Congressman Mike Turner has successfully included language in the FY2011 National Defense Authorization Act which seeks improvements for international humanitarian demining initiatives. The amendment, offered by Rep. Turner, was approved by the full House Armed Services Committee last week. The full House of Representatives plans on taking up the NDAA in the next few days.
Each year, landmines and explosive remnants of war cause thousands of causalities in more than 60 countries around the world. During an official visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina last year, Rep. Turner personally saw the catastrophic effects of landmines and unexploded explosive ordnances while meeting with local leaders.
The history between the city of Dayton and the Bosnia-Herzegovina region dates back several years and gained international recognition during the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which ended an over three year war in Bosnia. Seeking to strengthen ties between the Dayton and Bosnia region, Rep. Turner identified an opportunity to build upon recent advances in technology neutralizing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and improve the humanitarian demining situation on a global scale.
Rep. Turner’s initiative directs the Comptroller General to identify military programs that may have humanitarian demining applications, as well as recommends improvements for interagency coordination between the Departments of Defense and State. The initiative will identify improvements for demining and disarming efforts through the use of new technology, training, and equipment. Finally, the initiative will identify new joint testing strategies between the Departments of Defense and State in foreign countries including Bosnia-Herzegovina.
“Our military has made great strides in recent years in technologies and tactics in detecting and neutralizing IEDs. We must continue to ensure new advances in neutralizing IEDs are effectively applied in the humanitarian demining efforts,” Rep. Turner said. “This initiative will identify more effective demining operations and seeks to reduce the thousands of causalities occurring due to landmines and unexploded ordinances around the world.”
In addition, Rep. Turner has sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton regarding the NDAA provisions and urging Department experts to work with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) personnel on gathering information in this important endeavor. The letter can be found on Rep. Turner’s website here.