A big part of President Donald Trump’s effort to protect the nation is ensuring that the U.S. military is equipped with all the tools necessary to achieve keep America safe.
To that end, the Trump administration just announced that it would be rolling back an Obama-era regulation that placed significant restrictions on the U.S. military’s use of anti-personnel landmine, the New York Post reports.
Trump cancels Obama-era policy
The policy put in place by former President Barack Obama all but banned the acquisition, stockpiling, and use of the deadly and injurious devices by the U.S. military in conflict zones with just one exception: the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea, where it was understood that landmines had proven effective in deterring potential invasions from Pyongyang.
The Obama administration also took steps to sign the U.S. onto an international agreement that completely bans the “use, stockpiling, production, and transfer” of landmines and even pursued efforts to destroy existing stockpiles of such weapons outside of the Korean Peninsula, according to the Post.
But the Trump administration has apparently reached the conclusion that the restrictive policy imposed by Obama placed our nation’s fighting forces at a “severe disadvantage” to enemies in a potential future conflict.
Keeping America safe
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham announced in a statement Friday that the president had “canceled the Obama [a]dministration’s policy to prohibit United States military forces from employing anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula.”
“The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama [a]dministration’s policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries,” Grisham continued. “The [p]resident is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops.”
A new policy has been devised that “will authorize [c]ombatant [c]ommanders, in exceptional circumstances, to employ advanced, non-persistent landmines specifically designed to reduce unintended harm to civilians and partner forces,” Grisham said.
An “important tool” for the troops
To be sure, anti-personnel landmines are controversial weapons that have been used for well over more than a century by fighting forces around the globe, sometimes with little discretion. This has resulted in tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians being killed or maimed by the destructive devices over many decades.
That said, Defense Secretary Mark Esper informed the media that such landmines are an incredibly effective tool the military can use to “shape the battlefield” and protect American forces and interests — with caution. “Landmines are one of many other important tools that our commanders need to have available to them on the battlefield to shape the battlefield and to protect our forces,” the secretary explained, according to the Post.
Esper also revealed that this policy reversal had been under consideration for quite some time, and had in fact been initially proposed by his own predecessor, Secretary James Mattis, the famed Marine Corps general who was tapped by President Trump to begin the process of rebuilding the military at the start of his tenure.
Of course, there will undoubtedly be squawking in the media about the dangers posed by the use of landmines, but there is little denying how effective such weapons can be when properly deployed. Still, given the dangers involved, hopefully this tool will remain largely stashed away in the toolbox — at least until and unless the U.S. military decides it’s warranted.