2014 To Walk the Earth in Safety: U.S. Government Interagency Partners
The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) works to reduce the harmful worldwide effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war. PM/WRA develops, implements, and monitors policy and programs regarding the threat that conventional weapons such as landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), abandoned ordnance, stockpiled conventional munitions, man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and other small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) pose to civilians, economic stability, and U.S. national security.
PM/WRA supports conventional weapons destruction (CWD) programs around the world. PM/WRA funds ground surveys and clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) and assists governments in securing or destroying abandoned and/or stockpiled munitions by funding physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) efforts. Since 1993, PM/WRA has provided over $1.4 billion—a significant portion of the U.S. Government total of $2.3 billion—in support and remains the world’s largest donor of CWD and humanitarian mine action efforts. The CWD program objective is three-fold:
- To enhance regional security by curbing illicit trafficking and the availability of weapons (including MANPADS) to terrorists and criminals
- To increase civilian security through the clearance of ERW and the return of land to productive use
- To promote U.S. foreign policy interests by broadening support for U.S. CWD efforts
In a fiscal environment characterized by increasing budgetary constraints, PM/WRA works to focus its resources in areas in which it can achieve the most humanitarian and security impacts. Clearance of U.S.-origin UXO, SA/LW (including MANPADS) destruction and stockpile security, partner nation capacity building, and emergency response to ERW contamination are becoming increasingly important as landmine-related threats decline. Robust performance standards and rigorous monitoring and evaluation strategies further guide PM/WRA’s resource allocation decisions.
By simultaneously addressing humanitarian needs and increasing international security, PM/WRA demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a set of values that respect human life. PM/WRA works closely with other U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGO), and private sector partners. More than half of PM/WRA’s humanitarian assistance is in the form of grants to international NGOs.
Point of Contact:
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA)
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
SA-3, Suite 6100
2121 Virginia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20522
telephone: +1 202 663 0083
fax: +1 202 663 0090
The United States Agency for International Development manages the Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF). The LWVF, created in 1989, is the foundation of U.S. efforts to respond to the needs of civilian victims of conflict in war-affected developing countries. LWVF provides a dedicated source of financial and technical assistance for people with disabilities, particularly those who sustain mobility-related injuries from explosive remnants of war, anti-personnel landmines, and other direct and indirect causes of disability resulting from armed conflict and civil strife. To date, LWVF has provided more than $217 million in assistance to over 50 countries.
LWVF’s scope has expanded from its original focus on delivering immediate care to include a myriad of development programs that accommodate the changing needs of the populations they serve, as well as establishing the foundations for sustainable services in developing countries. It contributes to the design and enforcement of international standards ensuring that practitioners who provide care to survivors are competent.
In FY2013, LWVF initiated new programs in Burma (Myanmar), Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru, and continued support for programs in Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Vietnam, as well as numerous regional and international initiatives spanning multiple countries.
Point of Contact:
Rob Horvath, Manager
Programs for Vulnerable Populations
U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C. 20523
telephone: +1 202 712 5239
website: http://www.usaid.gov; http://1.usa.gov/1cKOv5E
The Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (HD R&D) Program focuses on the rapid development, testing, demonstration, and validation of technologies that increase the effectiveness and efficiency and enhance the safety of humanitarian demining operations. In particular, it provides technology solutions to the most challenging landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) detection and clearance tasks. HD R&D Program technologies consistently find and remove mines and UXO where manual clearance or mine detection dogs are not feasible, and without which operations partners would be unable to complete and hand over sites. The program improves technologies for mine/UXO detection and mechanical mine/UXO and vegetation clearance.
New technology requirements are identified and validated at a biennial requirements workshop held by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict. All prototypes undergo extensive testing in the United States before they are deployed to support operational field evaluations (OFE), an integral aspect of the HD R&D Program. During OFEs, host-nation demining partners (foreign militaries, nongovernmental organizations, and mine action centers) assess equipment capabilities in actual demining conditions. The evaluations allow host countries to operate and test equipment in active minefields and provide feedback to initiate future R&D improvements.
In FY2013, the HD R&D Program’s technologies cleared 3.3 million square meters (741 acres) of the world’s toughest minefields, removing or destroying 7,529 mines and 13,764 pieces of UXO. To date, its technologies have cleared 23 million square meters (5,683 acres) and removed or destroyed 108,707 mines and pieces of UXO. Since 1995, the program has fielded technologies in support of 160 OFEs in 36 countries. In FY2013, HD R&D performed OFEs in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chile, Iraq, Lebanon, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. Some of the 50 technologies under evaluation include the Badger Multi-Tooled Excavator, Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS), Minehound, Orbit Screen, Rotary Mine Comb, and Scout and Scorpion UXO Detection Systems.
Point of Contact:
Sean Burke, Program Manager
U.S. Army RDECOM CERDEC NVESD
10221 Burbeck Road
Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060
telephone: +1 703 704 1047
fax: +1 703 704 3001
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Humanitarian Demining Training Center (HDTC) is located at Fort Lee, Virginia and is the training and information center for the U.S. Government’s Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) program. Established in 1996, HDTC trains and prepares U.S. forces for overseas deployment in support of DoD HMA strategy to provide training and education in explosive remnants of war (ERW) disposal.
Training at HDTC develops the ability of U.S. forces to provide ERW disposal instruction in a train-the-trainer format, with emphasis on the operational procedures and practices of partner nations’ HMA programs. Provided to partner nations accepted into the U.S. HMA program, training is conducted in accordance with U.S. law, policy, and International Mine Action Standards. Upon completion of the HMA basic course, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in subjects ranging from basic deminer tasks to ERW disposal.
Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) appropriation funds HDTC. U.S. forces use OHDACA funding to attend HDTC HMA courses and conduct pre-deployment surveys, HMA training operations, and partnernation training.
Since its inception, HDTC graduates have performed train-the-trainer missions in 49 nations supporting the U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Southern Command HMA programs.
Point of Contact:
Jonathan D. Green, Director
U.S. Department of Defense
Humanitarian Demining Training Center
1321 Battle Drive, Bldg 9024
Fort Lee, VA 23801-1521 USA
telephone: +1 804 734 7928
Dolphins and sea lions work in three main Marine Mammal Systems: 1) providing swimmer defense for ports and Navy ships; 2) locating and recovering equipment; and 3) alerting U.S. forces to the presence of undersea mines. The program trains and houses the majority of the animals at the program’s home base in San Diego, California, but the program also provides waterside security in Kings Bay, Georgia, and Bangor, Washington. The Marine Mammal Systems deploys anywhere in the world within 72 hours of notification.
The undersea mine detection Marine Mammal System employs bottlenose dolphins to search for, detect, mark, and neutralize mines in water depths ranging from over 1,000 feet to the surf zone, as well as in ports and harbors. Dolphins, with their sophisticated biological sonar, are particularly well suited for precision mine hunting in highly-cluttered areas where numerous underwater items can register on their sonar, including the near shore zone. In addition to mine detection, the dolphins can carry a marker or neutralization charge to place next to the mine. When animals and people are at a safe distance, the explosive ordnance team detonates the charge. If the animals only mark the mine, then divers may retrieve the marker and place neutralization charges.
The U.S. Navy trains dolphins for two-to-three years before they begin work on underwater security projects. Navy dolphins typically live much longer than their counterparts in the wild, and receive round-the-clock medical and dental care. Each animal has a primary and secondary handler. In a typical session, a dolphin works alongside a control boat with an animal handler, assistant, and boat driver. There often is also a second boat, which doubles as the animal transport boat and the dive boat. The dive team usually consists of four-to-five personnel.
Currently supporting mine hunting operations, the Marine Mammal Program provides the U.S. Navy’s only capability for detecting, marking, and neutralizing buried mines.
In 2012 and 2013, the undersea mine detection dolphins participated in U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) sponsored humanitarian mine action operations in Montenegro and Croatia, with support from the DoD Humanitarian Mine Action Program and from the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA). The purpose was to locate and identify underwater explosive remnants of war from the various conflicts that took place in the Balkans during the twentieth century.
Point of Contact:
Navy Marine Mammal Program
telephone: +1 619 553 6313
cellular: +1 619 701 0061
First established in October 1998, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is a combat-support agency for the United States Department of Defense (DoD). DTRA aims to reduce the global threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives. Each of DTRA’s several offices and departments has its own specific objectives and responsibilities, working together to mitigate the effects of WMD by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat.
Through 2014, DTRA also worked to improve the physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) of arms, ammunition, and explosives (AA&E) throughout the world. The DTRA Small Arms Light Weapons (SA/LW) Program aims to reduce proliferation by assisting foreign governments with improving the security, safety, and management of state-controlled stockpiles of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), other SA/LW, and conventional ammunition. Since 2001, the SA/LW Program has provided assistance to more than 75 countries.
Recently, DTRA has partnered with the DoD Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) Program to conduct stockpile management training. Along with the U.S. DoD Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs), the HMA Program provides significant training and readiness-enhancing benefits to partner countries, while helping to alleviate the problems posed by excess and poorly managed ammunition, explosive remnants of war, and abandoned ordnance. DTRA personnel supported HMA mobile training teams by providing instruction on ammunition stockpile management and basic ammunition identification. In FY2013, DTRA and the HMA Program partnered on 14 training missions in seven countries.
In 2014, DTRA’s SA/LW Program conducted its final mission. The HMA Program, in cooperation with the U.S. DoD GCCs, will continue to provide stockpile management assistance to foreign partners, while the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political- Military Affairs (PM/WRA) will continue to fund AA&E stockpile reduction projects and infrastructure enhancements to storage facilities.
Poorly secured stockpiles of AA&E are a threat to people around the world. Enhancing the security and safety of these stockpiles helps to diminish the availability of AA&E to terrorists and insurgents, reduce regional exposure to destabilizing cross-border weapons transfers, and minimize the risk of catastrophic ammunition accidents. DTRA has valued the opportunity to improve the security and safety of stockpiles globally, and it thanks the U.S. interagency and its foreign partners who have been instrumental in providing support. With this help, the SA/LW Program has helped DTRA achieve its goal of “Making the World Safer.”
Point of Contact:
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
DTRA Public Affairs
8725 John J. Kingman Road
Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060-6201
telephone: +1 800 701 5096
In 2002, terrorists attempted to shoot down an Israeli civilian airliner in Mombasa, Kenya, using two man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), calling the world’s attention to this dangerous threat. Elsewhere, terrorists and insurgents have used MANPADS to fight the Multi-National Force in Iraq and International Security Assistance Force troops in Afghanistan; to destroy humanitarian flights in Angola and Sudan; and to attack numerous civilian aircraft across Africa and other continents. Most recently, arms traffickers and violent extremists have capitalized on the instability that accompanied the Arab Spring by looting MANPADS, anti-tank guided missiles, and other advanced conventional weapons (ACW) from state-held stocks in Libya and Syria. Press reports indicate the continued spread of these dangerous conventional weapons has increased, threatening regional stability and international security. A successful attack against a commercial airliner could ground civil aviation for days which would cost the world economy billions of dollars, as it did following 9/11.
What are MANPADS?
A Kygyz demolition team member is shown preparing two SA-7B MANPADS for disposal. [Photo courtesy of Golden West]
A single individual or crew can carry and fire MANPADS, which are surface-to-air missiles. MANPADS were originally developed in the 1960s for national military forces to protect their troops and facilities.
Most MANPADS consist of 1) a missile packaged in a tube; 2) a reusable trigger mechanism (commonly known as a “gripstock”); and 3) a battery. The tubes, which protect the missile until it is fired, are disposable. A single-use battery typically powers the missile prior to launch.
MANPADS launch tubes typically range from about 4 feet to 6.5 feet (1.2–2 meters) in length and are about 3 inches (76 millimeters) in diameter. Their weight, with gripstock, varies from about 28 pounds to just over 55 pounds (13–25 kilograms). Consequently, they are easily transportable and concealable. Some of the most commonly produced MANPADS can fit into an automobile’s trunk.
Although externally similar in appearance, a MANPADS should not be confused with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). MANPADS missiles can achieve twice the speed of sound and strike aircraft flying at altitudes up to approximately 15,000 feet (4.57 kilometers) or out to a horizontal range of up to 3.2 miles (5 kilometers). RPGs are unguided weapons designed primarily for use against ground targets at much closer range and are generally much less effective against aircraft. Some RPG attacks, however, on aircraft flying at low altitudes and relatively slow speeds have been mistaken for MANPADS attacks.
What the Task Force Does
The Interagency MANPADS Task Force (MTF) mitigates the threat posed by the spread of MANPADS in every region of the world. Comprised of experts from relevant departments and agencies, MTF facilitates programs and policies and coordinates actions within the U.S. Government and with partner nations and international organizations. For instance, to enhance the physical security and stockpile management of a partner government’s state-controlled weapons and munitions, MTF may coordinate the activities of the U.S. Departments of State and Defense to build that nation’s capacity to destroy aged, excess, or at-risk ACW and secure other weapons and munitions retained for their national defense. MTF may also help coordinate U.S. approaches with MANPADS exporters and producers in order to track unaccounted for MANPADS and reduce proliferation. Such engagements are a part of U.S. efforts to stop non-state actors from obtaining and potentially using ACW.
Since early 2011, MTF has played a key role in coordinating and facilitating U.S. efforts to mitigate the ACW proliferation threat from Libya, Syria, and other countries suffering from internal instability or regime collapse. This requires attention to crosscutting security issues such as border security assistance and related activities to mitigate the risk that MANPADS outside government control will be trafficked from one country to another.
A successful MANPADS attack against a civilian airliner would be a tragic loss of human life and have far-reaching impacts on international security and stability. To prevent such an attack, MANPADS threat reduction remains a U.S. national security priority .