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Security Engineering in Iraq (UNPUBLISHED)

Security Engineering in Iraq (UNPUBLISHED)

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Published by Bart Kemper, P.E.
This was originally intended for ARMY ENGINEER magazine. Similar material was used for a more technical peer-reviewed paper regarding Reliability Lessons Learned In Iraq, published by ASME's Safety and Reliablity Division (SERAD) in 2007. While this reviewed and cleared for publication in 2006, I preferred to wait until forces drew down in Iraq and some of these issues were addressed.
This was originally intended for ARMY ENGINEER magazine. Similar material was used for a more technical peer-reviewed paper regarding Reliability Lessons Learned In Iraq, published by ASME's Safety and Reliablity Division (SERAD) in 2007. While this reviewed and cleared for publication in 2006, I preferred to wait until forces drew down in Iraq and some of these issues were addressed.

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Published by: Bart Kemper, P.E. on May 21, 2011
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Security Engineering/Kemper/1Lessons Learned in Security Engineering in Iraqby MAJ Bart Kemper, PEThree years after the invasion of Iraq there are still lessons to be learned in securityengineering to counter the Anti Iraqi Forces (AIF). As the fight shifted from war fighting tocounter-insurgency, the primary security threat to bases and outposts shifted from coordinatedarmed attacks to an adaptive insurgency currently using snipers, indirect fire, and ImprovisedExplosive Devices (IEDs.) This has resulted in significant lessons learned, particularly inmaterial quality, ballistics and blast mitigation. These lessons must not only be understood, butbe the building blocks for future lessons as the enemy continues to adapt as well as carrying thefight to other regions.
What is Security Engineering?
Security engineering is a fusion of security practices and engineering science. Just as thecombat engineer has to understand armor, infantry, and artillery tactics to be effective in acombined arms battlespace, security engineering requires understanding some of the basicpremises of security:*Given enough time and resources, any security system can be overcome. The AIF arean adaptive enemy and try to develop countermeasures to our security measures. No securitymeasure should be considered the final answer to this threat and all security measures should becontinuously evaluated and improved upon.*Successful security measures make it more difficult to breach than the oppositionperceives worth trying. This is a protective principle that doesn’t eliminate the threat, only shiftsit to a less protected target.*Successful security measures forces the opposition to break their protective profilebefore they can act. This is a pre-emptive principle that allows active measures to engage thethreat on better terms. Effective vehicle traffic controls makes it easier for overwatching forcesto identify Vehicle Borne IED drivers and engage the VBIED with greater standoff. Anotherexample is forcing the AIF to use more manpower and weapons to mount an effective attack against a facility, as marshalling those resources can be detected and interdicted more easily thana smaller force’s preparations.These security concepts, once implemented, are bound by engineering principles:*Understand the assumptions. All engineering solutions require assumptions, rangingfrom the type of load, to strength of material, to the way the environment effects the final design.Act outside of these assumptions and the design could fail.*Know the project’s limitations and constraints. Engineering often requires a balancingact of competing issues such as cost, durability, and effectiveness. It would be technicallypossible to build a base as secure as Colorado’s nuclear-proof Cheyenne Mountain facility, butthe resources aren’t available. Understanding the resources available and the commander’spriorities are critical for a successful engineering solution.*All hazards cannot be eliminated by design. Warn the user of the residual risk so theremaining hazards are understood and mitigated by other means if possible. For example, if it’sdetermined it’s not cost effective to harden all structures on the FOB against VBIED attacks, the
Security Engineering/Kemper/2security planner mitigates the risk by using operational means such as searching vehicles toprevent a VBIED from entering the FOB in the first place.
Standoff is your friend
There are three main threats by hostile action in Iraq: blast, fragments, and bullets.Bullets generally require they see you to be effective, and if they can shoot you, usually you canshoot them. Body armor, vehicle armor, concrete barriers, and sandbags can reduce most of thethreat from small arms. Most bases are secure from direct fire weapons by distance or T-barriers.Fragments can be stopped with generally the same methods as small arms, whether the fragmentsare due to indirect fire or IEDs. T-wall and sandbags are very effective in protecting billets,offices, dining facilities, and other areas from fragments.Blast, however, is more difficult to mitigate. Fragments may put holes in a concrete T-wall, but blast can turn the entire T-wall into a giant buckshot burst. Body armor does littleagainst blast effects compared to bullets or fragments. Blast can cause damage even behind atarget. Different materials respond to blast differently.However, blast also reduces exponentially as it travels. Fragments and bullets remaindeadly for far greater ranges, generally flying away from the blast until they hit something andstop. For example, a 3.5 pound charge of TNT creates a 544 psi reflected pressure on a target at5 feet. To have the same pressure at 20 feet, it would take 220 pounds of TNT.These equivalent pressures do not result in equivalent damage. Blast is due to the chargebeing converted into rapidly expanding gas. The larger the charge, the more energy released.The 220 lbs of TNT at 20 feet can breach almost 9 inches of 4500 psi concrete, but the 3.5 lbs at5 feet can only breach 1.5 inches, just as a tack hammer and a 10 pound sledge hammer hittingsame object at the same speed have different effects. Breaching concrete not only create a holethrough the structure but also a deadly shower of high velocity concrete fragments, potentiallycreating a greater threat than the charge by itself depending on the charge, distance to the wall,wall thickness and concrete strength.The key is standoff. Double the distance of the 220 lbs of TNT to 40 feet and it canbreach less than 5.5 inches. At 300 feet away an inch thick slab of 4500 psi concrete would notbe breached. Close the standoff to six feet and the 220 lbs will breach over 19 inches and requireover 40 inches to prevent the wall from spalling, or having concrete break away, possiblydangerously, from the non-blast side. Compare this to fragments or rifle bullets, which havealmost the same penetration at 300 feet as 6 feet. US Army Corps of Engineers ProtectiveDesign Center (USACE PDC) provides the computer program CONWEP to calculate a widerange of weapons effects on soils, concrete, wood, and other items.Security engineering manuals, graphic training aids, and specialized software can providethe needed standoff for a given charge. Unified Facilities Criteria 4-010-01, DoD Anti-Terrorism for Buildings, provides guidelines for minimum standoff, including reduced standoff distances if blast analysis shows it is acceptable. Understanding the assumed threat in this guideis critical. UFC 4-010-02 is the addendum that specifies the threat charge or round. These threatsare less than the Central Command minimum threats. The local security professional shouldspecify the design threat based on local data, not less than the CENTCOM minimum threat. Thelocal engineer can then determine standoffs and other mitigations to provide the equivalentprotection in UFC 4-010-01. USACE PDC also provides the program BEEM to calculatestandoffs based on threat and type of structure.
Security Engineering/Kemper/3Standoff is not always available. For example, you need to get close to search a vehiclefor an IED. Therefore, in cases where standoff is not feasible for a task, the task should beremoved from other activities and a blast wall should be designed to absorb the blast andshrapnel. Other times risk simply must be accepted, but it should be understood by thecommander and local personnel so contingencies for the risk are developed.
When sand isn’t sand
 Sandbags are a common feature in Iraq. However, they are rarely filled with sand. Thesilty soils common near most bases have anywhere between 1/3 and 1/5 the ballistic stoppingpower of sand depending on the specific soil type, moisture, and projectile. For example, anAK-47 has a muzzle velocity of 2330 feet/second. Allowing for some standoff and assuming animpact velocity of 2250 feet/second, it takes a full foot of silty soil to stop the round while only0.25 feet, or 3 inches, of sand to have the same effect. The need to account for soil properties istrue of any earthworks, including overhead cover, metal bins or HESCO concertainers.Concrete is another common force protection material in Iraq. It is used in T-walls,vehicle barriers, bunkers, guard towers, and other structures. Typical strength in the US, Europe,and even Kuwait and Qatar is 4500 psi or greater after 28 days curing. Pre-Saddam Iraqistructures also typically have comparable strengths. However, post-war issues with aggregates,water, admixtures, and cement as well as weather effects often result in a fraction of strength.This is particularly true if there are no military units or third party contractors testing concretebatches using compresive strength machines and test cylinders. Based on material tests and fieldtests, concrete strength is usually less than 2500 psi and can be as low as 500 psi.Concrete strength is critical in force protection measures. Assume a single 155mmartillery round, which is often used in IEDs and VBIEDs, at a distance of 10 feet. The 4500 psiconcrete must be five inches thick to prevent perforation and six inches thick to prevent spalling.At 1500 psi, the wall must be 9.5 inches thick to prevent perforation and 10.75 inches thick toprevent spalling. At 500 psi, which is very poor concrete with visible aggregate and rebar, itwould require over 19 inches to prevent perforation and over 22.5 inches to prevent spalling.Large fragments perforating a 12 inch wall of this concrete would exit the other side traveling at1890 feet per second, or 1290 mph.Bricks, lumber, and steel also have quality issues affecting force protection. Somebatches of bricks turn to crumbs if dropped from shoulder level and would not stand up to even amild blast. Local construction often only put mortar in horizontal joints and not between thesides of the bricks, weakening a structure against impact. Since the walls are often covered in asmooth layer of mortar, this is not always apparent. If the lumber is rough cut and not marked, itcan have as little as a third of the strength of treated structural grade lumber. This affectsSEAHuts and wood-reinforced bunkers and roofs. This is particularly important using USACEreferences and software since they use results based on testing these structures using structuralgrade materials. Steel also has its challenges, with local welding typically having 70% to 25% of the reliability of the unwelded section which could cause failure if subjected to blast loading.Army Engineer Technicians (MOS 21T) are trained to evaluate construction materials.They can develop quality control measures to test concrete and can work with local plants toimprove their strength. They can also perform field tests to estimate in-place concrete strengthand other materials.As a rule of thumb for untested post-invasion concrete in Iraq, a 1500 psi strength can beconservatively assumed if there are no visible defects. This can be checked by rapping the

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