K9s Working With The U.S. Department Of State
by K9 Unit
In the spring of 2000, the U.S. DOS's Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs (HDP) funded K9 Global Training Academy (www.k9gta.com) to train six MDDs to work with an NGO, which receives funding through the United Nations. The organization is known as the Accelerated Demining Program (ADP) in Maputo, Mozambique. The ADP's program was the second instance in which HDP provided MDD assets to a pre-existing demining operation. The first time was to assist the OAS in Central America. The ADP's program was the first where MDDs were specifically trained to work in minefields that had been prepared for demining use by flail machines. The use of MDDs in areas cleared by the flails has broadened the utilization of MDDs in demining operations.
In 2000, HDP funded a separate MDD (12 dogs) demining operation in Beira, Mozambique. This operation was to clear the railroad lines within central Mozambique in order to improve travel and trade. This project was completed in the fall of 2002.
During the year 2000, HDP funded Global to accomplish the following tasks in Thailand:
- Establish a MAC and furnish technical assistance in training the Thai military to operate the center.
- Provide training and technical assistance in manual and mechanical demining procedures.
- Provide the Thai military Mine Dog Center (MDC) with training assistance in updating their MDD program. This program has provided 28 MDDs and handler training. It also has provided four MDD trainer instructors, who will complete their training in the summer of 2003.
In the spring of 2001, HDP established the Quick Reaction Demining Force (QRDF). The QRDF has eight MDD teams and manual deminers assigned. Their mission is to deploy to hot spots anywhere in the world that the United States has an interest in emergency demining. This group has been deployed to three locations in the last 18 months - Sri Lanka, Nigeria and twice to Sudan.
In 2001, HDP funded Global to support humanitarian demining operations in the following countries, each of which was provided with MDDs.
- Eritrea received six MDDs in 2001 and an additional six MDDs in 2002. All the dogs are fully deployed in the minefields.
- Oman received four MDDs in the spring of 2001, with all dogs being deployed in the fall of 2001.
- Lebanon received its first six MDDs in the spring of 2001 and a second group of seven MDDs in the spring of 2002. Lebanon is scheduled to receive an additional five MDDs the spring of 2003. All MDDs are deployed working behind flails and conducting quality assurance.
- Azerbaijan MDD operations commenced in September of 2001 with Global initially providing six leased MDD teams out of Bosnia. One of the lease dogs was replaced due to illness in the fall of 2001. These six MDDs were donated to the Azerbaijan Mine Action Clearance Program. Global trained local nationals to handle the MDDs. The second indigenous MDD handler course, which commenced in the spring of 2002, consisted of seven new MDDs. A third handler/supervisors course was conducted in August of 2002, which added three additional MDDs later that year.
In late spring of 2002, HDP funded a humanitarian demining operation with the military forces of Armenia. The requirement was to build a MAC, provide training for manual deminers and establish an MDD program. Seven MDDs were entered into training, and in September of 2002, five MDD handler teams completed training. These teams were deployed with a manual demining group in October of 2002.
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