Around the globe, U.S. support for clearing landmines and explosive remnants of war is saving lives and opening up new economic opportunities for communities recovering from conflicts. The U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction program, overseen by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, has provided more than $4.7 billion to support humanitarian mine action, physical security and stockpile management, and associated activities in more than 100 countries since 1993.
This is difficult and dangerous work, but it is greatly helped by the Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program, which focuses on adapting existing commercial technologies for use in humanitarian demining. These technologies are utilized by our implementing partners: the HALO Trust, Mines Advisory Group, Golden West, and Norwegian People’s Aid.
The Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program is currently funded by the U.S Army. Thanks to generous bipartisan support from Congress over the past 27 years, the technologies it has provided have cleared more than 100 million square meters in 44 countries and removed more than 400,000 mines and unexploded ordnance. It is currently testing 92 separate technologies in 16 countries, with an average of 1-3 years from initial request to the delivery of test equipment to the implementing partner. The demining teams evaluating equipment have never suffered a casualty, and in general, the technological solutions offered are dramatically faster and safer than traditional manual techniques. The unique and innovative work performed through the Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program has transformed humanitarian demining operations around the globe and is essential for ensuring the quick, effective, and efficient delivery of U.S. demining assistance.
The United States remains the world’s largest international donor to Conventional Weapons Destruction, providing more than $4.7 billion to support humanitarian mine action, physical security and stockpile management and associated activities in more than 100 countries since 1993. For more information on how the State Department is strengthening human security, facilitating economic development, and fostering stability through demining, risk education, and other conventional weapons destruction activities, check out our annual report, To Walk the Earth in Safety, and follow us on Twitter @StateDeptPM.
About the Author: Andrew Strike is a Public Affairs Specialist in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.