DoD Sends Mine Data Disks to Bosnia
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 1996 U.S. troops in Bosnia will soon add another tool to their demining kit, according to defense officials.
DoD is sending 500 sets of computer disks to the field. Each threedisk set, labeled Bosnia File An electronic folder of land mine information, holds data on the 17 antipersonnel and 19 antitank mines most commonly found in Bosnia. About 70 percent of the 36 were made in the former Yugoslavia; the rest in the former Eastern bloc nations. Pictures, size, weight, metal content, country of origin and emplacement methods are shown in quickviewing columns.
The Windowsbased program is not copy protected. Users may freely copy and distribute the disks and printed data in the field. In fact, defense officials said they hope people do.
"We anticipate there being a natural proliferation within the region by people making copies on their own, and we encourage that," said Timothy G. Connolly, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations. "Anyone who is going to be operating in this region for the next decade is going to benefit from knowing what's out there." Main audiences include members of the NATO implementation force and humanitarian and economic rehabilitation organizations.
Calling up a specific mine will let the viewer know, for example, if it is a bounding mine, intended to inflict waistlevel injuries, or if the mine is hard to detect with conventional equipment because the only metal in it is the fuze. Both of these types of mines have been found in Bosnia, Connolly said.
The data files are intended to help service members identify mines, not to dismantle or defuze them, Connolly stressed. Most people's notion of defuzing a mine is Hollywood fiction, he said, adding "we do not get into the business of going in and dismantling the fuzing mechanism." On the contrary, he said, the standard procedure is to clear away debris from a mine, put a charge against it, step back and blow it.
The Bosnia File is a joint effort of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and LowIntensity Conflict and the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate Countermine Division, U.S. Army Communications Command, Fort Belvoir, Va.
Disk data were pulled from MineFacts, a compact disc containing information on more than 675 land mines. The CD was made originally as part of the Humanitarian Demining Technologies Project which Connolly's office began at Fort Belvoir a year and a half ago.
Data were provided by the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, Va. The U.N.'s Mine Action Center and U.N. Protection Forces also added data based on experience in the region prior to the Dayton agreement.
MineFacts includes "every land mine the intelligence community could identify as ever having been put in the ground anywhere in the world in any kind of conflict," Connolly said. "There are land mines going back to World War II."
The data were transferred from compact disc to highdensity diskettes so troop units and humanitarian organizations in Bosnia could access the information in the field.
Connolly said the disks contribute to effort to the bring peace and stability to the region by both the implementation force and the humanitarian community.