U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa and Tunisian Armed Forces Engineers participated in a counter-IED exercise in Camp Blanding, Florida this week. A member of SETAF-AF C-IED/EOD branch traveled with two Tunisian explosive ordnance disposal specialists to participate in the Raven’s Challenge Interoperability Exercise. Raven’s Challenge is an annual, interagency, C-IED exercise that incorporates scenarios focused on interoperability capabilities between state and local safety bomb squads, Federal bomb units and military explosive disposal units in operational environments.
Libya provided two Engineer officers to observe training in Sept., 2021. Tunisia is the first country to actually participate in the overall exercise, and show interest in returning next year. Tunisian participants joined with two U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire Arms and Explosives technicians and two U.S. Army EOD Soldiers to form a joint team. The team faced challenging scenarios on live fire ranges requiring them to work together to defeat IEDs. The team then had to provide details to a bomb management center and assist in providing investigative leads through accurate identification and preservation of evidence.
“Working with the Tunisians has been a pleasure. It is a proud moment to see the skills taught in Tunisia by U.S. EOD specialists implemented during this exercise. The Tunisians did very well integrating with their U.S. EOD counter parts. They received praise on a daily basis from the Ravens Challenge observer-controllers on their knowledge base and execution of scenarios,” said Rocco Covello, SETAF-AF C-IED planner.
The exercise is funded by the U.S. Army and led by the ATF. Personnel from multiple agencies including the FBI, the Department of the Defense, the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration, and state and local public safety agencies throughout the country all provide manpower resources to assist in completion of the exercise. SETAF-AF’s C-IED team establishes C-IED capability and capacity that enables the command to advise, assist, train, and equip African partner nations to increase their capabilities to defeat IEDs and IED threat networks.