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MCT-IED-1001 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)


1. Given a simulated operating environment with an IED threat, observation aiding
devices, during daylight and limited visibility, identify an IED threat. (MCRD-IED-1001)
2. Given a simulated operational environment with an Improvised Explosive Device
(IED) threat, visually identify indicators of improvised explosive devices (IED) to
confirm presence and location of IEDs. (MCT-IED-1001)
3. Given a simulated operational environment with a detonated and undetonated
Improvised Explosive Device (IED), while wearing a fighting load, react to an
improvised explosive device (IED) to minimize additional threats and reduce the
effects of an IED. (MCT-IED-1002)
1. Without the aid of references and given a list of choices, select the definition of an
IED in accordance with FM 3-34.210. (MCRD-IED-1001a)
2. Without the aid of references and given a list of choices, select the definition of a
VBIED in accordance with FM 3-34.210. (MCRD-IED-1001b)
3. Without the aid of references and given a list of choices, select the definition of a
PBIED in accordance with FM 3-34.210. (MCRD-IED-1001c)
4. Without the aid of references and given a list of choices and/or graphic, identify
visual indicators of a suspected emplaced IED in accordance with FM 3-34.210.
5. Given an operational environment with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat,
identify visual indicators of a suspected Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive
Device (VBIED) to confirm presence and location. (MCT-IED-1001a)
6. Given an operational environment with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat,
identify visual indicators of a suspected Suicide Vehicle-borne Improvised
Explosive Device (SVBIED) vehicle and driver to confirm presence and location.
7. Given an operational environment with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat,
identify visual indicators of a suspected Person-borne IED (PBIED) to confirm
presence and location. (MCT-IED-1001c)

8. Given an operational environment with a detonated and undetonated Improvised

Explosive Device (IED), while wearing a fighting load, warn patrol members to
minimize additional threat and reduce the effects of an IED. (MCT-IED-1002a)
9. Given an operational environment with a detonated and undetonated Improvised
Explosive Device (IED), while wearing a fighting load, examine for secondary devices
to minimize additional threat and reduce the effects of an IED. (MCT-IED-1002b)

1. DEFINITION. An improvised explosive device (IED) is a device placed or fabricated

in a makeshift manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic, or
incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. It may
incorporate military, but is normally devised from nonmilitary components.
a. Characteristics. IEDs are unique in nature because the builder has had to
improvise with the materials at hand. They are designed to defeat a specific target or
types of targets, they generally become more difficult to detect and protect against as
they become more sophisticated. The degree of sophistication depends on the
ingenuity of the designer and the tools and materials available. IEDs of today are
extremely diverse and may contain any type of firing device or initiator, plus various
commercial, military, or contrived chemical or explosive fillers. Cached and stockpiled
munitions or Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) within the current theater of operations
may provide the explosive materials to would be enemy bombers.
2. IED Components.
IEDs can vary widely in shape and form. They share a common set of components and
consist of a main charge, initiating system, and casing.
a. Main Charge. Military munitions are one of the most common types of charges,
usually a 122-millimeter or larger mortar, tank, and/or artillery rounds. These items are
the easiest to use and provide for relatively easy daisy-chaining, which is linking
multiple main charges together over long or short distances for simultaneous
detonation. Other IEDs have used military, commercial, and homemade explosives,
such as plastic explosives, trinitrotoluene (TNT), ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) and fuel
Main Charge Enhancements. Common hardware, such as ball bearings,
bolts, nuts, or nails, can be used to enhance the fragmentation. Propane tanks, fuel
cans, and battery acid can and have been added to IEDs to propagate the blast and
thermal effects of the IED.

b. Initiating System. The initiation system or fuse sets off the device and can at
times be complicated or very simple. Multiple initiation systems can be used to detonate
a device and trigger the IED. Some examples consist of a simple hard wire (two wires
being connected) for command detonation, a cellular telephone or remote
controlled/radio-controlled improvised explosive device (RCIED) detonation, a time fuse
detonation, or victim-operated detonation. There are typically three components to the
initiation system the power source, switch, and initiator.
(1) Power Source. Batteries or an uninterrupted power supply are used as a
power source for detonators. Batteries of all types are the primary source of power for

IEDs. Batteries could be as small as 9-volt, AA, or those used in long-range cordless
telephones (LRCTs), to car and truck batteries. IEDs may even be wired into the local
power supply of a home or office.
(2) Switch. A switch is used to complete the electrical circuit provided by the
power source allowing current to flow to arm and/or fire the initiating system.

Initiator. A small powerful explosive component used to detonate the main

c. Casing. Casings can be anything that can contain any or all components of the
IED. The casing can provide enhanced fragmentation and also camouflage the IED. A
myriad of containers have been used as casings, including soda cans, animal
carcasses, pressure cookers, plastic bags, and vests or satchels for suicide bombers.
3. INITIATION METHODS. There are three types of methods to initiate an IED; they
are Time, Command, and Victim.
a. Time. Time initiated IEDs are designed to function after a preset delay, allowing
the enemy to escape or target military forces which have created a pattern. Timers
used include chemical, mechanical, and electronic.
b. Command. Command-initiated IEDs are a common method of employment and
allow the enemy to choose the optimum moment of initiation. They are normally used
against targets that are in transit or where a routine pattern has been established. The
most common types of command-initiated methods are with command wires or radiocontrolled devices, such cellular telephones, and remote car openers and alarms.
c. Victim. A victim-operated IED is a means of attacking an individual or group of
individuals. The victim or victims active the IED. There are various types of initiation
devices, which include pull or trip, pressure, pressure release, movement-sensitive,
light-sensitive, and proximity.
a. Employment. IEDs can be used in multiple fashions. The following are some
(1) IEDs can be concealed with just about anything such as trash, boxes, tires,
and so on. They can be placed in, on, or under a target to include unsecured or
abandoned vehicles.
(2) Disguised moveable IEDs can consist of, vehicle borne IEDs (VBIED),
suicide vehicle borne IEDs (SVBIED), and personnel borne IEDs (PBIED).

(a) VBIED. A VBIED is a vehicle filled with explosives in an improvised

manner. Not driven by an individual and is a car, truck, or van filled with explosives.
They are normally parked along roads, buildings, streets, or inside buildings.
(b) SVBIED. A SVBIED is a vehicle that is filled with explosives and
driven by an individual to his death to attack convoys, check points, buildings or other
high value targets. Which can be a car, truck, or van filled, with explosives and an
individual driving.
(c) PBIED. An IED worn or carried by a person either willing or unwillingly,
such as a vest, belt, backpack, box, briefcase, etc., in which the person houses the
whole IED or principal IED components and/or serves as the delivery or concealment
means for explosives with an initiating device. A PBIED is often initiated by the person
wearing the IED (suicide); however, not all PBIEDs are triggered by the person wearing
the IED (proxy).
(3) At times IEDs can be thrown or projected (improvised grenades, rockets, or
mortars) in areas such as overpasses and rooftops.
(4) IEDs have been hidden with chemical containers such as cylinder
containers that will release a toxic gas with the IED detonation such as chlorine.
(5) Hoax IEDs are used for learning friendly force tactics, technics and
procedures (TTP), entrapment, non-explosive obstacles, and development of
complacency for future IED attacks; they resemble an actual IED, but have no charge or
lack a fully functioning initiating system.
b. Targets. IEDs can be designed to attack specific targets. These targets can
include, but not limited to coalition forces and local nationals.
(1) Coalition forces that are typically targeted are quick-reaction forces (QRFs),
first responders, specialized route clearance equipment and personnel, checkpoints and
control points, logistics movements or combat patrols, and any location or object that
the enemy has assessed by pattern analysis to be vulnerable.
(2) Local nationals that are typically targeted are High-Value Individuals (HVI),
such as Governors, Mayors, Political, and Religious Leaders
5. INDICATORS. The primary indication of an IED will be a change in the environment
(something new on the route that was not there yesterday). The enemy may leave
behind visual indicators of an emplaced IED by accident or, in some cases, on purpose
to inform the local population or for use as an aiming reference point. Vigilant

observation for these subtle indicators can increase the likelihood of IED detection by
friendly forces before detonation.
a. IED Indicators. Most common indicators of an IED are a change in the
environment, such as unusual behavior or changes in community patterns, a normally
busy area no longer busy, or the absence of women or children. Other indicators can
consist of suspicious objects, colors that seem out of place, such as freshly disturbed
dirt, concrete that does not match the surrounding areas, colored detonating cord, or
other exposed parts of an IED.
b. VBIED. Common indicators of a VBIED are noticeable sagging of the vehicle
(increased weight due to explosives), darkened or covered windows to conceal the
vehicles contents, a newly painted vehicle to cover body alterations, odd license plates,
and signs of tampering.
c. SVBIED. Common indicators of an SVBIED may consist of a vehicle following a
convoy for a long distance and then pulling to the roadside, signals from vehicles or
bystanders (flashing headlights), lone male with unusual appearance, and a vehicle
driving erratically.
d. PBIED. Most common indicators of a PBIED may consist of an individual with
excessive clothing, nervousness, erratic behavior, and failure to follow orders given.
6. IED LOCATIONS. EDs may be emplaced anywhere that enough space exists or
can be created to hide or disguise the IED. Typically located to exploit known friendly
patterns such as supply and patrolling routes. They may also be employed to take
advantage of vulnerabilities or danger areas such as choke points and previous IED
a. Common Locations. IEDs may be commonly seen in elevated positions,
boundary turnaround points that establish a pattern, choke points, sharp turns, blind
spots under culverts and bridges, streambeds, and abandoned buildings or structures.

7. OPERATIONS. In order to minimize the effects of an IED, there are many things
coalition forces can do, regardless of the type of threat. Wearing all Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE) available is one of the most basic precautions everyone can and
should take. Other simple but critical force protective measures include wearing
seatbelts, ensuring all personnel have as much of their body inside of a vehicle as
possible, and closing all ballistic glass windows. Keep in mind that reacting to a specific
situation, such as a disabled vehicle or suspected IED the same way every time, the
enemy will quickly catch on and will use this knowledge to his advantage.
a. Patrolling. One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and
your unit is to limit your predictability. Consider changing routes, movement techniques,

and your TTPs for dealing with different situations. It is important to keep in mind that
the enemy is always watching. For example, if you react to a specific situation (such as
a suspected IED) the same way every time, you will establish a base line and the
enemy will use this to their advantage. Consider moving against the normal flow of
traffic (when practical) this is a method of limiting predictability, but also presents the
patrol with a different and often more advantageous observation angle that may reveal
the backside of an IED that was poorly camouflaged.
b. Counter VBIED/SVBIED Considerations. The key to surviving a
VBIED/SVBIED attack is standoff and cover. Stress to security personnel that a
SVBIED can come from any direction. Vehicles turning into a patrol from oncoming
traffic, and moving in a convoy, have attacked units. Remember that there is a
difference between a VBIED and an SVBIED. Maintain an aggressive security posture
and have a plan for dealing with civilian traffic.
(1) Traffic control measures can include, but are not limited to, the use of signs
in the local language, formations that take up all lanes in the road; and visual and
audible signals (using an air horn and/or flares to warn cars to stay back according to
the current Rules of Engagement (ROE)).
c. Counter PBIED Considerations.
(1) When dealing with or suspected PBIED it is important to evacuate the area
immediately. A safe distances will depend on the mass of explosive carried by the
individual and the amount and type of fragmentation that is used.
(2) At no time should you try to Close and Negotiate with an individual
suspected of caring an IED, because they are usually trained to avoid surrender at all
(3) In most cases there will be a fail safe in place. This can be a cell phone or
radio-controlled initiation system that could be used in the event that the individual is
incapacitated or hesitates. This tactic would normally involve a second suspect with a
line-of-sight view of the individual and should always be considered.
(4) It is important to keep in mind that if a deadly force response is taken, a
bullet impact may initiate or detonate the explosive charge. Firing on the suspect
should only be conductive from protective cover.
(5) If the suspect is neutralized and there is no explosion, do not administer first
aid. Wait for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) to render safe the explosive charge.
d. Actions At Halts. If a patrol or convoy must halt conduct rolling stops, using
optics to identify a safe position to halt during movement. Avoid clustering vehicles,
vary the vehicle interval between elements, establish your own local security, and

employ techniques to create standoff. If stopping for any length of time, improve your
position constantly, maintain observation of your position, and consider establishing a
defensive position for the site you are occupying. Maintain an aggressive security
posture and have a plan for dealing with civilian traffic. Make sure you do not present a
soft target for a SVBIED/PBIED.
(1) 5 And 25 Meter Checks. At every halt, no matter how short, the crew must
conduct 5 and 25 meter visual checks around the vehicle. Start combat observation
with hasty searches then progress to more detailed searches. For extended halts,
teams must physically clear 5-25 meters around the patrol or convoy. Begging a 5 and
25 meter checks, before stopping to avoid stopping on top of an IED. When executing 5
and 25 meter checks, you should:

Visually check the area 5 meters around vehicles.

(b) Look for disturbed earth, suspicious objects, loose bricks in walls, or
anything out of the ordinary (Markers and Indicators).
(c) Start search at ground level and continue up above head height. Then
conduct a physical check for a radius of 5 then 25 meters around your position. Check
quickly and be systematic.
(d) If in an armored vehicle, remain mounted during your 5 meter check to
take advantage of the vehicles protection.
(e) Once 5 meter checks are completed, continue visually scanning out to
25 meters. Remember to check under vehicle and close doors.
(f) Conduct a physical search for a radius of 25 meters around your

Look for IED indicators and anything out of the ordinary.

(2) Unexploded Actions. If a suspected IED is detected, the following

acronym is used, Five Cs (Confirm, Clear, Cordon, Check, Control). This will ensure
that the situation is dealt with quickly and safely. Your actions will need to be instinctive
and effective.
(a) Confirm. The presence of the suspected IED should be confirmed.
This should be done from a safe distance whenever possible. Use of hard cover and
spotting equipment (binoculars and scoops/RCO) should be maximized. At this point it
is important that IED 9-line information is gathered to be able to submit to higher

LINE 1. Date-time group (DTG): When the item was discovered?

LINE 2. Report activity and location: Unit and grid location of the IED/UXO.
LINE 3. Contact method: Radio frequency, call sign, point of Contact (POC), and
telephone number.
LINE 4. Type of ordnance: Dropped, projected, placed, or thrown; give the number of
items if more than one.
LINE 5. Nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) contaminations: Be as specific as possible.
LINE 6. Resources threatened: Equipment, facilities, or other assets that are
LINE 7. Impact on mission: Short description of current tactical situation and how the
device affects the status of the mission.
LINE 8. Protective measures: Any protective measures taken to protect personnel and
LINE 9. Recommended priority: Immediate, indirect, minor, or no threat.
(b) Clear. All personnel should be cleared from the area to a tactically
safe position. All leaders should use common sense when determining safe positions
and distances; however, the minimum safe distance for exposed personnel should be
300 meters from the IED site. Remember to conduct 5 and 25 Meter Checks at all
areas occupied. Sweep the area for any secondary devices or enemy threats.
(c) Cordon. The area should be cordoned off by a minimum of 300
meters. The purpose of the cordon is to prevent unauthorized personnel and vehicles
from entering the site (for their own protection and for the safety of the Explosive
Ordnance Disposal (EOD) responders), to preserve the scene for further exploitation,
and to provide outward protection and security against command-initiated IEDs. Some
things to keep in mind in setting your cordon are:

1. Direct personnel out of the danger area and allow no one into
danger area.
2. Position crew served weapons to best cover avenues of approach.
3. Ensure Marines remain vigilant in providing protection and security
against command detonated IEDs, PBIEDs, and VBIEDs and scan for other enemy
activity, such as triggermen, cameramen, or snipers from their cordoned positions.
4. Allow entry only to authorized personnel (EOD).
(d) Check. Check the immediate area around the site and cordoned
positions for secondary devices using the 5 and 25 meter checks. Expand the search
using available optics such as the Rifle Combat Optic (RCO), looking for indicators,
secondary devices, and suspicious personnel.
(e) Control. To ensure only authorized access, control the area inside the
cordon. Only emergency services (medical, firefighting, or EOD) should be allowed to
enter the cordon. All personnel and vehicles should enter and exit the cordoned area
through any control points. All civilian and non-essential military traffic should be
diverted away from the cordon. To ensure that no tampering occurs, maintain (from a
safe distance) a visual/line-of-sight (binoculars and scopes/RCO) observation on the
IED. A 360-degree security around the cordon should be maintained until EOD has
given the all-clear signal.
(3) Suspected IED What Not To Do. There are many considerations to
remember when encountering an IED.
(a) Never Approach A Suspected IED. Establish standoff by using
binoculars and spotting scopes/RCOs from multiple angles to confirm the presence of
an IED. When in doubt, back off and call EOD. It is important to never touch a
suspected IED.
(b) Do Not Trace Command Wire (CW). The enemy has placed trip wires
and other IEDs under/in the vicinity of command wires. When a command wire is
located, rather than walking parallel to the wire or over the wire to locate the initiation
point, work in an S pattern, crossing the CW until the initiation point is located.
(c) Do Not Focus On The Found IED. Once found, an IED is not going
to move. Conduct secondary sweeps and set in cordons. Always think a couple steps
ahead and have a plan for any possible encounters that may arise. Again, once positive
IED indicators are found move to safe distances and call Explosive Ordnance Disposal

(4) IED Detonation. Upon detonation of an IED, it is important that immediate

actions are established and rehearsed. It is important to keep in mind that the enemy
may often combine the IED attack with small arms fire. In deciding the best course of
action following an IED detonation, the patrol leader must consider the possibility of an
ambush. Some key points to consider are:

Quick, lethal and aggressive response in accordance with rules of

(b) Immediately scan outward. The biggest mistake you can make is to
focus inward toward the site of the IED detonation or injuries and forget about the
enemy. Obviously, someone will have to assess the situation, communicate with higher,
and tend to casualties. Every member of the patrol should scan around the location for
the enemy.

Move all able personnel and vehicles out of the kill zone.

(d) Search for additional IEDs (5 and 25 Meter Checks) at the new
location and at the location of cordon.
(e) Treat/evacuate casualties. Clear all casualties from kill zone, then
treat and evacuate casualties as needed.

Report situation.


Expect follow-on attacks.

(5) IED Detonation: With Or Without Casualties. After an IED is detonated, all
personnel must react immediately in accordance to the Five Cs.
(a) Confirm. Maintain a low profile, provide security, check for secondary,
identify casualties and treat utilizing care under fire.
(b) Clear. Determine safe distance from detonation site, clear the area,
and transport casualties to a 360 security. At this point it is important to conduct
accountability and five and 25-meter checks. Upon completion of accountability the
patrol leader will report a CASVAC repot and an IED report.
(c) Cordon. Immediately establish near and far secure by utilizing a fourpoint cordon at a safe distance from detonation site.
(d) Check. All members at the cordon will conduct a 5 and 25-meter
check of the area for a secondary and possible enemy.

(e) Control. While maintaining control, it is important that only authorized

personnel enter the cordon, until EOD determines the area clear or safe.


Given an operational environment with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat,
visually identify indicators of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) to confirm presence
and location of IEDs.
Student Instructions:
1. You are a Marine and must visually identify indicators of Improvised Explosive
Devices (IED).
2. There is no time limit for this task.
3. To achieve mastery, you must complete all steps of the performance checklist by
visually identify indicators of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) to confirm presence
and location of IEDs.
Performance Checklist:
Improvised Explosive Device
Performance Steps
1. Identify visual indicators of a suspected emplaced
2. Identify visual indicators of a suspected VehicleBorne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED).
3. Identify the visual indicators of suspected Suicide
Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (SVBIED)
vehicle and driver.
4. Identify the visual indicators of a suspected PersonBorne IED (PBIED).




Given an operational environment with a detonated and undetonated Improvised

Explosive Device (IED), while wearing a fighting load, react to an Improvised Explosive
Device (IED) to minimize additional threat and reduce the effects of an IED.
Student Instructions:
1. You are a Marine and must react to an Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
2. There is no time limit for this task.
3. To achieve mastery, the student must complete all steps of the performance checklist
by reacting to an Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) to minimize additional threat and
reduce the effects of an IED.
Performance Checklist:
Improvise Explosive Device


Performance Steps:



1. Take available cover.

2. Report direction, distance and casualties to patrol.
3. Check for secondary devices.
4. Provide local security.



MCIP 3-17.01

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