Anti-IED agency opens office on post Print E-mail
Thursday, 02 February 2012
Story and photo by Melissa Buckley

To help counter the improvised explosive device threat to our military forces, A-T Solutions Inc., a global, counterterrorism solutions firm headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, has opened a new office at Fort Leonard Wood.

“We are excited to be joining the Fort Leonard Wood community as an industry leader in counter-IED training,” said Dennis Kelly, president and CEO of A-T Solutions. “Our work here is critical to increasing the safety and security of our forces.”

A-T Solutions’ new office, located in the University of Missouri Technology Park, Building 2081, Suite C, hosted an open house Jan. 24.
Visitors at the A-T Solutions open house Jan. 24 check out material used in counter-IED training.

“We will bring the most current and relevant knowledge regarding the IED threat to Fort Leonard Wood and the service members that train here. They will have access to world-class training solutions that will enable them through their road-to-war training, and into the execution of their combat operations in theater,” said Kevin Lutz, A-T Solutions group president for Warfighter Solutions.

A-T Solutions will be supporting the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence through a five-year contract for services valued up to $100 million. The company also provides similar support to other centers of excellence located at Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Lee, Va.; and Ft. Irwin, Calif.
“We teach service members the best practices to avoid becoming a victim of an IED by providing counter-IED training to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines,” said Dan Petersen, Fort Leonard Wood A-T Solutions site lead. “Fort Leonard Wood is the proponent for IED defeat for the Army as a whole. That means this post is the Army lead for figuring out how to defeat those dangerous devices.”

According to Lutz, A-T Solutions executes the largest Department of Defense counter-IED training program, called the Joint Asymmetrical Threat Awareness and Counter, or JATAC, IED training program.

“JATAC provides counter-IED training to the general purpose forces; principally focused on brigade combat teams, and specialized IED defeat training to the joint Explosive Ordinance Disposal forces,” Lutz said. “Coming here to Fort Leonard Wood gives us the ability to better understand and support the counter-IED related training requirements of the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and the Engineer School.”

One tool A-T Solutions uses to teach service members are IED display boards.

“The Soldiers can touch them and see what the insurgents are using to make IEDs. That way they will know what to look for — even parts. For instance, if they pull up to a vehicle that has an excessive amount of the components, they will know the insurgents are up to no good,” Petersen said. “We also teach explosive device interrogation techniques in our EOD programs, evidence collection and how to properly document detainees at the point of detention with the equipment provided in our tactical evidence collection kits.”

Petersen said after his company teaches basic training cadre, “Then drill sergeants can integrate that information into their field work. Primarily, we train Soldiers once the get to their unit, but we have trained initial entry cadre as well,” he said.

Petersen said his job at Fort Leonard Wood is meaningful to him, and he is delighted to have an office on post.

“I am a retired combat engineer, and I retired out of Fort Leonard Wood. It’s nice to transition out of the Army, and be able to continue to do the same things on post for the Warfighter,” Petersen said.

Working for A-T Solutions holds special meaning for Lutz as well.

“I was a pioneer in this whole IED fight during my career and commanded twice as an EOD brigade commander in Iraq, losing 30 of my joint EOD operators, so it’s personal to me,” Lutz said. “It doesn’t matter what branch you serve in, if you are serving in the military you are part of our nation’s greatest resource — it’s military men and women. We are doing the best we can to bring service members home safely through quality and relevant training.”

Lutz said the A-T Solutions team is not just working hard for service members, but their Families as well.

“Ultimately, we take care of service members, which in turn is taking care of dependents,” Lutz said. “Families can know their service member has the most current and relevant information regarding the threat that they will face. Fort Leonard Wood Families will know their loved ones have the training solutions needed to identify the threat and protect themselves.

Lutz hopes the new office will create job opportunities on post.

“Ideally, as we grow we want to bring more jobs to Fort Leonard Wood,” Lutz said.

In the future, Lutz said the target is to transition parts of the JATAC training program from a contractor program to a military program.

“At some point in time, the training provided through JATAC will transition and the military will pick it up. There is no better place to facilitate that transition than the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence here at Fort Leonard Wood, which serves as the Army’s proponent for defeating the device,” Lutz said.

A-T Solutions will be opening additional offices near Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Fort Bragg, N.C., this spring. In addition to their headquarters in Vienna, Va., A-T Solutions has a major operations and training center in Fredericksburg, Va., and additional offices in Anacortes, Wash.; Boise, Idaho; Larkspur, Colo.; Niceville, Fla.; San Diego, Calif.; and Virginia Beach, Va.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 February 2012 )