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Pentagon budget 2023: Biden administration seeks to continue landmine development

In 2018 the US Army released this illustration of its vision for a networked landmine concept. The service is now moving ahead with the top attack portion of the programme. (US Army)

The Biden administration wants to buy and continue developing new landmines in 2023 despite the lingering interagency review into Washington's policy on the controversial weapon.

On 28 March the White House submitted a USD773 billion request to fund the Department of Defense (DoD) in fiscal year (FY) 2023 and the measure includes USD117 million to procure and continue developing US Army landmines.

More specifically, the service wants to spend USD53 million next year buying Close Terrain Shaping Obstacle (CTSO) weapons, and an additional USD64 million on “landmine warfare and barrier” advanced development that is directly related to landmine development and fielding, according to the DoD procurement programme appendix and a 31 March email from the army. The proposed budget request also includes USD12 million for “landmine warfare and barrier” technology development but this line covers explosive ordnance disposal activities (bomb suits, neutralization, render safe set kits, etc.), the army told Janes.

The Pentagon has not yet released budget justification documents outlining its development plan and its five-year acquisition strategy. However, it is continuing to invest in landmine development even though the administration has asserted that it is reviewing US policy.

In 1997 several countries began signing on to a treaty banning anti-personnel landmines and it went into effect in 1999. Often referred to as the Ottawa Convention, 164 countries have signed it, although others – notably the United States, China, India, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and Iran – have not. Then in 2014 the Obama administration announced that it would not use such weapons outside the Korean peninsula and would destroy stockpiles not required there.

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