One of the most deadly strategies used by anti-U.S. and coalition forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan is the VBIED — Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device — or, as they are more commonly known, “car bombs.” One of the most deadly of these attacks in recent history occurred in July 2016, when a refrigerator truck filled with explosives was detonated near a crowded apartment block in Baghdad’s Karrada neighborhood, killing 323 people.
That attack was followed by one in Kabul, Afghanistan, in May of this year; a VBIED tanker truck blew through the embassy quarter of the city, killing more than 150 people. Despite blast protection, a number of embassies, including the French and German structures, were damaged.
And while these kinds of attacks seem to only occur in distant lands, U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that they could start happening in America.
In fact, it almost has. In May 2010, police discovered a crude car bomb consisting of propane tanks, gasoline and fireworks smoking in a Nissan Pathfinder parked in the heart of Times Square. The New York Times reported that the discovery prompted “the evacuation of thousands of tourists and theatergoers on a warm and busy night.”
The device was in the process of detonating when police found it. (RELATED: Former NYPD chief: “New normal” terror attacks in Europe are coming soon to a U.S. city near you — it’s time to arm yourself)
Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate’s Explosives Division has begun taking this threat seriously.
EXD’s Homemade Explosives (HME) program conducts Large–Scale VBIED testing to mitigate the threat posed by massive car bombs and to ensure such attacks do not occur in the U.S. This program is part of S&T’s Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Recently, S&T EXD conducted a series of explosives tests with varying charge sizes to learn more about mitigating these threats, based on the size and composition of the explosive device.
Testing has been carried out at the U.S. Army’s Fort Polk, La., featuring experts from the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Indian Head facility and the live-fire testing capability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering, Research, and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss.
“Due to the wide variety of types of and materials used to make improvised explosives, we often must use simulations to model the behavior of large scale events. When current methods are no longer effective, we have to conduct controlled real-life events to discover new ways of combatting emerging trends in explosives,” program director Dave Hernandez said, the website reported.
Data from testing at Fort Polk provided researchers with the ability to understand the scope of damage different types of explosive materials can cause. Researchers noted that this kind of specific damage information was not available before the tests were staged.
“The information generated from this testing will aid the Department of Defense and law enforcement communities by revealing data on the impact of a large–scale VBIED, enabling better protection for vulnerable targets. As the HME threat is constantly changing, a continued effort in this area is required in order to provide timely information to those organizations conducting analysis and acquisitions,” Program Manager Elizabeth Obregon noted.
Obviously, we expect appropriate federal agencies and the Pentagon to ‘war game’ various terrorism scenarios, because that allows them to adopt the proper counter-strategies. But the fact that DHS and the Pentagon are researching this particular threat is telling in and of itself, for it means that someone, somewhere, believes this form of terrorism may be coming to American cities sooner rather than later.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.