January 12, 2000 Elimination of the Longterm Humanitarian Hazard of Stockpiled Antipersonnel Landmines By Richard L.Garwin, Chairman State Department Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board The recommendation I will make to you today reflects the considered opinion of the State Department Arms Control and Nonproliferation Advisory Board, which I chair. It has not been reviewed by the general State Department, nor by the Administration as a whole, and does not necessarily represent the view of any body other than the Board. The Board normally does not comment in public. Normally, it makes reports and recommendations only to the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, who is also the Senior Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament. However, in this case the Board believes the particular nature of the issue, and the significance of this panel's responsibilities, justify a public presentation of our views. Under Secretary Designate John Holum has, therefore, authorized this public presentation of the Board's views. In the most fundamental sense, your Committee's tasking is to find some way of providing the protection for our ground forces now provided by anti-personnel landmines, but to do it in such a manner as to eliminate the unique threat to civilian life and limb now incurred by APL use. The Board believes that this can be done. It can be done with existing technology, by minor variations in weapons now fielded. It can be done well before 2006, and at relatively modest cost. If the problem is analyzed in such a way that the figure of merit is the number of civilian lives and limbs to be saved in an affordable manner, consistent with the protection of our forces, then the solution we recommend must be evaluated and should prove to be a prime contender. The essence of the humanitarian landmine problem is persistence. The single essential fact of the humanitarian landmine problem is the fact that conventional landmines are designed to persist, remaining lethal for decades after they are emplaced. If it were not for this one fact, there would be no humanitarian landmine problem, this panel would not have been established, and we would not be meeting here today. Since the humanitarian problem is persistence, the humanitarian solution is to eliminate the persistence. If we keep our eye firmly on this target, we have defined a problem we can solve. The humanitarian solution to landmine persistence is well known, technologically proven, and widely deployed. Today 89% of US anti-personnel landmines, as well as 78% of our anti-tank landmines, will self-destruct between 4 hours and 15 days after emplacement and activation, with essentially perfect reliability. If somehow self-destruction were to fail, they will self deactivate, with perfect reliability, from battery exhaustion. We must not let the search for the ultimate solution blind us to the one that is well within our grasp. US forces are fully compliant with the 1996 Amended Mines Protocol of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). CCW requires all APL use to be confined to areas marked and monitored to effectively exclude civilians, or to self-destruct within 30 days of emplacement and self-deactivate within 120 days of emplacement, with very high reliability. The question is now whether the humanitarian solution of self destruction and self deactivation can be applied to the entire landmine stockpile (i.e., the remaining 11% of U.S. antipersonnel landmines and 22% of anti-tank landmines that are persistent) without increasing risk to our forces. For anti-personnel landmines, this question operationalizes into two parts: First, can short-duration APL provide protection as long as it is needed? Second, can they provide protection on steeply inclined surfaces? To solve both these problems, the Board has investigated what we call the Small Short Duration Mine System. In keeping with the highest traditions of military bureaucracy, we have even given it a semi-pronounceable acronym, SSDMS (SID-ems). Since President Clinton's policy, wisely, allows use of persistent APL only in Korea, my initial discussion of SSDMS will be in that context. I will then conclude by briefly examining SSDMS worldwide ramifications. In its basic form, SSDMS would be a hybrid of existing Volcano and MOPMS (Modular Pack Mine System) technologies. It would differ from a present Volcano tube in four respects: First, SSDMS would be configured as a man-portable singlet tube weighing about 35 pounds and carrying 6 anti-personnel and/or anti-tank mines. Second, each tube would be configured, probably with a bipod, for individual installation on the ground. Third, emplacing and activating the mines would involve the firing of each tube by remote command as is now done with MOPMS. The radio receiver could be identical to that now used by the MOPMS dispenser, to reduce the time and cost of development. But unlike MOPMS, the mines themselves would not incorporate radio receivers. Delivery radius, like that of MOPMS, would be about 50 meters. Fourth, the self-destruct time would be settable before emplacement at up to 30 days, which is the maximum permitted by the CCW Amended Mines Protocol for APL used outside of marked and monitored areas. Employment of the basic SSDMS would consist of four operations: First, the tubes would be installed in the minefields-to-be. This could be done upon warning of imminent attack, as we now plan to do with our hand-laid persistent APL in Korea. But SSDMS offers the additional option of peacetime installation. Unlike M14 and M16 persistent APL, the SSDMS dispenser is harmless until further action is taken. So the tubes could, at the commander's option, be installed in peacetime and safely left in place. Since the mines would not, at this point, be themselves emplaced, under the terms of the CCW Amended Mines Protocol, the tubes could stay in their installed positions indefinitely. Second, the tubes would be fired, emplacing the mines, by remote command carried by secure radio signal. The commander would have the option, which he does not now have, of emplacing all the mines in a field at once, or emplacing some while holding most in reserve for emplacement under fire without risking his own troops. Third, those mines not exploded by enemy contact would automatically self-destruct or self- deactivate. Unlike today's persistent mines, the SSDMS mines would present no long-term hazard. Fourth, when the threat had receded or the conflict had concluded, unfired dispensers could be left in place for future contingencies, or they could safely be recovered for later use. SSDMS has been reviewed for technical feasibility by John Rosamilia, Chief Mine Designer at Picatinny Arsenal. Mr. Rosamilia's conclusions are: 1) The proposed design would work 2) Technical risk would be very low 3) Cost risk would be very low 4) Development would require two to three years, most of which would be spent in testing 5) Unit production cost would be within 20% of that of the present Volcano mine I turn now to the question of use on inclined slopes. We need to address this second question because all current US short duration APL, with the exception of the Pursuit Deterrent Munition, or PDM, are remotely delivered with considerable velocity and will tend to bounce, or to roll down inclined surfaces rather than staying where we want them to be. In contrast, the persistent APL which cause the humanitarian problem are all hand-emplaced, so downward movement on inclined surfaces is less of a problem, occurring only in the long term from environmental factors. The solution is to reduce the energy with which the short duration mines are delivered. For this purpose we suggest a ridgeline variant, carrying only two mines per tube and with a delivery radius of only a few meters. The drawback is, of course, that more tubes would have to be used. This would raise the cost and the installation time, but should not do either to a prohibitive degree. For near-vertical rocky slopes, even the ridgeline variant would be delivered with too much energy, so a third solution is needed. The simplest self-destructing all-terrain solution would be a PDM variant, radio activated and with a 30 day self-destruct time. This would not meet the CCW definition of a self-destructing mine, since the CCW 30 day clock starts the instant the mine is emplaced, and this mine might be emplaced years before activation by radio started its internal self-destruct clock. For humanitarian purposes this modified PDM would be a short duration mine, but for legal purposes it would not be. If we simply intend a replacement for M-14 and M-16 persistent mines, the use of these PDM variants would comply with CCW. Our persistent mines are only used in marked and monitored areas, so they are not required to self destruct. The PDM variant can be used in the same way. It would be better, though, to design the weapon for a future in which, we hope, a future CCW will ban all persistent landmines. This can be done by using a single mine per dispenser tube, with a very short delivery radius of a few centimeters, and with the mine attached to the tube by a lanyard. I repeat-- these mines would not be a humanitarian hazard even if abandoned before firing and left for 30 years or 50 years. Optionally, we could develop and use only the basic SDDMS and the all-terrain PDM variant, without the ridgeline item I described earlier. This question should be examined in detail by the Department of Defense. On the basis of our preliminary study, at this early point we see no reason to doubt that an all-short-duration APL force can work, can be acquired in the near term at affordable cost, and can offer our forces protection during the time it is needed. That being said, the fact remains that SSDMS and the all-terrain PDM variant are anti-personnel mines. They are CCW compliant, but not Ottawa compliant and never will be. On the other hand, they offer two humanitarian advantages reaching far beyond Ottawa. First, they offer worldwide application which Ottawa does not. If an all-short-duration APL force were to become US policy, we could seek to amend CCW to include a total ban on persistent APL. Since CCW captures about four times as many stockpiled mine-years as the Ottawa Convention (primarily because China is a member of CCW but not of Ottawa), this course offers large humanitarian benefits. Russia and China stockpile far more mines than the rest of the world combined, and neither will sign the Ottawa Convention in the foreseeable future. But China has ratified the CCW Amended Mines Protocol, Russia expects to do so in the near future, and it is plausible that a further amendment prohibiting all persistent APL could be negotiated with them. Second, we believe SDDMS can replace all persistent anti-tank mines as well as anti-personnel mines. I have not discussed the anti-tank application in detail, because your tasking deals directly with anti-personnel mines. But we should not overlook the facts that persistent anti-tank mines are a significant worldwide humanitarian problem, that anti-tank mines fall within the scope of CCW, and that SDDMS creates the possibility of a CCW ban on persistent landmines of all types. This would effectively end the humanitarian problem of stockpiled landmines of all types, which the Ottawa Convention does not address. To sum up: Neither Ottawa compliance nor saving lives and limbs are specified in your tasking. Nevertheless, I hope you will agree that the figure of merit for landmine policy should be lives and limbs saved, consistent with cost and security considerations. On that basis, I commend SSDMS and its variants to you as the best solution we have been able to devise.