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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


To Walk the Earth in Safety: The U.S. Commitment to Humanitarian Mine Action
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
June 2006

Logo:  Office of Weapons Removal and AbatementThe Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) creates local, regional and international conditions conducive to peace, stability, and prosperity by curbing the illicit proliferation of conventional weapons of war such as light automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, and by clearing other weapons of war, such as persistent landmines and abandoned stocks of munitions that remain after armed conflict has ended.

PM/WRA also works to limit the proliferation of and better secure man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS). PM/WRA develops, implements, and monitors policy, programs, and public engagement efforts that contribute to the prevention and mitigation of conflict, as well as to post-conflict social and economic recovery. The goals are to curb the illicit trafficking, availability and indiscriminate use of conventional weapons of war that fuel regional and internal instability; pursue and help manage post-conflict cleanup of such weapons in areas needed for civilian use; and engage civil society through Public-Private Partnerships and other forms of outreach to broaden support for these efforts and enhance U.S. influence.

Conventional weapons and munitions addressed by PM/WRA include, but are not limited to, landmines, unexploded ordnance, abandoned ordnance, MANPADS, and other small arms and light weapons. By addressing acute humanitarian needs, this office also demonstrates the United States commitment to a set of values that respects human life. PM/WRA works closely with other U.S. Government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and private enterprises.

U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA)
SA-3, Suite 6100
2121 Virginia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C., 20522
Telephone: 202-663-0100
Fax: 202-663-0090


Logo: Humanitarian Demining Training CenterThe U.S. Department of Defense's Humanitarian Demining Training Center (HDTC) is the U.S. Government focal point for humanitarian mine action training. The Center, located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, provides training and subject-matter expertise for the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) Program. The HDTC's primary mission is to train U.S. military personnel in accordance with International Mine Action Standards in order to assist mine-affected countries in establishing and building a self-sustained, indigenous HMA capacity. Training covers both HMA and explosive ordnance disposal, with special emphasis on mine clearance, mine risk education, management of mine action, and the U.N.-approved Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA).

The HDTC has extensive training areas, a vast collection of inert landmines, mine detectors, personal protective equipment, and educational displays. The facility maintains a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art computer classroom for in-depth IMSMA instruction using software populated with geographic information and infrastructure data from the local Fort Leonard Wood area, including simulated hazard areas. Real-time application allows students to conduct realistic, practical landmine surveys and input this information into the IMSMA system. The HDTC conducts field exercises on the installation using built-up and rural areas that emphasize lesson specific instruction. Surveys are conducted using simulated landmine-hazard areas in housing blocks, on school grounds, and around other nearby infrastructures. The Center also conducts extensive hands-on training with on-site demining training lanes, metal-free detector lanes, mine and UXO identification lanes, a full-scale mine clearance demonstration area, and a functioning Regional Mine Action Center that directly supports mine action situational training exercises.

Since its inception in 1996, the HDTC has trained more than 1,500 U.S. Special Operations Forces personnel who have deployed to 33 mine-affected countries in support of U.S. HMA program goals. The HDTC also trains thousands of other U.S. military, civilian, and non-governmental organization personnel in mine risk education and mine awareness.

Jim Lawrence, Deputy Director, PM/WRA, prepares to search for an inert landmine during an orientation in one of the training lanes at the HDTC. John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

Point of Contact: Rodney Robideau, Director
U.S. Department of Defense Humanitarian Demining Training Center
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri 65473
Telephone: 573-563-6199
Fax: 573-563-5051


Logo: U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors DirectorateThe U.S. Army Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) executes the Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (HD R&D) Program with funding and oversight from the U.S. Department of Defense. The Program develops, tests, demonstrates, and validates technologies that increase the efficiency and enhance the overall safety of humanitarian demining operations. This is accomplished through the adaptation of commercial, off-the-shelf equipment, the application of mature technologies, and leveraging current technology developments from the U.S. Army's Countermine mission area. The Program's primary goal is to field as many prototype technologies as possible for the demining community's use in combating the global landmine problem.

Every year, the HD R&D Program invites representatives from international mine action centers and nongovernmental organizations to its requirements workshop. Based on the needs identified, and on ensuing in country site assessments, decisions are made regarding the next year's R&D efforts, followed by design and development of the required prototype technologies. All prototype technologies undergo extensive testing to ensure that design requirements are met, and that the equipment is ready for immediate use.

The real test of a system is an operational field evaluation in a host nation where the equipment undergoes testing in minefields or mined areas. The evaluation allows host-country personnel to operate the equipment and determine if the prototype is useful, suitable, cost-effective, and efficient. This process is extremely beneficial to all participants. Of prime importance, the host nation has the potential to increase the safety of deminers, and to improve the efficiency of demining operations by using and evaluating the prototype equipment. Simultaneously, the Directorate acquires invaluable feedback, experience, and knowledge, enabling it to be a more productive technology R&D entity.

Sean Burke, Program Manager for the NVESD's Humanitarian Demining Program, demonstrates a state-of-the-art detector to humanitarian deminers from around the world during a day-long field demonstration of demining technology at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. The NVESD hosts an annual requirements workshop for all interested foreign government and non-governmental organization deminers. One of the high points of the workshop is the field day when NVESD technologies being adapted or prototyped are displayed in action. John Stevens, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

Point of Contact: Sean Burke
Department of the Army
10221 Burbeck Road
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 22060
Telephone: 703-704-1047
FAX: 703-704-3001


Mine Action Information Center, MAIC, logoThe Mine Action Information Center (MAIC) on the campus of James Madison University is a public policy center that acts as a clearinghouse for information relevant to humanitarian mine action. Established as a center of excellence in 1996, the MAIC has been a major player in international efforts to ameliorate the effects of persistent landmines. The MAIC supports many clients, including the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations, the governments of Canada and Switzerland, and regional organizations, such as the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance in Slovenia, and the Organization of American States. It manages information topics that span the diverse functions of mine action, such as current mine action news; key organization contact information; studies and surveys; databases (such as IMAS); technological advances; conference events; partnering and employment opportunities; and geographic information system software. These measures are often accomplished through the outreach of the MAIC's Journal of Mine Action published twice each year, the MAIC website and MAIC-hosted seminars, workshops and conferences.

The MAIC conducts the UN Development Program Senior Mine Action Manager's Course, and other related mine action management courses. Additionally, MAIC has planned and conducted mine risk education training in Vietnam.

To help build national mine action capacity, the MAIC offers advanced management training courses to senior mine action officials from around the world. The United Nations Development Program funds these courses, with additional support from PM/WRA. Foreign officials from 17 countries attended the Fall 2004 MAIC Senior Manager's Course. Some, seen here in the left-hand photo, are enjoying an ice cream break on the campus. Mine Action Information Center.

Point of Contact: Dennis Barlow, Director
Mine Action Information Center
James Madison University
One Court Square, MSC 8504
Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22807
Telephone: 540-568-2756
Fax: 540-568-8176


Logo: Mine Detection Dog CenterThe Mine Detection Dog Center (MDDC) for South East Europe was officially opened on October 14, 2003. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs funds the MDDC through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance. The Center, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is recognized by the South East Europe Mine Action Coordination Council.

The Center's principal goal is to develop a local capacity to train the next generation of mine detecting dogs (MDDs) in South East Europe. The first accomplishments in this process were the successful training of two local mine detecting dog trainers and the first six of 12 MDDs and their handlers. The first set of six MDD teams completed training in August 2004, and the MDDC commenced training the second set of six MDDs shortly thereafter. When training of these MDD teams is completed, the MDDC will commence training MDDs for local non-governmental organizations.

The MDDC, in coordination with the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), and other partners, developed "Project Brenda," a mine risk education (MRE) program that combines an MDD team demonstration with MRE lectures to warn children in Bosnia and Herzegovina about the dangers of landmines. The MDDC also organizes workshops for MDD users in Bosnia and Herzegovina in an effort to improve standards and operational procedures, as well as exchange experience, knowledge, and expertise. Additionally, the MDDC is developing seminars for mine dog evaluators, trainers and handlers, and quality-control inspectors.

The MDDC also uses its expertise to teach MRE to children (ages 7-13), so that they will understand signs of danger if they approach a minefield or a former battlefield, and know how to avoid risky behavior, should they encounter potentially dangerous objects.  Here, a group of Boy Scouts from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and friends from Italy, gather around

Point of Contact: Nermin Hadzimujagic, Director
Telephone: 387 036 739-860
Fax: 387 036 769-861


Two RCUD divers prepare to clear an anti-ship underwater mine discovered off the coast of Montenegro. Sea mines left from past conflicts in littoral zones pose a threat to shipping, commercial fishermen, yachters, and recreational divers. Regional Center for Underwater Demining.Logo: Regional Center for Underwater DeminingThe Regional Center for Divers Training in Underwater EOD, also known as the Regional Center for Underwater Demining (RCUD), is located in Bijela, Herceg Novi, in Montenegro. Established on September 24, 2002, it is the first such center in south east Europe to clear and train others to clear landmines, sea mines, and unexploded ordnance in the coastal zone of the Adriatic Sea and in the rivers and other bodies of water in the region affected by the explosive remnants of war from several conflicts dating from as early as World War I.

The RCUD's priorities are to train divers for underwater demining, protect explorers and other professional and recreational divers from being harmed, conduct specialized research, and coordinate their efforts with other demining organizations in the region.

The RCUD receives support from Montenegro, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, the European Union, the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, and the South East Europe Mine Action Coordination Council.

This represents a very small portion of the RCUD's haul of UXO found in shallow waters and even farther out to sea that will eventually be safely destroyed. The RCUD also collects unexploded aerial bombs, artillery shells, and other UXO from rivers and lakes in the region. Regional Center for Underwater Demining.

Point of Contact: Mr. Vesko Mijajlovic
Telephone: 381 88 683 477
Fax: 381 88 683 375


The U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program has provided all manner of mine action assistance—mine clearance; mine risk education; mine survivors assistance; training of national program managers and deminers; training of medical personnel to render aid to injured deminers; personal protective equipment; robust 4x4 vehicles, specialized tractors and mine-resistant demining machines; mine detecting dogs; metal detectors; ambulances for injured deminers and others harmed in a mine incident; aerial medevac capability; and much more—to a greater number of mine-affected countries around the world than those profiled in this edition of To Walk the Earth in Safety.

The United States has provided humanitarian mine action assistance to nearly 50 countries since the interagency program's formal inception in 1993. The following 24 countries and 1 province have received U.S. mine action assistance in the recent past. U.S. mine action assistance normally ceases when the country is able to achieve an adequate indigenous mine action capacity at the conclusion of a specific program, or when the country is rendered free from the humanitarian impact of landmines and unexploded ordnance ("mine impactfree"). Countries and regions in green denote that they are now "mine impact-free."

Previous Recipients of U.S. Mine Action Assistance



Costa Rica



El Salvador























NOTE: Although Suriname was never in the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program, in 2005 the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) airlifted a platoon of Honduran deminers there where, under an OAS program, they cleared landmines from Suriname's last known minefield that year. USSOUTHCOM then flew them home.

*Although rendered free from the humanitarian impact of landmines and UXO ("mine impact-free"), episodic U.S. mine action assistance has continued or may continue in order to help sustain indigenous capacity to deal with those remaining landmines or UXO that are discovered from time to time. This recognizes the fact that no country that has been affected by persistent landmines and other explosive remnants of war during a conflict can ever be guaranteed to be 100% "mine free."

U.S.HUMANITARIAN MINE ACTION PROGRAM FUNDING HISTORY-- Fiscal Years 1993-2006 (Dollars in Thousands)


Richard G. Kidd

James F. Lawrence
Deputy Director, Outreach and Congressional and Public Affairs

Stuart C. Harris
Col., USMC, Deputy Director, Programs

Steve R. Costner
Deputy Director, Policy and Small Arms/Light Weapons

Richard G. Stickels
Chief of Resource Management

John E. Stevens
Public Affairs/Public Diplomacy

Termites built a nest, now hardened to the consistency of concrete, around a persistent anti-personnel landmine emplaced at the base of a tree on Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula. The tree subsequently grew around the mine, further adding to the difficulty to clear it. This scene, observed at a HALO Trust demining site adjacent to an inhabited village, illustrates how natural conditions can complicate an already delicate task if persistent landmines are not immediately cleared after conflict has ceased. John Stevens, Offi ce of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

Challenge coin of the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program (formerly the U.S. Humanitarian Demining Program) that is given to foreign recipients of U.S. mine action aid and whose logo also appears on vehicles and other specialized mine clearance equipment that is donated by the United States. The U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program is an inter-agency initiative whose various programs in the field—mine clearance, mine survivors assistance, mine risk education and research and development—are operated by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Agency for International Development's Patrick J. Leahy War Victims Fund and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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TELEPHONE : 202.663.0100
FAX: 202.663.0090

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