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Exclamation President Trump directs US military to loosen restrictions on landmine use

President Trump directs US military to loosen restrictions on landmine use
By: Shawn Snow - Military Times - 02-01-20
Re: https://www.militarytimes.com/flashp...20Bird%20Brief

Photo link: https://www.armytimes.com/resizer/eW...XQKEUNQHOM.jpg
Soldiers of the 789th Ordnance Company prepare a cache of landmines, mortars, and 107mm rockets to be disposed of by a high explosives charge, near Besmaya Region Southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Army researchers are designing smarter, safer and more mobile landmines for future operations. (Army)

The U.S. is ending a restriction on the use of anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula, according to a White House statement Friday.

The White House said it was ending an Obama administration policy because it endangers U.S. troops in a near-peer fight.

“The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama Administration’s policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The President is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops,” the White House announced in a press release.

The White House said the new policy will afford combatant commanders the ability in “exceptional circumstances” to use “advanced, non-persistent landmines specifically designed to reduce unintended harm to civilians and partner forces.”

Victorino Mercado, who is performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, told reporters Friday that new anti-personnel landmine technology, such as self-deactivating and self-destructing features, now allows the military to both protect the force and mitigate risk to civilians.

“Landmines, including APL [anti-personnel landmines] remain a vital tool in conventional warfare that the United States military cannot responsibly forgo, particularly when faced with substantial and potentially overwhelming enemy forces in the early stages of combat,” Mercado said.

The new policy, he explained, is about rebalancing a “diminishing advantage” where near-peer adversaries could challenge the U.S. on the battlefield.

“We do not allow our forces , our commanders, to employ a capability when they do, and they have thousands,” Mercado said.

Mercado explained that the change in the landmine policy is about addressing the near-peer threat and great power competition. He told reporters that he did not envision them being used in more permissible battlefields like Afghanistan.

“We can create areas for the enemy to avoid,” Mercado said. In one scenario, U.S. troops could be outnumbered and the use of anti-personnel land mines could be an “enormous equalizer to allow more forces to flow in,” Mercado explained.

The use of the anti-personnel landmines must be approved by a four-star commander, with “ultimate plans” being approved by the secretary of defense.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon Friday that landmines are an “important tool” that can reduce risk to forces and “ensure mission success.”

Esper said the new landmine policy was developed under then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Mercado explained Mattis’ review of the existing landmine policy kicked off in 2017 and lasted nearly a year.

“This action is yet another in a series of actions taken by the Trump Administration to give our military the flexibility and capability it needs to win,” the White House said in a press release.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy described President Donald Trump’s plan to roll back the land mine policy Friday “as perplexing as it is disappointing, and reflexive, and unwise. As far as I know, Congress was not consulted about this decision, despite requests to be consulted."

On Thurday, the Vermont Senator said the plan was of “great concern,” and he asked for the Pentagon to hold off on a decision until the issue was discussed.

“The current policy, limiting the use of this inherently indiscriminate weapon to the Korean Peninsula, is the culmination of nearly 30 years of incremental steps, taken by both Democratic and Republican administrations after extensive analysis and consultation, toward the growing global consensus that anti-personnel mines should be universally banned," Leahy said in a press release.

“We have also spent billions of dollars clearing landmines and other unexploded ordnance, and we have supported programs in dozens of countries to help people severely disabled by landmines regain their mobility and support themselves and their families,” Leahy said in the release.

Leahy explained Friday that landmines threaten U.S. troops and can impede their mobility on the battlefield.

“This is so even for mines that are designed to self-destruct or deactivate, but are no more able to distinguish a civilian or U.S. soldier from an enemy combatant,” Leahy said.

Mercado explained that commanders are still responsible for the minefields placed under their command.

Commanders are “still required to take some mitigation measures to avoid civilian casualties," he said.

“Reliability of self-destruct and self-deactivate safety features in the current inventory [landmines] is very high: there is only a 6 in 1 million chance of a U.S. landmine being active after a pre-determined period,” Mercado said.


CNN first broke the news that the U.S. was planning to make changes to the landmine policy.

About Shawn Snow: Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.
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More: Who invented landmines?

A. Chinese: In Europe, Pedro Navarro invented land mines in the early 1500s. The designs made by Samuel Zimmerman of Germany were realized in 1600. The landmines invented by the Chinese were lit simultaneously and created a bomb effect when they exploded below the soldier's feet.

B. A History of Landmines. Precursors of the weapon are said to have first been used in the American Civil War in the 1800s. But antipersonnel mines were first used on a wide scale in World War II. Since then they have been used in many conflicts, including in the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War.

C. Landmines. ... Anti-personnel landmines are prohibited under the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (or Mine Ban Convention), adopted in 1997. More than 150 countries have joined this treaty.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Historic Innovation of Land Mines—And Why We’ve Struggled to Get Rid of Them
Re: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innov...hem-180962276/

Decades of internecine fighting and invasions by foreign forces into Afghanistan have left a deadly legacy for the country’s residents. In 2016, nearly 1,000 children were killed in Afghanistan, the most since the United Nations began keeping track seven years ago, in large part due to a 66 percent increase in casualties from land mines. With Islamic State (ISIS) militants making indiscriminate use of these violent, hidden weapons across Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem is far from over.

How did this insidious weapon, with its long-lasting consequences that disproportionately affect civilians, come to be so prevalent?

While the use of explosive devices goes back to 13th-century China, when the Song Dynasty military used bombs to fend off invading Mongolians, the land mine didn’t take its modern form as a metal container rigged with gunpowder, a fuse and a detonation cap until the American Civil War. These “torpedoes” or “subterra shells” were pioneered by Gabriel Rains, a native North Carolinian who began the war fighting for the Union, before resigning to join his fellows in the Confederate Army. Rains, whose U.S. Military Academy records indicated a high aptitude for chemistry and artillery, first experimented with a tactical explosive device in April 1840, during the Seminole Wars in Florida. But it wasn’t until the Civil War that his invention was put to wide use.

The “Rains Patent” was a mine made of sheet iron, with a fuse protected by a brass cap covered with a solution of beeswax. It was detonated either by direct contact with the friction primer of the buried shell, or movement of an object attached to the primer by strings or wires, such as a tool like a hammer or shears.

The Historic Innovation of Land Mines—And Why We’ve Struggled to Get Rid of Them
A number of researchers are developing tools to defuse or detonate land mines without harming civilians
land mines.jpg
Children have been crippled by land mines in Cambodia. (trekholidays/iStock)
By Lorraine Boissoneault
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
FEBRUARY 24, 2017
1832
Decades of internecine fighting and invasions by foreign forces into Afghanistan have left a deadly legacy for the country’s residents. In 2016, nearly 1,000 children were killed in Afghanistan, the most since the United Nations began keeping track seven years ago, in large part due to a 66 percent increase in casualties from land mines. With Islamic State (ISIS) militants making indiscriminate use of these violent, hidden weapons across Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem is far from over.

How did this insidious weapon, with its long-lasting consequences that disproportionately affect civilians, come to be so prevalent?

While the use of explosive devices goes back to 13th-century China, when the Song Dynasty military used bombs to fend off invading Mongolians, the land mine didn’t take its modern form as a metal container rigged with gunpowder, a fuse and a detonation cap until the American Civil War. These “torpedoes” or “subterra shells” were pioneered by Gabriel Rains, a native North Carolinian who began the war fighting for the Union, before resigning to join his fellows in the Confederate Army. Rains, whose U.S. Military Academy records indicated a high aptitude for chemistry and artillery, first experimented with a tactical explosive device in April 1840, during the Seminole Wars in Florida. But it wasn’t until the Civil War that his invention was put to wide use.

The “Rains Patent” was a mine made of sheet iron, with a fuse protected by a brass cap covered with a solution of beeswax. It was detonated either by direct contact with the friction primer of the buried shell, or movement of an object attached to the primer by strings or wires, such as a tool like a hammer or shears.


Following the Siege of Yorktown in the spring of 1862, Rains and his men planted land mines along their route as the Confederate Army retreated. The explosives lined the road to Richmond and the abandoned fort, and were a horrifying surprise to the Union soldiers, writes historian W. Davis Waters. “Periodic explosions disturbed the quietness of Yorktown as unsuspecting Union cavalrymen and their horses moved through the abandoned Confederate fortification only to have the ground ripped beneath them.”

The soldiers were petrified and the generals appalled. “The rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct in placing torpedoes within the abandoned works near wells and springs, and near flag-staffs, magazines, and telegraph offices, in carpet-bags, barrels of flour, etc.,” went the statement from Union General George McClellan in the May 12, 1862 edition of the New York Herald.

Even Confederate generals expressed some qualms about the use of these subterra torpedoes, and briefly banned their use. But as the tides of war continued to turn against the Confederates, the generals grew less reluctant. Eventually Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph drafted the ethical standards for the use of the torpedoes. As Rains himself said, “Each new invention of war has been assailed and denounced as barbarous and anti-Christian. Yet each in its own turn notwithstanding has taken its position by the universal consent of nations according to its efficiency in human slaughter.”

Before long, Confederates had found ingenious ways to hide the bombs, wiring them so that they detonated upon direct contact, or by moving the articles attached to the primer. An especially well-disguised version was the “coal torpedo,” whose iron container was coated in beeswax then powdered with coal dust. Confederate soldiers could slip these into Union coal supplies, and when the fake nuggets of coal were unwittingly placed in the burner of a steam engine, the whole vessel would explode.

Although there are no precise figures on how many soldiers were killed and maimed by land mines, what’s known is how many ships they wrecked: 35 belonging to the Union and one of the Confederates. Rains reported 2,363 land mines were hidden around Richmond, and more were buried elsewhere throughout the South. They were so widespread that land mines continued to be recovered as late as the 1960s in Alabama.

From the Civil War, land mine technology spread rapidly around the world. The use of the devices was widespread throughout WWI and WWII, and in regional conflicts that occurred during the Cold War. By the 1990s, more than 26,000 people were victims of land mines each year.

“In the post-Cold War years—1989, 1999—the largest refugee population in the world were Afghanis and Pakistanis. They were being blown up by the thousands,” says Ken Rutherford, a professor of political science at James Madison University and the director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery. “What we’re talking about is a weapon of mass destruction that moves in slow motion.”

So began efforts to launch the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The group organized a Mine Ban Treaty that called for banning the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel land mines and required countries to destroy their stockpiles, clear affected areas of mines, and assist victims. Rutherford, who is himself a bilateral lower leg amputee due to a near-fatal land mine injury he sustained in 1993 in Somalia, played a role in bringing the treaty to fruition.

“For a year I really believed my story was kind of different and odd, a freak accident,” Rutherford says of the period immediately after he was injured. “I’m a Colorado boy, I’m telling people and they don’t believe it and I don’t believe it. But my story wasn’t unique, it wasn’t special at all. The real strange thing is so many people were being maimed and killed and nobody was writing about it.”

When the final draft of the treaty was written in 1997, over 120 countries became signatories; now, 162 have signed it, including all countries in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba and the United States. The U.S. is a leader in combating land mines, Rutherford says, and was the first country to permanently ban the export of land mines. The refusal to sign the treaty comes down to North Korea; if North Korean forces invade South Korea, the U.S. wants to be able to deter an invasion with the weapons of our choice.

The Historic Innovation of Land Mines—And Why We’ve Struggled to Get Rid of Them
A number of researchers are developing tools to defuse or detonate land mines without harming civilians
land mines.jpg
Children have been crippled by land mines in Cambodia. (trekholidays/iStock)
By Lorraine Boissoneault
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
FEBRUARY 24, 2017
1832
Decades of internecine fighting and invasions by foreign forces into Afghanistan have left a deadly legacy for the country’s residents. In 2016, nearly 1,000 children were killed in Afghanistan, the most since the United Nations began keeping track seven years ago, in large part due to a 66 percent increase in casualties from land mines. With Islamic State (ISIS) militants making indiscriminate use of these violent, hidden weapons across Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem is far from over.

How did this insidious weapon, with its long-lasting consequences that disproportionately affect civilians, come to be so prevalent?

While the use of explosive devices goes back to 13th-century China, when the Song Dynasty military used bombs to fend off invading Mongolians, the land mine didn’t take its modern form as a metal container rigged with gunpowder, a fuse and a detonation cap until the American Civil War. These “torpedoes” or “subterra shells” were pioneered by Gabriel Rains, a native North Carolinian who began the war fighting for the Union, before resigning to join his fellows in the Confederate Army. Rains, whose U.S. Military Academy records indicated a high aptitude for chemistry and artillery, first experimented with a tactical explosive device in April 1840, during the Seminole Wars in Florida. But it wasn’t until the Civil War that his invention was put to wide use.

The “Rains Patent” was a mine made of sheet iron, with a fuse protected by a brass cap covered with a solution of beeswax. It was detonated either by direct contact with the friction primer of the buried shell, or movement of an object attached to the primer by strings or wires, such as a tool like a hammer or shears.



Following the Siege of Yorktown in the spring of 1862, Rains and his men planted land mines along their route as the Confederate Army retreated. The explosives lined the road to Richmond and the abandoned fort, and were a horrifying surprise to the Union soldiers, writes historian W. Davis Waters. “Periodic explosions disturbed the quietness of Yorktown as unsuspecting Union cavalrymen and their horses moved through the abandoned Confederate fortification only to have the ground ripped beneath them.”

The soldiers were petrified and the generals appalled. “The rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct in placing torpedoes within the abandoned works near wells and springs, and near flag-staffs, magazines, and telegraph offices, in carpet-bags, barrels of flour, etc.,” went the statement from Union General George McClellan in the May 12, 1862 edition of the New York Herald.

Even Confederate generals expressed some qualms about the use of these subterra torpedoes, and briefly banned their use. But as the tides of war continued to turn against the Confederates, the generals grew less reluctant. Eventually Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph drafted the ethical standards for the use of the torpedoes. As Rains himself said, “Each new invention of war has been assailed and denounced as barbarous and anti-Christian. Yet each in its own turn notwithstanding has taken its position by the universal consent of nations according to its efficiency in human slaughter.”

Before long, Confederates had found ingenious ways to hide the bombs, wiring them so that they detonated upon direct contact, or by moving the articles attached to the primer. An especially well-disguised version was the “coal torpedo,” whose iron container was coated in beeswax then powdered with coal dust. Confederate soldiers could slip these into Union coal supplies, and when the fake nuggets of coal were unwittingly placed in the burner of a steam engine, the whole vessel would explode.

Although there are no precise figures on how many soldiers were killed and maimed by land mines, what’s known is how many ships they wrecked: 35 belonging to the Union and one of the Confederates. Rains reported 2,363 land mines were hidden around Richmond, and more were buried elsewhere throughout the South. They were so widespread that land mines continued to be recovered as late as the 1960s in Alabama.


From the Civil War, land mine technology spread rapidly around the world. The use of the devices was widespread throughout WWI and WWII, and in regional conflicts that occurred during the Cold War. By the 1990s, more than 26,000 people were victims of land mines each year.

“In the post-Cold War years—1989, 1999—the largest refugee population in the world were Afghanis and Pakistanis. They were being blown up by the thousands,” says Ken Rutherford, a professor of political science at James Madison University and the director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery. “What we’re talking about is a weapon of mass destruction that moves in slow motion.”

So began efforts to launch the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The group organized a Mine Ban Treaty that called for banning the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel land mines and required countries to destroy their stockpiles, clear affected areas of mines, and assist victims. Rutherford, who is himself a bilateral lower leg amputee due to a near-fatal land mine injury he sustained in 1993 in Somalia, played a role in bringing the treaty to fruition.

“For a year I really believed my story was kind of different and odd, a freak accident,” Rutherford says of the period immediately after he was injured. “I’m a Colorado boy, I’m telling people and they don’t believe it and I don’t believe it. But my story wasn’t unique, it wasn’t special at all. The real strange thing is so many people were being maimed and killed and nobody was writing about it.”

When the final draft of the treaty was written in 1997, over 120 countries became signatories; now, 162 have signed it, including all countries in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba and the United States. The U.S. is a leader in combating land mines, Rutherford says, and was the first country to permanently ban the export of land mines. The refusal to sign the treaty comes down to North Korea; if North Korean forces invade South Korea, the U.S. wants to be able to deter an invasion with the weapons of our choice.

“I’m proud of our country that we [support demining and help victims], but I’m not so proud because there are a lot of countries that look to the U.S. for leadership,” Rutherford says.

Today a number of organizations focus their energy on assembling a toolbox of technology for the continuing effort to eradicate land mines. One example is TIRAMISU, a research program that received funding from the European Commission and has collaborated with 26 groups around Europe for the research and development of new demining tools. The goal of these toolboxes is to assist in locating the mines, excavating them, and defusing or detonating them without any loss of life.

“I am very optimistic in our ability to create demining technology or to use at our advantage technology developed for other purposes, such as drones, tablets, etc.,” said TIRAMISU project coordinator Yann Yvinec by email.

The most widely used tools are metal detectors, Yvenic said, which have become so sensitive that they can detect tiny pieces of metal. But using metal detectors is a time-consuming process, since they require deminers (who work on the ground with various tools to locate, excavate and deactivate land mines) to investigate all kinds of metal, not just land mines. In some cases, an area that is mined can be up to 98 percent mine-free, making it a time-consuming process. When Cambodia cleared 54 square kilometers of land and destroyed 20,000 land mines in 2014, the country accounted for 27 percent of the worldwide total clearance for that year. Demining is a slow, dangerous business, with no obvious end in site.

“More than 100 tons of unexploded ordinance are found in Belgium alone every year, and most of it dates from WWI,” Yvinec said. “I’ll therefore not venture an estimation of the time it will take to remove all mines and unexploded ordinance.”

The Historic Innovation of Land Mines—And Why We’ve Struggled to Get Rid of Them
A number of researchers are developing tools to defuse or detonate land mines without harming civilians
land mines.jpg
Children have been crippled by land mines in Cambodia. (trekholidays/iStock)
By Lorraine Boissoneault
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
FEBRUARY 24, 2017
1832
Decades of internecine fighting and invasions by foreign forces into Afghanistan have left a deadly legacy for the country’s residents. In 2016, nearly 1,000 children were killed in Afghanistan, the most since the United Nations began keeping track seven years ago, in large part due to a 66 percent increase in casualties from land mines. With Islamic State (ISIS) militants making indiscriminate use of these violent, hidden weapons across Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the problem is far from over.

How did this insidious weapon, with its long-lasting consequences that disproportionately affect civilians, come to be so prevalent?

While the use of explosive devices goes back to 13th-century China, when the Song Dynasty military used bombs to fend off invading Mongolians, the land mine didn’t take its modern form as a metal container rigged with gunpowder, a fuse and a detonation cap until the American Civil War. These “torpedoes” or “subterra shells” were pioneered by Gabriel Rains, a native North Carolinian who began the war fighting for the Union, before resigning to join his fellows in the Confederate Army. Rains, whose U.S. Military Academy records indicated a high aptitude for chemistry and artillery, first experimented with a tactical explosive device in April 1840, during the Seminole Wars in Florida. But it wasn’t until the Civil War that his invention was put to wide use.

The “Rains Patent” was a mine made of sheet iron, with a fuse protected by a brass cap covered with a solution of beeswax. It was detonated either by direct contact with the friction primer of the buried shell, or movement of an object attached to the primer by strings or wires, such as a tool like a hammer or shears.



Following the Siege of Yorktown in the spring of 1862, Rains and his men planted land mines along their route as the Confederate Army retreated. The explosives lined the road to Richmond and the abandoned fort, and were a horrifying surprise to the Union soldiers, writes historian W. Davis Waters. “Periodic explosions disturbed the quietness of Yorktown as unsuspecting Union cavalrymen and their horses moved through the abandoned Confederate fortification only to have the ground ripped beneath them.”

The soldiers were petrified and the generals appalled. “The rebels have been guilty of the most murderous and barbarous conduct in placing torpedoes within the abandoned works near wells and springs, and near flag-staffs, magazines, and telegraph offices, in carpet-bags, barrels of flour, etc.,” went the statement from Union General George McClellan in the May 12, 1862 edition of the New York Herald.

Even Confederate generals expressed some qualms about the use of these subterra torpedoes, and briefly banned their use. But as the tides of war continued to turn against the Confederates, the generals grew less reluctant. Eventually Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph drafted the ethical standards for the use of the torpedoes. As Rains himself said, “Each new invention of war has been assailed and denounced as barbarous and anti-Christian. Yet each in its own turn notwithstanding has taken its position by the universal consent of nations according to its efficiency in human slaughter.”

Before long, Confederates had found ingenious ways to hide the bombs, wiring them so that they detonated upon direct contact, or by moving the articles attached to the primer. An especially well-disguised version was the “coal torpedo,” whose iron container was coated in beeswax then powdered with coal dust. Confederate soldiers could slip these into Union coal supplies, and when the fake nuggets of coal were unwittingly placed in the burner of a steam engine, the whole vessel would explode.

Although there are no precise figures on how many soldiers were killed and maimed by land mines, what’s known is how many ships they wrecked: 35 belonging to the Union and one of the Confederates. Rains reported 2,363 land mines were hidden around Richmond, and more were buried elsewhere throughout the South. They were so widespread that land mines continued to be recovered as late as the 1960s in Alabama.


From the Civil War, land mine technology spread rapidly around the world. The use of the devices was widespread throughout WWI and WWII, and in regional conflicts that occurred during the Cold War. By the 1990s, more than 26,000 people were victims of land mines each year.

“In the post-Cold War years—1989, 1999—the largest refugee population in the world were Afghanis and Pakistanis. They were being blown up by the thousands,” says Ken Rutherford, a professor of political science at James Madison University and the director of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery. “What we’re talking about is a weapon of mass destruction that moves in slow motion.”

So began efforts to launch the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The group organized a Mine Ban Treaty that called for banning the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel land mines and required countries to destroy their stockpiles, clear affected areas of mines, and assist victims. Rutherford, who is himself a bilateral lower leg amputee due to a near-fatal land mine injury he sustained in 1993 in Somalia, played a role in bringing the treaty to fruition.

“For a year I really believed my story was kind of different and odd, a freak accident,” Rutherford says of the period immediately after he was injured. “I’m a Colorado boy, I’m telling people and they don’t believe it and I don’t believe it. But my story wasn’t unique, it wasn’t special at all. The real strange thing is so many people were being maimed and killed and nobody was writing about it.”

When the final draft of the treaty was written in 1997, over 120 countries became signatories; now, 162 have signed it, including all countries in the Western Hemisphere except Cuba and the United States. The U.S. is a leader in combating land mines, Rutherford says, and was the first country to permanently ban the export of land mines. The refusal to sign the treaty comes down to North Korea; if North Korean forces invade South Korea, the U.S. wants to be able to deter an invasion with the weapons of our choice.

“I’m proud of our country that we [support demining and help victims], but I’m not so proud because there are a lot of countries that look to the U.S. for leadership,” Rutherford says.

Today a number of organizations focus their energy on assembling a toolbox of technology for the continuing effort to eradicate land mines. One example is TIRAMISU, a research program that received funding from the European Commission and has collaborated with 26 groups around Europe for the research and development of new demining tools. The goal of these toolboxes is to assist in locating the mines, excavating them, and defusing or detonating them without any loss of life.

“I am very optimistic in our ability to create demining technology or to use at our advantage technology developed for other purposes, such as drones, tablets, etc.,” said TIRAMISU project coordinator Yann Yvinec by email.

metal-detector.jpg
A military engineer of the Russian Army's international counter-mine center helps conduct a demining operation in eastern Aleppo, Syria. (Sputnik via AP)
The most widely used tools are metal detectors, Yvenic said, which have become so sensitive that they can detect tiny pieces of metal. But using metal detectors is a time-consuming process, since they require deminers (who work on the ground with various tools to locate, excavate and deactivate land mines) to investigate all kinds of metal, not just land mines. In some cases, an area that is mined can be up to 98 percent mine-free, making it a time-consuming process. When Cambodia cleared 54 square kilometers of land and destroyed 20,000 land mines in 2014, the country accounted for 27 percent of the worldwide total clearance for that year. Demining is a slow, dangerous business, with no obvious end in site.

“More than 100 tons of unexploded ordinance are found in Belgium alone every year, and most of it dates from WWI,” Yvinec said. “I’ll therefore not venture an estimation of the time it will take to remove all mines and unexploded ordinance.”

But there’s plenty of new technology coming onto the market that might speed the process up—though Yvenic cautions it can be hard for humanitarian organizations to afford the new technology and to convince operators to use it. Nevertheless, he’s excited by the innovations that are emerging.

“The most promising recent improvement [of metal detectors] was the combination with a ground penetrating radar, which can give an idea of the size of a buried object and therefore be used to discard metal detector signals coming from objects that are too small to be mines,” Yvinec said.

Ground penetrating radar works by sending pulses of energy into the earth, then recording the strength of waves that are reflected back and the time it takes for their reflection. Researchers have shown that using a GPR to generate a data set can minimize excess “noise” from non-land mine objects and help deminers locate real mines more rapidly.

A similar invention is a laser created by the U.S. Army and Air Force, which draws on 1,100 amps of power to detonate underground explosives from up to 1,000 feet away. This tool, however, is mainly limited to militaries with the money to invest in such technology, unlike the GPR-metal detector combo.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Personal note: And now they want to reinstate Land Mines! What have we become!

Boats
__________________
Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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