Bomb-sniffing dogs yielding to electronic sensors, technology in Afghanistan.

U.S. Air Force military working dog Jackson sits on a…

U.S. Air Force military working dog Jackson sits on a U.S. Army M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle before heading out on a mission in Kahn Bani Sahd, Iraq, Feb. 13, 2007. His handler is Tech. Sgt. Harvey Holt, of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall

“Among the systems, we still employ the dogs, but we’re sort of de-emphasizing them because we find that other technologies are far more effective,” said Rod Korba, a spokesman for the Defense Department’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).

Today, under Gen. Oates‘ successor, Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, JIEDDO is de-emphasizing the role of dogs and touting air- and ground-based sensors designed to detect the enemy’s ever-changing types of buried bombs.

In some cases, the dogs become more of a soldier’s companion than an animal programmed to find a certain scent, Mr. Korba said.

“What we have discovered about the dog-scent concept is that they’re not as successful under certain circumstances as they could be,” he said. “It turns out if you treat the dog like a machine, it does a very, very effective job.

Source: Rowan Scarborough for the The Washington Times.

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