Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Says the Supply Chain Is Key in Keeping IEDs Away from Militant Groups
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Says the Supply Chain Is Key in Keeping IEDs Away from Militant Groups

Washington, D.C. — Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are an enormous threat to military and civilian populations, chalking up more than 60,000 reported casualties worldwide between May 2013 and April 2014. These relatively basic weapons require simple components to function and can largely be made with readily available, commercial-grade materials.

A new report from the Center for American Progress shows the ways in which militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, utilize lax regulation on commercial products, such as fertilizer and other dual-use precursor chemicals, to build IEDs and how some simple and common-sense countermeasures could make it more difficult for these groups to build such explosives.

“Whether you are talking about ISIS, al-Shabaab, or Boko Haram, one of the most effective ways these groups subjugate people through fear is with cheaply made IEDs,” said Mary Beth Goodman, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the report. “These explosives are largely made with readily available products such as fertilizer, repurposed munitions and other chemicals that are grossly under-regulated. Limiting access to these ingredients would limit these groups’ access to weapons and could aid in breaking the cycle of violence and fear that is the foundation of every militant group’s power.”

The report says that in order for the United States to stem the flow of these materials to militant groups, it must rely on diplomatic, customs, and law enforcement tools. Without buy-in from the international community, it will be very difficult to prevent these groups from having access to explosive components. Unfortunately, a global project funded to counter the illicit trafficking of precursor chemicals used to manufacture IEDs is set to expire at the end of the year. Program Global Shield, which coordinates customs administrations and law enforcement from more than 90 countries, is exactly the kind of cooperative effort needed to prevent militant groups from attaining the materials needed to build explosives.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.

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