U.S. explosive ordnance disposal technicians and an intelligence analyst from 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, provided an improvised explosive device and forensics exchange with Slovenian Armed Forces Specialized Military Police, (Specializirana enota vojaske policije or SEVP), to improve tactical present-day IED awareness and continue joint training efforts in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, March 13-17, 2023.
According to Slovenian Armed Forces Capt. Blaz Primc, commander, SEVP, learning the key differences of working in non-permissive environments rather than permissive ones was the intent of the event.
“We would also like to exchange TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures] in order to improve interoperability and set up conditions for future cooperation,” said Primc.
One civilian police member and over 25 members from SEVP divisions including the military working dog unit, criminal investigation department, bomb squad, and counterterrorism platoon participated in the exchange.
The team of seven service members from 18th MP Brigade arranged activities consisting of improvised explosive device awareness, site exploitation, and forensic collection.
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Leri, EOD platoon sergeant, 720th Ordnance Company, 18th MP Brigade, said the SEVP was an experienced group and extremely receptive to the information.
“They [SEVP] were very easy to work with,” said Leri. “And did their best to accommodate us.”
To optimize EOD training environments a demolition range is the ideal setting to practice sensitive site exploitation. A demolition range can be a difficult task to arrange and the SEVP was able to support the objective by providing a similar alternative.
SEVP used a water-borne disrupter against IED components to visualize the process of conducting post blast analysis. The resulting crater contains evidence, so the crater is photographed, measured, and samples of the soil are obtained for lab processing.
Intelligence analyzing is typically outside the EOD field of work but understanding the laboratory process ties into data collection and strengthens an investigation.
Spc. Jarrel Barnes, intelligence analyst, 18th MP Brigade, provided background to why site preservation and evidence identification is critical.
"Collecting the right materials helps analysts process and identify actors in the area of operations and, in turn, help people on the ground,” said Barnes.
The engagement was a first for Spc. James Weatherly, EOD specialist, 720th Ordnance Company, 18th MP Brigade.
“The teaching role is something that is new to me and this has been a really good experience,” said Weatherly.
Weatherly gave a class on site exploitation to the group. Afterward, a practical exercise took place where the U.S. EOD team dispersed several IED components in an abandoned building, which the SEVP had to identify and review as a group.
Primc feels all SEVP elements can benefit from these engagements.
“SEVP would like to continue good cooperation with the U.S. in all sorts of engagements and joint training that would contribute to development of our specialized counterterrorism assets and ability to conduct high risk operations,” said Primc.
The exchange wrapped up by presenting certificates to Slovenian participants and reviewing the weeklong instruction.