For Immediate Release
May 11, 2012
Principal Contact (Global Campaign against IEDs):
Robert C. Morris, Jr.
Phone (U.S): (757) 869-6770
FAX: (U.S.): (270) 477-7087
House and Senate Challenged to Unite Against Terrorism
69 Members of the House unite across Party lines in recommending actions to President Obama
Washington, D.C. – Sixty-nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives today sent a letter to President Obama calling for a unified U.S. strategy and international action against Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Organizers hope others will join the call. The action follows this week’s leak of a serious new Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula plot to bomb a U.S. –bound airliner with updated and difficult to detect Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) concealed in underwear.
The IED is becoming the weapon of choice for armed groups who seek to achieve their goals through violence. If you exclude the 233 IED incidents per month during 2010 in Iraq and Afghanistan, there were estimated to be, on average, three IED incidents each day in the remainder of the world. There are over 600 IED events per month (20 per day) globally if you count thwarted attempts that are cataloged in a database maintained by the Department of Defense’s Joint IED Defeat Organization.
According to an estimate based on data from the National Counterterrorism Center’s Worldwide Incident Tracking System, the number of IED incidents in 2011 represents a doubling of monthly incidents in just five years. IEDs are the main cause of military casualties, but on a global level now create more civilian than military casualties.
Based on data compiled by Partners International Foundation, a United States non-government organization for the Global Campaign against IEDs, IEDs killed 268 U.S. service members and more than seven times that many civilians (1,898) in 2010. Ammonium nitrate, long used to manufacture IEDs in the Near East and South Asia, is becoming prevalent in Africa. It may be only a matter of time before IEDs are used by gangs in the United States. In addition to the leaked plot to bomb airliners, FBI agents previously thwarted a would-be suicide bomber, Amine El Khalifi, who planned to attack the U.S. Capitol with a suicide vest.
To address this threat and mobilize global action against it, the Global Campaign against Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) (www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org) based in Yorktown, Virginia, initiated an international effort to reduce IEDs and the networks that produce them.
The letter from Members of Congress calls for President Obama to work with Congress and global governments to address critical gaps in the humanitarian response to IEDs, strengthen application of the rule of law, and eliminate serious deficiencies in public-private information sharing. A key part of this unified approach calls on the President to designate a lead Federal Agency to develop a U.S. Government strategy that coordinates with the Global Campaign against IEDs and their planned Global IED center.
The letter shows significant bipartisan support. Signatories now include representatives and leadership from key House committees including: Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, Homeland Security, Veteran’s Affairs, Appropriations, Ways and Means, Judiciary, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Small Business, Oversight and Government Reform, Education and Workforce, Transportation and Infrastructure, Joint Committee on Taxation, Budget, Agriculture and Natural Resources. The response underscores the true bipartisan nature of the issue.
Col (Ret) Bob Morris from the Global Campaign against IEDs points to the actions of the House Foreign Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs Committees as particularly noteworthy: “We are honored both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee as well as the Chairwoman, Vice-Chair, and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee joined together as signatories to the letter. This is a show of bipartisan unity on this issue that sets an exemplary example.”
Morris also credits Representative Gallegly with much of this success: “Simply put, if Congressman Gallegly and his staff had not taken the initiative to come forward and lead on this important issue, nothing regarding the letter would have happened. It is a credit to the Congressman and his staff to be out front on this important issue.”
“Great credit is owed to all Members of Congress who came forward to take the lead on this important issue”, says Morris. “IEDs are not a partisan issue, they are an American issue.”
“We look forward to working with the White House, Members of Congress, and all agencies of the United States Government to implement the sound recommendations in the letter,” Morris said.
The group now plans to circulate a similar letter to Members of the Senate for signature in building unified support in both Houses.
Those wishing to support the Global Campaign against IEDs can visit its website at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org.
A full media packet is available for download at: www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/PressPack1.pdf; the image at www.CampaignAgainstIEDs.org/col_morris_gallegly.jpg
A full copy of Rep. Gallegly’s Request for Signatures, the Letter to President Obama, and list of current signatories is attached with additional information available on the organization’s website.