What is it? The mission of the Army Asymmetric Warfare Office (AAWO) is the integration of military and civilian disciplines to rapidly organize, train and equip Army formations to defeat asymmetric threats; to lead change in the Army’s culture toward a more mentally agile and adaptive force; and to reinforce “how to think” rather than “what to think”. The Army established the AAWO to be the Army’s focal point for all AW initiatives and serve as its link to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) in the current and future IED fight. Moreover, AAWO develops the Army’s service-specific broad perspective and policy/planning efforts in AW. AAWO consists of five Divisions (IED-Defeat, Electronic Warfare, Force Protection, Operations & Intelligence Integration, Plans/Futures) and has two pre-existing organizations now subordinate to it (Rapid Equipping Force, Asymmetric Warfare Group).
What has the Army done? DoD Directive 2000.19E established JIEDDO and resulted in the absorption of the Army’s IED Task Force. This required the Army to reestablish its Service component representative to the JIEDDO as well as a single Army Staff focal point for all AW, to include IED, policies, programs and resources. HQDA EXORD 158-06 directs the establishment of an AAWO that centralizes all IED functions as well as electronic warfare, force protection, information operations, asymmetric warfare policy and program management. AAWO’s five divisions are described briefly here:
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The Army will continue to support development of strategies for countering changing asymmetric threats while working to change the culture of the Army. Use of mission analysis, recovered data, shared intellectual capability, analytical projection tools, timely sharing of lessons learned, extensive training infrastructure development, and shared development / application with other services will continue.
Why is this important to the Army? Since our enemies are unable to defeat U.S. Army conventional capabilities, they use asymmetric means to exploit our vulnerabilities. The AAWO, in support of the Army and JIEDDO, is focused on defeating the weapons and tactics that cause the greatest number of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. AAWO and JIEDDO continue to explore methods to defeat IEDs as weapons of strategic influence. AAWO and its subordinates contribute to the saving of Soldiers’ lives and remain a crucial element of Army Transformation.