other devices. However the significance is in fact much wider. To work with C-IED means that you work together to constantly stay one step ahead of the opponent. You use the information at hand to act in the most efficient and safe way possible.

— To understand the level of threat is always a high priority, and we need to constantly work to be aware of our surroundings, says Joacim Hallberg, chief of staff of the international task force during the exercise Bison Counter 2016. He and his team make sure that the exercise runs according to plan. We all need to be able to act properly when we find ourselves in an unstable environment. That is why this capability is so important to all of us and why we train.

When? What? Who?

When faced with an improvised explosive device you turn to the specialists. The people that have the knowledge and the skills to handle it properly, whether this means to dispose, disarm, move or detonate it. They work together with forensic teams that can make sure that all the information available comes to good use. Together they provide pieces of a puzzle that leads to an understanding of what has happened, what may happen, why and sometimes even who is responsible. This is the kind of information that is vital to every unit that has a need to move around in these high risk areas. The gathering and the use of intelligence is what makes the foundation of C-IED.

— When you successfully work with Counter IED it means that you use all the information at hand to make smart decisions. The work provided by the IED-specialists and the forensic teams will help other units to solve the task at hand in a safer way, says Joacim Hallberg. This is all a part of a bigger picture, where intelligence is the foundation, and the use of it the key to success. We use it to keep changing the way we act, to never be predictable. That makes it difficult for the opponent to get to us, even with unconventional methods such as improvised explosive devices.