2014 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Implementation Tools and Fora
In 2008, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Political Military Bureau (PM/WRA) replaced its Quick Reaction Demining Force (QRDF) with the Quick Reaction Force (QRF), in recognition of the broader capabilities needed to effectively respond to a full range of conventional weapons destruction emergencies. In 2013, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, a nonprofit mine action organization based in Woodland Hills, California, took over responsibility for administering the QRF. The QRF complements international humanitarian operations and post-conflict stability initiatives in the host nation, allowing them to proceed unhindered by the presence of explosive hazards.
The QRDF and QRF have deployed to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, Libya, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Saint Kitts, Serbia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Uruguay, and Vietnam. After a QRF team enters an area to assess the situation, it develops tentative disposal plans and identifies and coordinates logistics for the QRF Operational Element, which conducts necessary disposal operations. In addition to these operations, QRF mentors and trains local forces to safely and effectively handle, store, and dispose of hazards, including small arms and light weapons and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), on their own.
Point of Contact:
Melissa Windecker, QRF Program Manager
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 0096
fax: +1 202 663 0090
In May–June 2013, the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) at James Madison University (JMU) conducted its ninth Senior Managers’ Course in ERW and Mine Action (SMC). CISR, working in close collaboration with faculty from JMU’s College of Business, has hosted these courses on the JMU campus since 2004, initially with funding from the U.N. Development Programme. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) became the course sponsor starting in 2010.
The course participants are selected from a wide pool of applicants and are leaders in their respective national mine action and explosive remnants of war (ERW) programs. In 2013, 14 students from 13 different countries attended the fourweek course. Diverse backgrounds and experience enhance the course as students share unique perspectives and exchange ideas with classmates from countries facing similar challenges.
SMC draws on the expertise of internationally-recognized JMU professors and other subject-area experts to apply the best management practices to situations in the field. The program aims to hone the skills of senior managers from national ERW and mine action programs so that countries can more effectively and efficiently clear their territory of landmines and other ERW that adversely affect their citizens’ well-being and impinge upon economic development. Participants refine program management and strategic planning skills, developing a professional network for continued collaboration with classmates, JMU faculty, CISR staff, and PM/WRA personnel.
The SMC curriculum provides instruction in three main areas:
- Participants develop skills needed by effective managers, such as oral and written communication, time management, and media relations.
- Faculty provide management training with an emphasis on application in the field, including strategic planning, project management, leadership skills, and human resource management.
- Subject-area experts enhance managers’ knowledge of humanitarian ERW and mine action challenges, techniques, and emerging practices.
Graduates of the SMC return to their national programs with the skills to carry out their vital humanitarian mission more effectively. Since 2010, SMC participants have come from Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Colombia, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Nepal, Senegal, Slovenia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam.
After successfully holding the Senior Managers’ Course on the JMU campus for the past nine years, CISR introduced a redesigned SMC in 2014. CISR is altering future iterations of the program to a regionally-focused model that will reflect the evolving context and requirements of the field of ERW and mine action. This approach will allow greater flexibility to tailor the curriculum, course location and capacity building objectives to fit the needs of training recipients. CISR held the first regional course in Tajikistan in May 2014.
Point of Contact:
Suzanne Fiederlein, Ph.D.
Center for International Stabilization & Recovery
James Madison University
800 South Main Street, MSC 4902
Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA 22807
telephone: +1 540 568 5715
The Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction (RASR) is a long-term coordinated effort to address the threats that excess, dangerously-stored, poorly-secured, unstable, or otherwise hazardous stockpiles of conventional weapons and munitions pose in Southeast Europe. RASR works to prevent disastrous explosions and destabilizing illicit diversion of these stockpiles with the ultimate goal of contributing to regional security.
RASR engages the expertise of the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA), the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and U.S. European Command, along with the Slovenia-based ITF Enhancing Human Security, the NATO Support Agency, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, RACVIAC Center for Security Cooperation, South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Small Arms Survey, and the Swiss Implementation and Verification Unit of the Swiss Army.
RASR held its inaugural workshop in Zagreb, Croatia, in May 2009. In attendance were Southeastern European government officials who have authority over the management of their countries’ stockpiles, along with officials from relevant donor government agencies and various experts on arms and munitions issues. As a result of this workshop, RASR identified five priority issues related to stockpile reduction:
- National and regional policy
- Training, education, and capacity building
- Sharing of best practices and other information
- Standardization of munitions classifications, surveillance systems, and points of contact
Six more RASR workshops occurred between 2009 and 2014; the most recent workshop was held in Sofia, Bulgaria in May 2014. Some of the workshops have included field visits to military logistical facilities and a demilitarization factory. The 2013 workshop was the first to include participants at the Deputy Minister of Defense level. Representatives from the United States and European states who participate in these RASR workshops have the opportunity to network and build professional relationships, share practices and lessons learned, encourage regional stockpile reduction efforts that leverage economies of scale, obtain information on technical and financial assistance, and contribute to regional stability.
Point of Contact:
Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction
According to Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, the United States has “helped to dramatically reduce the world’s annual landmine casualty rate. In 1999 the casualty rate was over 9,000 annually and that number dropped to less than 4,000 in 2012.” This is an example of the significant value of public-private partnerships between the U.S. Government, private industry and nongovernmental organizations (NGO), Gottemoeller noted on April 2, 2014. Gottemoeller was one of several speakers at an event MAG (Mines Advisory Group) organized marking the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (April 4) and celebrating MAG’s 25th anniversary. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont hosted the event in the Russell Senate Office Building, which included a photography exhibit of MAG’s work around the world. U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania hosted a reception following the exhibit kick off.
This event was just one example of how the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) works with implementing partners domestically to help raise awareness about the U.S. Government’s support for international humanitarian mine action and conventional weapons destruction (CWD) programs. Other domestic events included a panel discussion at the United Nations Mission to the U.N. in New York and an exhibit at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.
PM/WRA Director Stanley Brown moderated the USUN-hosted panel discussion on “Saving Lives and Securing the Future: NGO Perspectives on Mine Removal and Assistance,” held on April 8, 2014. Panel participants included representatives from a few of PM/WRA’s NGO implementing partners working on U.S. CWD projects around the world:
- Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) at James Madison University Senior Project Manager Lindsay Aldrich spoke about CISR’s PM/WRA-funded publications and global information resources for the humanitarian mine action community, mine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) risk education and survivor assistance for refugees, and regional senior management training courses in ERW and mine action.
- The HALO Trust (HALO) Program Manager Zachary Brooks-Miller presented on HALO’s humanitarian demining work around the world, highlighting current PM/WRA-funded projects in Laos clearing ERW.
- Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) Vice President of Operations Elise Becker shared personal stories of MLI’s survivor assistance work, particularly the Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS), which partners with donors such as PM/WRA and schools in the United States to raise awareness and funds for survivor assistance programs overseas.
At the USA Science & Engineering Festival on April 26 and 27, 2014, PM/WRA joined with NGO partner Golden West Humanitarian Foundation to show how science and technology are an essential part of foreign policy. At the festival, an interactive exhibit demonstrated how Golden West uses advanced 3-D printing technology to create models of landmines and military ordnance for explosive ordnance disposal training. Golden West Design Lab Director Allen Tan came from Cambodia to showcase the project and answer visitors’ questions about the hands-on displays. The exhibit demonstrated a real world example of how advanced engineering helps safely clear ERW in post-conflict countries.
Domestic events such as these raise awareness and provide insight to the American public about conventional weapons issues worldwide and highlight U.S. Government and implementing partners’ efforts to ensure that all may be able “to walk the Earth in safety.”
The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) launched the Public-Private Partnerships Program in October 1997 to enlist civil society support for clearing persistent landmines and explosive remnants of war, teaching mine risk education, and rendering assistance to survivors of landmine and unexploded ordnance incidents around the world.
Association of Volunteers in International Service | Center for International Rehabilitation | Center for International Stabilization and Recovery at James Madison University | Center for Teaching International Relations | Centro Integral de Rehabilitación de Colombia Children of Armenia Fund | Children’s Surgical Centre | C King Associates Ltd | Coalition Against Landmines | Cranfield Mine Action DanChurchAid | Danish Demining Group | Demining Agency for Afghanistan | EOD Solutions Inc. | Fenix Insight Ltd. | Freedom Fields USA | Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining | Global Care Unlimited | Golden West Humanitarian Foundation Grapes for Humanity Global Foundation | The HALO Trust | Handicap International | Health Volunteers Overseas | Help Handicapped International | Humpty Dumpty Institute | Information Management and Mine Action Programs | International Eurasia Press Fund Invacare Corporation | ITF Enhancing Human Security | Iraqi Mine/UXO Clearance Organization | The Julia Burke Foundation | Landmine Relief Fund | Landmines Blow! | Legacies of War | Lipscomb University | MAG (Mines Advisory Group) | Mine Clearance Planning Agency – Afghanistan | Mine Detection Center – Afghanistan | Marshall Legacy Institute | Medical Care Development International | Messiah College Landmine Action Project | M.I.N.D. Labs (Michigan State University) | One Sri Lanka Foundation Organization for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation | PeaceTrees Vietnam | People to People International | Polus Center for Social and Economic Development | Positive Play | Prestige Health Care Technologies | Project RENEW | Prosthetics Outreach Foundation | Quality Solutions International | Roots of Peace | Rotarians for Mine Action | Save the Children | Schonstedt Instrument Company | Southpac Consulting | Spirit of Soccer | Survey Action Center | Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) | Torrens Resilience Group | United for Colombia | World Education | World Rehabilitation Fund
International Organizations/Other Entities
Organization of American States | United Nations Children’s Fund United Nations Development Programme | United Nations Mine Action Service