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Anti-personnel Landmines: A Combat Multiplier
MARINE CORPS WAR COLL QUANTICO VA
Pagination or Media Count:
Increased international pressure has placed the United States on a path to losing one of the most effective weapons in its military inventory the anti-personnel land mine APL. In 1996, the U.S. Government began the destruction of all non-self-destructing dumb APLs. Following this, the 1997 Ottawa Convention effectively banned the use of APLs, which prompted the United States to decline signature to the convention until alternative means could be developed to replace all self-destructing SD and self-neutralizing SN APLs in the inventory. Although the tragic consequences of land mine employment are evident throughout the world and will continue to adversely affect lives for decades to come, one must consider the benefits found in the application of current APL systems and the consequences of denying their use to U.S. Armed Forces. Unfortunately, proponents of the Ottawa Convention are limited in their views to only the humanitarian impact rather than the APLs numerous contributions to warfighting. As a result, research and development of future APL systems that meet the requirements of the Ottawa Convention fall far short of possessing the same effects as traditional APLs, are slow to develop, and are unlikely to be available before 2010 at best. Fortunately for U.S. forces, the United States has not yet fully complied with the mandates of the Ottawa Convention in terms of SD and SN APLs. Although the United States should maintain and allow U.S. forces to employ the full spectrum of APLs to increase combat power and enhance warfighting capabilities, it is unlikely that this will occur as international pressure increases to abide by the Ottawa Convention. Relieving U.S. forces ability to employ this frightingly effective weapon against potential enemies creates a significant gap in their warfighting capability and the loss of a significant combat multiplier.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE