Demining Support System: Field Support for Humanitarian Demining Missions Overseas

By Repass, Deborah | DISAM Journal, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Demining Support System: Field Support for Humanitarian Demining Missions Overseas


Repass, Deborah, DISAM Journal


The indiscriminate destruction and long-term damage caused by land mines have a devastating impact on economies and societies around the world. The United States Department of State estimates that there are 80 to 110 million land mines scattered in nearly seventy countries worldwide. These mines kill or maim a new victim every twenty-two minutes, a total of 26,000 per year, the majority of whom are civilian women and children in the world's poorest countries. [1] Efforts to destroy these mines are slow, painstaking, and expensive, costing as little as $3 each to buy, but up to $1,000 each to clear. [2] In the mid-1990s, the United Nations and the U.S. government estimated that 2.5 million mines were being planted, while only 80,000 were being removed per year. [3] As a part of U.S. government mine removal efforts during the last decade, the Humanitarian and Security Training Group at Star Mountain has supported mine clearance programs to reduce the threat land mines pose to innocent civilians throughout the world. This group at Star Mountain is dedicated to supporting humanitarian demining and anti-terrorism projects specializing in the development of instructional materials, training systems, databases, software, electronic manuals, reference materials, and field training support. Star Mountain has a contract with RONCO Consulting Corporation in support of the U.S. State Department integrated mine action support contract. Star Mountain also has contracts with General Services Administration (GSA) Group 70 Information Technology Schedule, GSA Management Organizational and Business Improvement Services, and with the U.S. Department of Defense Research and Development Program.

Since 1995, Star Mountain's Humanitarian and Security Training Group has developed several training and mine action programs including the deminer individual protection program, the Mine Action Information Center at James Madison University, demining operations instructional medical modules, MineFacts, an interactive database program on CD-ROM with information on 700 land mines from around the world, and following the Dayton Peace Accords, provided U.S. and NATO forces with information on the land mines used during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a part of field support for humanitarian demining training and clearance management efforts, Star Mountain also provides mine clearance support using the demining support system (DSS).

Star Mountain first developed the demining support system as a "proof of concept" for the U.S. Navy Office of Special Technology at Ft. Washington, Maryland to be used as a ruggedized, immediately deployable mine awareness and demining instruction tool in Eritrea. Since the original development of the DSS, systems have been used in an operational capacity by the U.S. Departments of Defense and State in over sixteen countries to train U.S. and international humanitarian demining teams on topics such as landmine clearance, mine awareness, mission planning, and emergency medical procedures.

As a part of U.S. humanitarian demining missions overseas, the DSS was developed to be a multilingual system which meets the cultural needs of deminers and those living in mine affected communities. …

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