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on the ground; are frequently unavaliable to small units).


The commander on the ground is responsible for accomplishing the unit mission by ensuring that subordinate units or troops use all weapons in a way that exploits the unique conditions of enemy, terrain, weather, and light. A commander might tactically employ soldiers, sensors, weapons, and units in the following ways to provide similar advantages as APL:

  • Use more forward reconnaissance (e.g., additional soldiers, ground sensors, and aerial sensors) to determine the enemy's location earlier in the decision cycle so continuous and sequential destruction can be inflicted as the enemy comes into the range of each available indirect-fire system, direct-fire system, and mine-like device. (Disadvantages: requires additional military manpower; greater likelihood of high U.S. casualties)

  • Use more soldiers, weapons, or units in a given battlefield area to increase firepower advantage on a given piece of terrain and increase the likelihood of slowing or defeating the enemy. (Disadvantages: requires additional military manpower; greater likelihood of high U.S. casualties)

  • Provide small, lightweight containers of contingency sensors and / or weapons that can be moved quickly by ground or air to the position of a small unit. The items in the containers would be tailored for local conditions and could include any combination of night-vision devices, ground sensors, Claymores, grenade launchers, machine guns, hand-held mortars, ammunition, and nonlethal munitions. (Disadvantages: uncertainty that container would be available when needed; additional training required to teach soldiers to use a range of sensors and weapons not normally available to them)

  • Employ AT mines “just-in-time” to support maneuver. Conduct a thorough terrain/enemy analysis, make detailed fire plans, and establish priority of fires so that AT mines could be delivered just in time (within minutes rather than hours) to support maneuver. For example, a dangerous enemy avenue into an advancing friendly force's flank could be closed with AT mines delivered remotely just prior to friendly force arrival. This would minimize the enemy's ability to find the scattered minefield, and the passing friendly forces would be able to cover the minefield with realtime observation, direct fire, and indirect fire. (Disadvantage: uncertainty that a dedicated delivery means, such as artillery, would be immediately available)

  • Employ remotely delivered AT mines in greater numbers, over greater areas, with more rapid reseeding rates. The larger the minefield the more difficult it may be for the enemy to bypass it (going around a minefield is usually the simplest countermeasure but often leads to a kill zone); a larger minefield is likely to require more time to breach with mine plows or more specialized armored breaching vehicles. As noted in Appendix D, APL are used to slow dismounted breaches of AT minefields. By reseeding existing AT minefields with additional remotely delivered AT mines, both mounted and dismounted breach attempts could be slowed as lanes thought to be passable would have to be recleared. Ideally, reseeding would be accomplished under real-time direction from a ground observer, a manned aircraft, or an unmanned aerial vehicle sensor. Otherwise, high-priority, remotely delivered minefields could be periodically reseeded as the tactical situation required. (Disadvantages: requires additional delivery means, mines, and military personnel)

The effectiveness of any of the tactical approaches listed above would greatly depend on the mission, the situation, and the force structure. Furthermore, history has shown that when one side changes tactics, the other side makes counterchanges. On the battlefield, tactics evolve, sometimes radically. Even though APL are rarely decisive on the battlefield, they do provide a commander with one more capability to shape the battle space, tailor his tactics, and enhance the effects of other more decisive systems. Therefore, the tactical approaches listed above might have a delaying effect but, either singly or in combination, they could not replicate the instantaneous lethality of APL on a precise point on the battlefield.


Materiel alternatives to APL are likely to consist of a combination of sensor, communication links, and lethal or nonlethal munitions. The committee carefully evaluated technologies in each of these categories in terms of the fundamental problem of current mines—they cannot distinguish between friend and foe. Although significant efforts have been devoted to existing and future communications and munition technologies, ground-based sensors cannot discriminate rapidly and accurately between types of soldiers and/or noncombatants. In the committee's opinion, the development of long-lasting, accurate, all-weather capable, low-power ground sensors may be key to the creation of the most flexible and militarily effective alternatives to APL.

APL have two missions—to kill dismounted targets and to protect AT mines from being breached; the latter is typically accomplished by mixed systems. An alternative to APL in these mixed systems could either (1) remove the APL and use only AT mines equipped with antihandling devices or (2) use other weapons designed for non-mine missions that

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