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NEWS | March 30, 2021

EXU-1 Leads EOD Cross-Functional Team Effort

By NSWC Indian Head Division Public Affairs

When sending care packages overseas to deployed troops, the contents usually contain items such as toiletries, snacks, video games and other types of sundries. For the personnel attached to Expeditionary Exploitation Unit 1 (EXU-1), however, the packages they are sending aren’t meant to entertain, but to provide critical knowledge and training to joint force explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operators in the form of a comprehensive Level 1 Collection and Exploitation Guide.

EXU-1 is leading the Navy EOD exploitation cross-functional team (CFT) to identify exploitation-specific shortfalls in training and equipment across the Navy EOD force, establish communication channels with the intelligence community, and create solutions in line with the Navy’s 2020-2030 EOD Strategic Plan.

“Out of this role, EXU-1 assembled and produced a ‘Level 1 Collection and Exploitation Guide’ for deployed joint force EOD units to use,” said EODCS Devon Bryan, EXU-1’s Operations Department leading chief petty officer. “The guide identifies tools and processes as instructed by EXU-1’s exploitation experts to teach operators how to collect various types of evidence, conduct post-blast investigations, handle and package materials, and help identify what material is important to document or collect if possible.”

While in theater, EXU-1’s Technical Exploitation Platoons collect and process evidence of value through various methods such as X-ray images, chemical and electronic analysis, fingerprints, and DNA. This enables laboratories to reverse engineer electronic systems for countermeasures development, and compile biometric, forensic, and technical data to drive intelligence. These efforts often lead to the identification and exploitation of hostile networks responsible for the production and use of those materials, as well as attribute state sponsors to acts of aggression.

As the Navy’s only forward-deployed weapons technical exploitation unit, EXU-1 can leverage the knowledge base and skill set of its subject matter experts to increase the chance of success and strategic impact for deployed EOD operators.

“If EOD teams out in the field come across an exploitation opportunity, they can use our guide and conduct a basic Level 1 collection and exploitation. We are adapting the operator’s recon skill set and applying it to these opportunities, increasing EOD community impact with regards to collecting and reporting technical intelligence,” Bryan said.

To date, EXU-1 has delivered more than 4,000 copies to Navy EOD mobile and training units, the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Collaboration Center, and the Naval EOD School at Eglin Air Force Base. The publication is already used by deployed forces and as a baseline document for curriculum development in Canada and Germany.

In addition to a reference sheet, EXU-1 is spearheading the creation of an expeditionary technical exploitation publication through the Expeditionary Warfare Development Command. According to EXU-1’s Operations Officer Lt. Chris Price, this Navy tactics, techniques and procedures publication will inform operators, staffs and the interagency on relevant tactical and operational considerations for conducting exploitation, and how these operations can affect decision-making at the strategic level. It is the first Navy publication that outlines the full spectrum of the expeditionary exploitation mission to include organizations and tactics, techniques and procedures. The release of this publication will further EXU-1 CFT’s objectives to improve force integration and increase exploitation capability and capacity across the Navy EOD community.

“I’m extremely proud of the work our team is accomplishing,” said EXU-1’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Edgar Britt. “Through our field guides and providing exploitation expertise to critical naval doctrine, EXU-1 is committed to not only deploying forces forward to deliver exploitation capability but also working with our partners to ensure the most lethal and capable force is ready to meet our nation’s needs.”

EXU-1 is an operationally deployable Type II, Echelon V command aligned under Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD). The unit hosts a variety of platoons designed to collect, process, exploit and analyze improvised threats, advanced weapons systems, munitions, ordnance, unmanned systems, and strategic infrastructure on land and sea to provide real-time targeting information and intelligence to EOD forces. EXU-1 was commissioned in June 2018 as an Echelon V command and reports to NSWC IHD Commanding Officer Capt. Eric Correll, who serves as the immediate superior in command to EXU-1.

NSWC IHD — a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy’s Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics, and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, manufacturing and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit, and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.