Mine awareness should actually be entitled mine/UXO awareness. If only mines are emphasized, ordnance (bomblets, submunitions) may be overlooked, and it has equal if not greater killing potential. The main objective of mine awareness is to save lives, so it is important to ensure that soldiers are well-informed and thoroughly trained. This appendix outlines the tasks needed for soldiers and units to survive in a mined/UXO environment.
Mine awareness should be emphasized at all levels of command, and it involves soldier and leader skills. Soldier skills are a mix of individual and collective tasks that are required for an element to maintain its combat effectiveness in and around a mined environment. It is important to note that a soldier's basic mine-awareness skills are critical to his and the unit's survival. Leader skills involve planning missions, assessing situations, and tracking/disseminating mine information. A unit must be proficient in all mine-awareness skills to effectively operate in a mined environment.
Soldier skills involve individual and collective tasks that are required for basic survival in a mined/UXO environment. They include minefield indicators, probing techniques, mine-detector operation, extraction drills, survival rules, casualty treatment, and evacuation drills.
Mine/UXO indicators are part of all combat operations. Understanding and recognizing mine indicators could determine whether or not a soldier becomes a casualty. The following may indicate the presence of mines/UXO:
- Trip wires.
- Signs of road repair (such as new fill or paving, road patches, ditching, culvert work).
- Signs placed on trees, posts, or stakes. Threat forces mark their minefields to protect their own forces.
- Dead animals.
- Damaged vehicles.
- Disturbances in previous tire tracks or tracks that stop unexplainably.
- Wires leading away from the side of the road. They may be firing wires that are partially buried.
- Odd features in the ground or patterns that are not present in nature. Plant growth may wilt or change color, rain may wash away some of the cover, the cover may sink or crack around the edges, or the material covering the mines may look like mounds of dirt.
- Civilians. They may know where mines or booby traps are located in the residential area. Civilians staying away from certain places or out of certain buildings are good indications of the presence of mines or booby traps. Question civilians to determine the exact locations.
- Pieces of wood or other debris on a road. They may be indicative of pressure or pressure-release FDs. These devices may be on the surface or partially buried.
- Patterns of objects that could be used as a sighting line. The enemy can use mines that are fired by command, so road shoulders and areas close to the objects should be searched.
Probing is very time-consuming and is used primarily for clearing operations, self-extraction, and covert breaching operations. Detection of mines by visual or electronic methods should be confirmed by probing. Use the following procedures and techniques when probing for mines:
- Roll up your sleeves and remove your jewelry to increase sensitivity. Wear a Kevlar helmet, with the chin strap buckled, and a protective fragmentation vest.
- Stay close to the ground and move in a prone position to reduce the effects of an accidental blast. When moving into a prone position, the prober should--
- Use sight and touch to detect trip wires, fuses, and pressure prongs.
- Use a slender, nonmetallic object as a probe.
- Probe every 5 centimeters across a 1-meter front.
- Gently push the probe into the ground at an angle that is less than 45 degrees.
- Squat down without touching his knees to the ground.
- Scan forward up to 2 meters and to the sides up to 3 meters for mine indicators.
- Probe the area around his feet and as far forward as possible.
- Kneel on the ground after the area is found to be clear and continue probing forward until he is in a prone position.
- Apply just enough pressure on the probe to sink it slowly into the ground.
- If the probe encounters resistance and does not go into the ground freely, carefully pick the soil away with the tip of the probe and remove the loose dirt by hand. Care must be taken to prevent functioning the mine.
- When a solid object is touched, stop probing and use two fingers from each hand to carefully remove the surrounding soil and identify the object.
- If the object is a mine, remove enough soil to show the mine type and mark its location. Do not attempt to remove or disarm the mine. Use explosives to destroy detected mines in place or use a grappling hook and rope to cause mines to self-detonate. Metal grappling hooks should not be used on magnetic-fused mines.
Probing is extremely stressful and tedious. The senior leader must set a limit to the time a prober is actually probing in the minefield. To determine a reasonable time, the leader must consider METT-T factors, weather conditions, the threat level, the unit's stress level, and the prober's fatigue level and state of mind. As a rule, 20 to 30 minutes is the maximum amount of time that an individual can probe effectively.
AN/PSS-12 METALLIC MINE DETECTOR
The AN/PSS-12 mine detector (Figure F-1) is a man-portable metallic mine-detection system that is used to detect AT and AP land mines. Its search head contains two concentric coils--the transmitting coil and the receiving coil. During operation, the transmitting coil is energized with electric pulses to build up a magnetic field. The magnetic field induces currents in metal objects near the search head, and the currents build up a magnetic field in the metal objects. Depending on the metal's composition and quantity, the magnetic field may be strong enough to be picked up by the receiving coil. The signals from the receiving coil are processed in the AN/PSS-12's electronics. When a signal is considered positive, the electronic unit provides an audible alarm to the operator.
Figure F-1. AN/PSS-12 metallic mine detector
- Open the pressure-relief valve in the carrying case.
- Release the latches on the carrying case and open the top.
- Remove the bag that contains system components.
- Unzip the bag and ensure that all components are present (Figure F-2).
Figure F-2. AN/PSS-12 packed components
- Remove the following items from the bag carefully:
- Ensure that the bag contains the following spare parts and test items:
- Inspect the search head for cracks or damage.
- Inspect cable connectors for damage and check for bent pins.
- Inspect cables to ensure that they are not cut, broken, or frayed.
- Inspect the electronic unit for cracks, damage, and completeness. This includes ensuring that all switches and knobs are present and functional.
- Wand and search-head assembly with cable and plug.
- Electronic unit.
- Headset with cable and plug.
- Spare plastic bolt.
- Spare cable clamps.
- 5-centimeter test piece.
Figure F-3. Electronic unit
Figure F-4. Battery installation
- Insert batteries according to markings.
- Reinstall and latch the battery cover. Ensure that the latches are in the proper closed position.
- Attach the electronic unit to the operator's load-bearing equipment (LBE) belt using the belt clips.
- Extend the telescopic pole from the transport position, as needed, by pressing in on the catch. The catch is located just below the arm support. Turn the outer tube until the catch snaps into the guide groove. This allows the pole to be extended and locked into one of the three fixed positions.
- Attach the magnetic search head's cable to the pole by using the snap on the plastic cable clamps. Allow for a 2-inch loop at the head end of the cable.
- Adjust the handle grip's position, if necessary, by loosening the adjustment nut.
- Adjust the search-head assembly's position so that it will be parallel to the ground while being held approximately 2 inches above the surface.
- Connect the search-head cable to the electronic unit's search-head connector.
- Plug the headphones into the electronic unit's headphone connector and put on the headphones.
- On/off switch. This switch is the power control for the AN/PSS-12. It must be in the ON position when detection is being conducted.
- Loudness control. This is the volume control for the audible alarm. It should be kept at a comfortable listening level during use.
- Sensitivity control. The sensitivity control is used to adjust the detection characteristics of the magnetic detector. When adjusted too high (clockwise), the detector will be too sensitive to voltages created in the receiver coil by normal ambient conditions. This means that an excess number of false alarms will occur. When adjusted too low (counterclockwise), the detector will not be sensitive enough and it may not detect mines.
- Indicator lamp. This lamp indicates low battery voltage or another system malfunction. It provides a short flash when the unit is turned on and flashes continuously when the batteries are low or there is a malfunction.
- Audible signals.
- The system provides an audible signal when the search head is over or very near a mine or another object with a return signature that indicates a mine's presence. The audible signal is passed from the electronic unit directly to the operator's headphone if the headphone is plugged into the electronic unit.
- The AN/PSS-l2 has a check tone that is provided every 1 to 2 seconds. The tone resembles a clicking sound, and its purpose is to continuously inform the operator that the system is functioning satisfactorily. If the check tone disappears or its frequency decreases, discontinue searching and adjust the unit's sensitivity.
- A flashing indicator and a continuous tone on the headphone indicates low battery voltage. If the unit's indicator lamp flashes, change the batteries and readjust the unit. The search sensitivity is not affected when the lamp is flashing; but if searching continues, a constant audible tone will sound and the unit will be unusable until fresh batteries are installed.
- Remove rings, watches, and other jewelry before adjusting or using the system.
- Extend the telescopic pole and properly aim the search head before making adjustments.
- Turn the sensitivity and loudness knobs completely counterclockwise.
- Look at the indicator lamp on the electronic unit and turn the on/off switch to the ON position. The lamp should give a short flash. If it does not, ensure that the batteries are correctly installed or insert new batteries. If the lamp flashes continuously, the battery voltage may be low.
- Hold the search head approximately 0.6 meter above the ground, and turn the sensitivity knob clockwise until a continuous tone is heard. While this is being done, adjust the loudness control to a comfortable listening level.
- Turn the sensitivity knob slightly counterclockwise until the tone ceases. The check tone should be heard every 1 to 2 seconds. Readjust the loudness control if necessary.
- Sweep the search head at approximately 0.3 meter per second while holding it approximately 5 centimeters above the ground.
- Turn the sensitivity knob counterclockwise, if a disturbing audible tone is heard due to the ground conditions, until the tone ceases.
- Use the 5-centimeter test piece to check the sensitivity (Figure F-5). Perform the check with the search head at least 1 meter above the ground and away from your body. Ensure that there is no metal in the vicinity. The mine detector must emit a tone for at least 5 centimeters between the metal pin in the test piece and the bottom of the search head.
Figure F-5. Sensitivity check
- Move the search head in sweeping motions a maximum of 5 centimeters above the ground. Sweeping speed should be approximately 0.3 meter per second.
- Listen for an audible tone indicating that the inner ring of the magnetic search head is over a metal object. The intensity of the tone depends on the size, the shape, the content, the depth, and the position of the object.
- Make an X-pattern sweeping movement (Figure F-6) across the area when a tone is heard. The tone will be loudest when the search head is immediately above the object.
Figure F-6. X-pattern sweeping movement
- If you are searching for large, metal objects, detecting and localizing is faster when the sensitivity control is turned down (counterclockwise).
- Keep mine detectors at least 2 meters apart during setting and adjustment phases to prevent interference.
- Change the batteries and readjust the unit if the indicator lamp flashes. The search sensitivity is not affected when the lamp is flashing; if searching continues, a constant audible tone will sound and the unit will be unusable until fresh batteries are installed.
- Discontinue searching and readjust the unit's sensitivity if the check tone disappears or its frequency decreases.
- Ensure that only the inner part of the telescopic pole is used when the equipment is operated by a soldier in the prone position.
- Turn the unit off after completing the search operations.
- For small, horizontal, metal pins, the tone will be louder when the inner ring is near the pin rather than when the pin is in the center of the ring.
Disassembly and Packing
- Ensure that the on/off switch on the electronic unit is in the OFF position.
- Detach the cable connection on the electronic unit for the magnetic search head, and replace the protective caps on the plug and socket.
- Release the electronic unit's battery-cover latches, and remove the battery cover.
- Remove the batteries, and ensure that none of the battery cases have ruptured; if they have, notify your supervisor. Reinstall the battery cover and latch it.
- Remove the two cable clamps, which are holding the search head's cable, from the telescopic pole.
- Collapse the telescopic pole to its travel length, and turn its outer tube until it is locked by the catch. Loosen the plastic restraining bolt, and fold in the magnetic search head.
- Pack the components in the carry bag as shown in Figure F-2. For long-term storage, do not put batteries in the carry bag. Close and zip the carry bag.
- Place the carry bag in the metal transport case, and latch the case. Close the pressure-relief valve.
As in probing, the senior leader must set a limit to the time an individual can use the mine detector. The time limit is determined by METT-T factors, weather conditions, the threat level, the unit's stress level, and the individual's fatigue level and state of mind. As a rule, 20 to 30 minutes is the maximum amount of time an individual can use the detector effectively.
A well-developed, well-rehearsed evacuation drill is necessary to extract an individual or a unit from a mined area. Units must develop evacuation drills for dismounted and mounted operations. Each type of operation should include two drills--one using a mine detector (mounted extraction) and one without using a mine detector (dismounted extraction).
- The convoy commander halts the convoy and reports to higher headquarters.
- No vehicles move and no troops dismount unless directed to do so.
- Elements provide 360-degree security from vehicles.
- Troops thrown from vehicles should not move. Personnel are extracted by using dismounted evacuation procedures if electronic detectors are not available.
- The senior leader, if engineers are not available, assesses the situation and directs vehicles to back up along the entry-route tracks. If an immediate threat exists, occupants of damaged vehicles evacuate out the rear of the vehicle and along the vehicle-entry tracks. If no immediate threat exists, occupants of damaged vehicles remain in the vehicle until it is extracted.
- Engineers, if available, sweep the area and provide a cleared path for movement. They--
- Continue the mission.
- Clear a lane that is wide enough for the towing vehicle.
- Use all available tow cables to increase the distance before towing if an M88 is unavailable. Remember, an M88 has a wider track base than other tracked vehicles.
- Ensure that all towing-shackle sets are complete and mounted.
- Ensure that the towing vehicle has tow cables on the front and the rear if possible.
- Ensure that rear cables are attached to the lower mounts. This allows the crew to recover the vehicle without touching the ground.
- Pull the vehicle out at least two-vehicle lengths before switching to a tow bar. When towing a vehicle after a mine strike, the chance of fire is greater because of possible damage to the vehicle.
- Provide first aid and conduct casualty evacuation or have medics provide treatment and medical evacuation.
- Guide vehicles through the safe area.
- Mark, record, and report the threat.
- All personnel freeze and crouch into a low-silhouette position. Be cautious when making this movement to ensure that you do not detonate another mine. If a protective mask is worn on your hip, do not allow it to come in contact with the ground because contact may detonate a mine. Do not help casualties because you could also become a casualty.
- The leader designates a security element and a soldier to assist in casualty evacuation.
- Soldiers extract along the path they entered. If possible, they step in the same places as before; if impossible, they probe their way out.
- The security element, consisting of individuals who are not in the minefield, sets up security for the unit.
- The soldier extracting the casualty--
- The unit marks the threat and assembles back at the rally point.
- The unit reports the incident when it is 50 to 100 meters away from the minefield. If soldiers are in the minefield and radio transmission is required, move the transmitter at least 300 meters from the minefield. This prevents accidental mine detonation from the radio signal.
- The unit provides first aid and conducts casualty evacuation or has medics provide treatment and medical evacuation.
- The unit continues the mission.
- Probes a 1-meter-wide path to the casualty and marks the cleared path with foot powder or marking tape as it is probed.
- Probes around the casualty to clear the area.
- Performs first aid.
- Carries the casualty out of the minefield along the cleared path. (Stretcher parties do not enter the area unless a 2-meter-wide path has been cleared to the casualty.)
Extraction from Scatterable Mines
- The individual who discovers the mine initiates the alarm according to the unit SOP.
- Unit personnel at the command post receive the alarm and alert others.
- The unit TOC requests counterbattery fire if the mines are artillery-delivered.
- Vehicle commanders check the immediate area. They do not dismount. Inspect the vehicle for mines and/or trip wires. Note and record the location of all mines found on or around the vehicle.
- Personnel leave any vehicle that is touching or is blocked by AT mines in place until the remainder of the unit is out of the minefield.
- Unit leaders identify unmovable vehicles and designate one or more lanes for remaining personnel and vehicles to use when exiting the minefield.
- Leaders identify a clearance team to extract remaining vehicles and personnel. The clearance team--
- Vehicle commanders direct personnel to ground-guide vehicles out of the minefield. Ground guides--
- Clearance team personnel, aided by unit personnel, remove equipment and vehicles remaining after initial extraction from the minefield. They--
- Clearance team personnel--
- Continue the mission.
- Uses visual means to locate mines and marks vehicle lanes at least 4 meters wide. Personnel mark lanes according to the tactical situation and the threat in the area; however, they mark them so that team personnel can reenter the minefield and recover equipment and vehicles.
- Destroys or removes all mines in lanes, using a grapnel hook or other means as necessary, in the sequence directed by the team leader. Personnel detonate unmovable mines to reduce personnel injury and equipment damage.
- Ensure that individual elements move only when directed by the chain of command.
- Place equipment that is not in contact with a mine or a trip wire onto vehicles.
- Direct vehicles to the designated exit lane or, if safer, allow vehicles to exit the minefield on their own.
- Reenter the minefield using the same exit routes.
- Detonate the minimum number of mines necessary to remove vehicles and equipment from the minefield.
- Avoid touching mines. Personnel should take all possible precautions to ensure that mines are not jarred.
- Place sandbags near mines, if possible, to minimize damage to vehicles and equipment.
- Remove mines from equipment by using a line or other remote means. Ensure that the entire team is far enough from the mine to avoid casualties if it explodes.
- Place explosive charges to minimize vehicle damage when detonating mines on the ground.
- Clear sufficient mines to allow for mission accomplishment if the position cannot be evacuated.
- Clear and mark communication lanes between positions.
Many of our allies have extensive experience in mine operations. Among them is Canada. They have produced several manuals and videotapes on mine awareness and have developed the following survival rules. They are very practical and can be applied to our soldiers as well.
- If you did not drop it, do not pick it up.
- All terrain and structures are potentially mined or booby-trapped.
- Beware of areas associated with basic human needs. They could be mined or booby-trapped.
- Immediately report all confirmed or suspected mines.
- Leave mine disposal to the EOD personnel and combat engineers.
- Avoid touching or removing foreign objects, no matter how attractive. They could be mined or booby-trapped.
- Avoid verges because they could be mined. Stay on the traveled road.
- Mark and avoid UXOs if possible. Consider them unstable.
- Develop and rehearse effective evacuation drills.
- The lead vehicle should be one of the heaviest (2 1/2-ton, 5-ton) vehicles in the unit and be hardened against a mine threat.
- A high-mobility, multipurpose, wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) or a HEMMT should not lead a convoy unless absolutely necessary. These vehicles are extremely vulnerable to mine and UXO threat and are difficult to harden without commercial products.
Casualty Treatment and Evacuation
Casualty treatment and evacuation should be a part of every mission order. Incorporate the following elements into the unit SOP, and ensure that soldiers understand them. Emphasize that rushing to help a mine victim can lead to the rescuer becoming a casualty.
- Reassure the casualty.
- Do not panic and create another casualty.
- Call higher headquarters at the earliest opportunity, and request a specialist engineer and medical help as soon as possible.
- Extract yourself and mark the path as you go.
- Reenter along the marked path.
- Clear a path to the casualty.
- Administer first aid.
- Recover the casualty.
- Mark the area after it is clear, record it on the map, and report to higher headquarters.
- Blast injuries with fragments embedded.
- Traumatic amputations.
- Blunt trauma.
- Psychological anxiety reaction.
Leader skills in effective planning, risk management, and mine-data tracking/ dissemination can greatly enhance force protection and reduce casualties in a mined environment. Unit leaders must train themselves and their subordinates on mine-awareness tasks.
Risk management reduces the frequency of mine and UXO strikes and diminishes the physical effects when they do occur. It is used to identify hazards, define risks, identify methods for control, and identify responsibilities for implementation. The risk-management process enables commanders and staffs to define acceptable risk levels and implement controls until risks are commensurate with the mission. Risk management is a simple, five-step process:
- Identify hazards.
- Assess the risk of each hazard.
- Make risk decisions and develop controls.
- Implement controls.
This is often the most difficult part of risk management. A mine hazard is the condition that results from the interactions of a mine, a catalyst (such as activation from a soldier or vehicle), and a common spatial relationship. These hazards are defined in terms of mine types (AT, AP, fuses, metal content, AHD), how a soldier might encounter mines (dismounted or mounted and the type of vehicle), and the locations where encounters would be most likely. Mines are seldom employed in isolation, so complete hazard definition includes the complex obstacle and the covering fires.
Assess the Risk of Each Hazard
This requires determining the probability of a mine strike and the effects of the strike. An effective risk assessment is critical for evaluating the combat effectiveness of a unit in a mined environment. Risk-assessment criteria is developed by using Table F-1. A sample risk assessment is shown in Table F-2.
Make Risk Decisions and Develop Controls
This step requires decision makers to identify actions that can reduce the probability and/or severity to acceptable levels. This may be accomplished by taking actions to reduce the probability of a mine strike or by providing more protection to the soldier or materiel to reduce severity of a mine strike. Often, it is a combination of the two.
The key to using risk management successfully is to employ it at each echelon--from the commander, through the tactical planner, to the soldiers executing the mission. Each level identifies hazards, eliminates or reduces hazards as feasible, and communicates the residual hazards to the next lower echelon. As such, each echelon works as a filter to control unacceptable risks.
- Training provides soldiers with an understanding of equipment limitations and plays a critical role in the risk-management process. Capabilities and limitations of Army systems are taken into consideration during the development of doctrine and TTP.
- Risk management at the tactical planning level requires a thorough knowledge and awareness of the hazards and potential controls that can be employed. The planning process requires a methodical and disciplined technique to identify the hazards and develop appropriate controls for operating in a mined environment. The controls for countermine operations, discussed in Chapters 9 and 11 and in FM 90-13-1, provide a framework for risk-managing hazards associated with mines.
- The execution level is the culminating point of risk management. It is where soldiers and leaders employ the systems provided to accomplish the mission. The amount of residual hazards remaining after the filtering process from echelons above may well determine success. The individual soldier is the last element to control any residual hazards.
Optimizing the components of risk management at the tactical planning level is more challenging as emerging technologically dependent systems bring more variables into the mission. While tactical intelligence is the key element in identifying mine-related hazards, technical knowledge is the key element in assessing the risks associated with mine hazards. This knowledge assimilates the tactical intelligence with the capabilities of the unit's equipment, the performance of threat mines, and the protection provided to our soldiers by their vehicles or personal protective equipment. The staff engineer, using his engineer C2 system to risk-manage each COA, provides the maneuver commander and his staff with information on risks and potential controls early on in the planning process. Each subsequent commander must perform the same analysis and incorporate the mine threat into risk management.
RECORDING AND MINE-DATA TRACKING
Obtaining and disseminating information are the keys to battlefield management. Units encountering minefields or explosive devices should follow a five-step process--stop, secure, mark, report, and avoid. Units must provide adequate information to their higher headquarters to ensure that follow-on elements are well informed. Information must include known or suspected minefield locations, types of mines (if known), the marking method, the time encountered, and any additional information that may be of use to the clearing unit.
- Maintains a current situation map and overlay that depicts friendly and enemy mines and obstacles.
- Maintains and updates information on minefield tracking and route status.
- Receives and maintains minefield recording forms within the unit's AO (includes host-nation minefield data if available).
- Maintains a database of mine information.
- Processes, analyzes, updates, and disseminates the information to subordinate commanders and staff.
A mine incident includes any unplanned activity involving a mine, UXO, or booby trap. It also includes near misses that could have resulted in potential damage or injury. The mine-incident report is a technical report that follows a serious-incident report. The report should be submitted as soon as possible (the local SOP will indicate time requirements). A sample mine-incident report is shown in Figure 11-12.
Modern combat is complex, lethal, and demanding. Soldiers must be capable of performing their missions in any type of battlefield environment. Current doctrine and TTP provide soldiers with guidelines to accomplish their tasks and quality equipment provides the means. The common thread that connects doctrine, tactics, and equipment is quality training. To fight and win, units must train their soldiers to execute all wartime missions successfully. They must use every training opportunity to improve soldier, leader, and unit task performance. Without quality training, no amount of world-class equipment can make the soldier effective or make him survive in a wartime environment. Even the best doctrine in the world is worthless unless soldiers receive effective training. This is especially true with mine-awareness training.
Soldiers must be trained to think mine awareness as well as perform mine-related actions. Decisions, actions, and reactions must become automatic to every soldier. This requires that all soldiers receive mine-awareness training early in their careers. It must begin at early entry training with basic individual tasks and continue through advanced unit training with collective tasks. Soldiers who survive mine threats can survive mine warfare, but it requires continual training.
Basic Mine-Awareness Training
This is the most important phase for preparing soldiers to survive in a mine environment. Individual soldiers must be trained to a level that meets the environment they will face on the modern battlefield. Basic mine-awareness tasks (mine detection, survival rules, minefield indicators, and procedures for self-extraction from a minefield) must begin early in the soldier's career.
With an estimated 80 to 100 million mines deployed worldwide, countermine considerations must become second nature to mission planners. From CSS operations in the rear area to close combat operations in the main battle area, there is no place on the battlefield that is safe from mines. This is especially true with the threat of SCATMINEs that are deployed from aircraft and indirect-fire sources. The need for initial countermine training will get more critical as the modern battlefield becomes more lethal.
Annual Mine-Awareness Training
Units exercising military skills at the National Training Center, Joint Reserve Training Center, or the Combat Maneuver Training Center can reinforce and evaluate their awareness training. Soldiers should be fully trained on the individual and collective tasks that are required to support their unit's mine-related missions before deploying to the combat training centers. An effective method to meet this challenge is a well-planned annual training program that trains soldiers on individual and collective mine-awareness tasks. The plan should address the requirements for initial collective-task training and sustainment training.
Predeployment Mine-Awareness Training
With an ever-changing global environment, the probability of projecting US forces to various geographical locations is very real. It is extremely critical that units be situationally aware. Each flash point in the world contains its own type of threat. Many of these threats can be neutralized or reduced through quality predeployment training. Quality predeployment mine-awareness training enhances the ability of the unit to perform its mission and increases the confidence of soldiers.
Units must train intensively when alerted for a deployment. Predeployment training is the time to polish and refine training and to focus on theater-specific operations. Predeployment training is intended to augment individual and collective training, not replace it.
In-Theater Mine-Awareness Training
Training does not end with predeployment training. Units must train in the country where they deploy. They need to plan and conduct routine sustainment training on individual and collective mine-awareness tasks. This is an essential ingredient of force-protection operations. In-theater mine-awareness training reinforces the soldier's existing skills and places mine survival in the forefront of each soldier's mind.
Officers and NCOs must receive mine-awareness training in basic and career courses. Commissioned and noncommissioned leaders must be trained on the use and the employment of the equipment that they will use in the field. Officer basic courses and officer and NCO advanced courses must include access to modeling/simulation training. Using modeling/simulation enables the leader to practice decision-making, employment, and sustainment operations in a simulated mine environment. This develops the situational awareness required for timely, accurate decisions.
The Army Training and Evaluation Program remains the most effective measure of individual and collective training effectiveness short of actual combat. It provides leaders with the opportunity to verify the effectiveness of virtual and actual training without endangering soldiers with mine effects. Units must include mine-threat scenarios in their home-station training exercises. Basic missions include minefield detection, reduction, marking, proofing, and recording. Commanders are required to assess their unit's state of proficiency in mine-awareness tasks on a routine basis.
Mine awareness is a critical, perishable skill. It must be trained effectively and sustained on a continuous basis. If a unit properly trains its soldiers on mine awareness, it will maintain its force, boost its soldiers' confidence in their abilities, and accomplish its mission more effectively. Mine awareness is not a liability; it is an investment in a unit's future.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|