2011 To Walk the Earth in Safety: U.S. Contributing Agencies

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
July 1, 2011

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: International Emergency Refugee Health Branch

The International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch (IERHB) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides public-health assistance and interventions in the context of humanitarian emergencies such as civil strife, disaster, displacement, drought, famine, genocide, and war.

To date, the IERHB has developed key partnerships with the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, and numerous nongovernmental organizations. Developing partnerships is only one of the goals of IERHB’s public-health mission, which also focuses on investigations, planning, training, and the development of public-health guidelines. To meet these goals, IERHB works through two technical teams, the Complex Humanitarian Emergency Team, which focuses on the challenging health issues that arise from the formation of displaced populations, such as refugees, and the War-related Injury Team, which focuses on the impact of armed conflict on public health.

Since 2004, the IERHB has worked in 40 countries, helping to improve the lives and livelihood of individuals and communities in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, among others.

Point of Contact:
Michael Gerber
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341
telephone: +1 770 488 0695
e-mail: mcg9@cdc.gov
website: www.cdc.gov

Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction

Humanitarian disasters resulting from the illicit proliferation of weapons or accidental explosions of stockpiles filled with aged, deteriorating munitions have the capacity to destabilize individual countries or entire regions. The Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction (RASR) is a coordinated and comprehensive effort to eliminate threats posed by aging, excess, dangerously stored or poorly secured, unstable, or otherwise hazardous stockpiles of conventional weapons and munitions in Southeast Europe. To this end, RASR has developed relationships with numerous partner organizations including the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA), U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, U.S. Defense Ammunition Center, International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance, NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, U.S. European Command, U.S. Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Centre for Security Cooperation, South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Small Arms Survey, the Swiss Implementation and Verification Unit, and the United Nations Development Programme.

On 5–7 May 2009, RASR held its inaugural workshop in Zagreb, Croatia. As a result of this workshop, RASR identified the following five priority issues related to stockpile reduction:

  1. National and regional policy
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Training, education, and capacity building
  4. Sharing of best practices and other information
  5. The standardization of munitions classifications, surveillance systems, and points of contact

The inaugural workshop was followed by a second workshop on 3–5 November 2009 in Budva, Montenegro, and a third on 2–4 November 2010 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both of the subsequent workshops focused on developing practical, effective steps toward progressing in the five identified areas. Representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States have participated in one or more of the workshops, as have representatives from all of the aforementioned organizations. More RASR workshops are planned.

Point of Contact:
Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction
e-mail: info@rasrinitiative.org
website: www.rasrinitiative.org

U.S. Agency for International Development’s Leahy War Victims Fund

First established in 1989 by Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont), USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF) aims to respond to the needs of civilian victims in war-affected countries. The LWVF aids persons with disabilities, particularly those who have sustained mobility-related injuries from explosive remnants of war or anti-personnel landmines. In addition, the LWVF provides assistance for other direct and indirect causes of disability, such as preventable diseases that may arise from interrupted immunization campaigns during or following a war.

The LWVF is housed within the Democracy and Governance office of USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance. The LWVF team works closely with stakeholders to manage the implementation of funds for programs to help victims with physical disabilities as a result of civil strife and warfare. The majority of the funds appropriated for the LWVF are allotted for affordable prosthetics and orthotic services, in addition to essential medical, rehabilitation, and vocational assistance for landmine victims and others with mobility-related disabilities. Since its establishment, the LWVF has disbursed more than $165 million to 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Over the years, the LWVF has expanded its scope beyond caring for only those who need immediate rehabilitation assistance. It also designs and implements development programs that address the changing needs of the populations while establishing the foundations for sustainable services in developing countries. The LWVF strives to strengthen the quality of care for survivors, ensuring that the treatment and equipment provided are used effectively to increase the mobility of disabled persons in conflict-affected countries.

Currently, the LWVF is working regionally and globally with partner organizations such as CURE International, the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics, Motivation Charitable Trust, and the World Health Organization. It also supports country programs in Cambodia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

Point of Contact:
Rob Horvath, Manager
Leahy War Victims Fund
U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C. 20523
telephone: +1 202 712 5239
e-mail: rhorvath@usaid.gov 
website: www.usaid.gov/our_work/humanitarian_assistance/the_funds/

U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is a combat-support agency for the United States Department of Defense. First established in October 1998, DTRA aims to reduce the global threat of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives). DTRA accomplishes this by mitigating these weapons’ effects and by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat. To effectively carry out its mission, DTRA is comprised of several offices and enterprises, each with its own specific objectives and responsibilities.

DTRA became involved with the physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) of small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) in 2001. The SA/LW Branch of DTRA aims to reduce proliferation by aiding foreign governments with security improvements and the management of state-controlled stockpiles of man-portable air-defense systems (also known as MANPADS), SA/LW, and conventional ammunition.

The SA/LW Branch accomplishes these objectives by employing teams of SA/LW experts that provide foreign governments with assessments and technical advice, while also orienting them with the best practices for PSSM. As a result, the efforts of the SA/LW Branch have decreased the availability of weapons to terrorists and insurgents, reduced cross-border weapons transfers that threaten regional stability, and lowered the risk of ammunition accidents. Since 2001, the SA/LW Branch has provided assistance to 58 countries.

Point of Contact:
Defense Threat Reduction Agency
DTRA Public Affairs
8725 John J. Kingman Road
Stop 6201
Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060-6201
telephone: 800-701-5096
e-mail: salw@dtra.mil
website: www.dtra.mil

U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Program

The Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (HD R&D) program focuses on developing technologies to improve the efficiency and safety of removing post-conflict landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). It designs, builds, demonstrates, and evaluates prototype mine- and UXO-clearing technologies for indigenous, host nation-conducted demining operations supported by the United States Department of Defense. HD R&D adapts commercial off-the-shelf equipment, integrates mature technologies, and leverages current developments from the U.S. Army’s counter-mine mission area. The program aims to improve existing technologies for mine/UXO detection, Technical Survey/area reduction, mechanical mine/UXO and vegetation clearance, mine neutralization, individual deminer protection, marking and mapping of mines/minefields, and post-clearance quality assurance.

New technology requirements are identified and validated at a biennial requirements workshop conducted by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict. All prototypes undergo extensive testing in the U.S. before they are deployed to support operational field evaluations (OFEs), an integral aspect of the HD R&D program. During OFEs, equipment capabilities are assessed by host-nation demining partners (foreign military, nongovernmental organizations and mine-action centers) in actual demining conditions. The evaluations allow host countries to operate and test the equipment in active minefields. The evaluations provide feedback to initiate future R&D improvements.

Since 1995, the program has fielded technologies in support of 120 evaluations in 34 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In FY2010 the HD R&D Program performed OFEs in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Chile, Ecuador, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Thailand. Some of the more than 40 technologies being evaluated include the Multi-Tooled Excavator, Explosive Harvesting System, Rotary Mine Comb, Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS), and the Mini MineWolf.

Point of Contact:
Sean Burke, Program Manager
10221 Burbeck Road
Fort Belvoir, Virginia 22060
telephone: +1 703 704 1047
fax: +1 703 704 3001
e-mail: sean.p.burke@us.army.mil
website: www.humanitarian-demining.org

U.S. Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Training Center

The United States Department of Defense’s Humanitarian Demining Training Center (HDTC) is located at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and is the training and information center for the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) program. Established in 1996, HDTC trains and prepares U.S. forces for overseas deployment in support of the U.S. Government (USG) HMA strategy to render landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW)-affected countries mine and ERW safe, “So That Others May Walk the Earth in Safety.”

HDTC collects, analyzes, and disseminates HMA-related information to USG and international organizations to support program and instructional course development, which is performed in accordance with USG policy, International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), and other open-source documentation.

Training at HDTC develops the ability of U.S. forces participating in HMA missions to conduct HMA training support development and provides instructional methods to execute train-the-trainer sessions in landmine clearance and other ERW mitigation. Training focuses on the operational procedures and practices of the host-nation HMA program. Upon completion of the two-week Conventional Weapons Clearance Course, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in subjects ranging from U.S. code and USG policy governing the U.S. HMA program to deminer training tasks in minefield clearance lanes. HDTC curriculum also includes comprehensive strategies and methods to conduct battle-area clearance, provide host nations with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Level 1 training per IMAS and teach basic and advanced combat lifesaver skills.

HDTC receives Overseas Humanitarian Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) funding appropriated through congressional mandate and public law. U.S. forces attending HDTC use OHDACA funding to attend HMA resident courses, conduct requirements and pre-deployment surveys, and conduct HMA training operations. In 2010, HDTC conducted Program Development Visits to Colombia, Jordan, and Laos; held workshops and other training initiatives in Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Spain, and the United States; and participated in HMA-related academic conferences and program management events in the United States and overseas.

Point of Contact:
Jonathan D. Green, Director
U.S. Department of Defense
Defense Security Cooperation Agency
Humanitarian Demining Training Center
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri 65473
telephone: +1 573 563 6199
e-mail: leon.dscapgmhd@conus.army.mil
website: www.wood.army.mil/hdtc

U.S. Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) was founded in October 2003 to develop, implement, and monitor efforts that contribute to post-conflict recovery by eliminating humanitarian risks from conventional weapons. PM/WRA works within a local, regional, and international context to promote peace, stability, and prosperity by mitigating the negative effects created by the proliferation of conventional weapons of war. Furthermore, PM/WRA works to remove and destroy weapons that continue to pose hazards in post-conflict environments.

There are three pillars of PM/WRA’s mission: curb the illicit trafficking and indiscriminate use of conventional weapons of war that contribute to internal instability; pursue such weapons and help the clean-up efforts that occur in post-conflict settings; and engage civil society to expand support for U.S. efforts abroad. Landmines, unexploded ordnance, man-portable air-defense systems (also known as MANPADS), and other small arms and light weapons and conventional munitions are some of the hazards PM/WRA addresses, with the goal of limiting their humanitarian impact and availability to criminal and terrorist groups.

The office also provides grants for many humanitarian and research projects. Half of PM/WRA’s humanitarian assistance is provided through grants to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which carry out numerous initiatives and programs around the world. In addition, through public-private partnerships, PM/WRA works with close to 60 NGOs, civic groups, educational institutions, and philanthropic foundations to help make the world safe from the threat of illicit weapons. Organizations such as the Danish Deming Group, The HALO Trust, MAG (Mines Advisory Group), and the United Nations Mine Action Team collaborate with PM/WRA to create a multilateral approach to mine action and weapons mitigation.

Point of Contact:
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement
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 0100
fax: +1 202 663 0090
website: www.state.gov/t/pm/wra

U.S. Quick Reaction Force

In September 2008, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) awarded a five-year contract to DynCorp International, a global government services provider based in Falls Church, Virginia. The goal of this contract was to create a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) capable of providing humanitarian assistance in the removal or mitigation of conventional weapons, landmines and other unexploded ordnance (UXO) around the globe within three days. In November 2008, the QRF Team was sent on its first deployment to Bulgaria in response to the Chelopechene depot explosion, where they provided technical assistance for UXO clearance and disposal. Between November 2008 and March 2009, clearance operations conducted by the government of Bulgaria, and supported by the QRF, led to the clearance of 38,539 square meters and the recovery of 110,416 pieces of UXO without accident or injury.

QRF teams have since been deployed to Cyprus, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam. After a QRF Assessment Team enters these areas to assess the situation, it develops tentative disposal plans and identifies and coordinates logistics for the QRF Operational Element, which follows up and conducts necessary disposal operations. In addition to these operations, the QRF empowers local authorities by supplying the necessary equipment and training to safely and effectively handle, store and dispose of explosive hazards on their own.

Point of Contact:
Col. Nick Spignesi, Deputy Director
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 0100
fax: +1 202 663 0090
website: www.state.gov/t/pm/wra