The JHPSSL program is focused on building a 100kw laser for force protection and strike missions such as wide-area, ground-based defense against rockets, artillery, and mortars; precision strike missions for airborne platforms, and shipboard defense against cruise missiles.
A reliable, durable, easily portable - as in mountable on a vehicle - high energy laser will be something that's going to shake up a lot. There will be issues with using it inside a city during an occupation - very important that - but as far as an active battlefield? It's going to make taking potshots at troops a whole lot economic. Ditto for aircraft.
While this doesn't help much with the IED issue, another laser-sensor combo that is being worked on has already been demonstrated in the lab: a laser spectrometer. I've been loking for recent news of it, but a quick google is failing me. hmm. I'll search again later.