PHILADELPHIA, PA – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today co-hosted a forum to help Pennsylvania companies benefit from business relating to protecting our troops from roadside bombs.
The forum was co-hosted by the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), which is allocated approximately $3 billion a year for the development and production of counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) technologies to protect our troops in Afghanistan, where 573 Pennsylvania servicemembers have been wounded and 79 killed by roadside bombs.
“Enlisting Pennsylvania companies in the effort to keep our servicemembers safe has the added benefit of creating jobs and strengthening our economy,” said Senator Casey. “Pennsylvanian ingenuity has already gone a long way toward combating roadside bombs, and today we’re ensuring our businesses have the tools and information they need to continue to grow while honoring the valor and sacrifice of our troops.”
Representatives from about 75 Pennsylvania-based industries attended the forum. Lieutenant General Michael Barbero, Director of JIEDDO, also participated. Pennsylvania companies had the opportunity to get direct feedback on the potential of their technologies and products to be used in the effort to combat roadside bombs.
Senator Casey, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, has led the effort in the Senate to protect our troops from roadside bombs. Last summer he traveled to Pakistan to push officials to implement a plan to regulate bomb making materials and prevent their flow into Afghanistan, and he recently supported passage of an amendment that would prevent some foreign aid from going to Pakistan until the Department of Defense certifies that the Pakistani government is implementing a strategy to counter IEDs.