Effective today, the Administration is rescinding the Presidential Policy concerning anti-personnel landmines (APL), in favor of a new United States landmine policy that will be overseen by the Department of Defense.
Landmines, including APL, remain a vital tool in conventional warfare that the United States military cannot responsibly forgo, particularly when faced with substantial and potentially overwhelming enemy forces in the early stages of combat. Withholding a capability that would give our ground forces the ability to deny terrain temporarily and therefore shape an enemy’s movement to our benefit irresponsibly risks American lives. The United States will not sacrifice American servicemembers’ safety, particularly when technologically advanced safeguards are available that allow landmines to be employed responsibly to ensure our military’s warfighting advantage, and limit the risk of unintended harm to civilians. These safeguards require landmines to self-destruct, or in the event of a self-destruct failure, to self-deactivate within a prescribed period of time.