2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: U.S. Quick Reaction Force (QRF)

Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2015 Description: A broken minefield sign in Serbia. Heavy flooding in Serbia in 2014 dislodged landmines and UXO from previously identified sites, creating an urgent safety situation that was managed by the QRF.  © Photo courtesy of Golden West.

In 2014, flooding in the Balkans unearthed deadly explosives left over from past conflicts. When the governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia requested assistance, the United States deployed the QRF to survey the flood zones and assist local authorities to save lives and prevent injuries.

It is precisely for emergencies such as this that PM/WRA established the QRF, capable of responding to any CWD emergency anywhere in the world within 48 hours. A versatile team of more than 60 experts in the fields of explosive ordnance disposal, unexploded ordnance remediation, physical security and stockpile management, and landmine clearance, the QRF is equipped to handle a full range of SA/LW and humanitarian mine action tasks. In 2013, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, a nonprofit CWD implementer based in Woodland Hills, California, took over responsibility for administering the QRF, establishing the team’s operational headquarters in Springfield, Virginia.

After receiving a PM/WRA deployment request, a QRF advance team deploys to assess the situation, render immediate assistance, and develop plans for a broader response by the larger QRF Operational Element. Deployment of the Operational Element is not always necessary. For instance, while the QRF found evidence of displaced UXO in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia after the flooding, the teams concluded that both countries had the humanitarian mine action capacity to respond effectively to the situation. In cases where follow-up is necessary, PM/WRA may deploy the Operational Element for up to 90 days to complete the task at hand. While conducting operations, the QRF mentors and trains local security forces to safely and effectively handle, store, and dispose of hazards, including SA/LW and MANPADS, on their own.

Since its inception, the QRF, and its precursor the Quick Reaction Demining Force, 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, Tuvalu, Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Point of Contact:
Shaun Lieb, DoD Coordinator | EOD Technical Advisor
Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA)
Department of State
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
SA-3, Suite 6100
2121 Virginia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20522
USA

telephone: +1 202 663 0093
fax: +1 202 663 0090
website: http://state.gov/t/pm/wra