Supporting Our Nation's First Responders

Image of 2005 London bus bombing overlaid on photo of explosion on Wall Street in 1920.

 

The Evolving Threat

The defeat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is, and has always been, a complex and constantly changing problem set. While the designs and methods used to build and deploy bombs have evolved, the desire of individuals and organizations to cause harm using IEDs has been constant, and unfortunately has a long history.

Going back 400 years, the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the King, Queen, and Houses of Parliament in England in 1605 saw Guy Fawkes arrested with 36 kegs of gunpowder and a box of matches. 300 years later, in September 1920, a bomb pulled to a busy section of Wall Street in New York City by a horse-drawn cart detonated, killing more than 30 people and injuring 300. In the late 20th century, our nation suffered acts of domestic terrorism, such as the Unabomber bombings from 1978-1995 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing perpetrated by an international terrorist organization.

In recent years, increased difficulty for ‘bad actors’ in obtaining commercial and military grade explosives led to a shift in focus toward homemade explosives (HME) – many of which can be easily constructed with over-the-counter materials.

Read more on the Signature Science website