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Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 2, 2008

Convention on Cluster Munitions Opens for Signature (Taken Question)

Question Taken at December 2, 2008 Daily Press Briefing

Q. What are U.S. views on the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) set to open for signature in Oslo on December 3?

  • The United States shares the concerns of many states regarding the unintended harm to civilians caused by the use of cluster munitions.
  • Such concerns are behind the DoD Policy on Cluster Munitions and Unintended Harm to Civilians, signed by Secretary Gates on June 19, 2008, as well as U.S. Government contributions of well over $1.4 billion since 1993 to clean up landmines and all other explosive remnants of war, including unexploded cluster munitions.

  • Although we share the humanitarian concerns of states signing the CCM, we will not be joining them.

  • The CCM constitutes a ban on most types of cluster munitions; such a general ban on cluster munitions will put the lives of our military men and women, and those of our coalition partners, at risk.

Q. What is the United States doing to address the humanitarian concerns associated with cluster munitions?

  • The U.S. Department of Defense adopted a new cluster munitions policy on June 19, 2008, concluding a year-long review that balances humanitarian concerns and national security requirements.
  • In ten years, (by the end of 2018) DoD will no longer use cluster munitions which, after arming, result in more than 1 percent unexploded ordnance across the range of intended operational environments. For further details on the new cluster munitions policy, I refer you to DoD. [The policy’s text can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/d20080709cmpolicy.pdf.]

  • The United States takes a comprehensive approach to dealing with explosive remnants of war (ERW) of all types. The United States is the single largest donor in this area, having provided well over $1.4 billion in aid to clean up landmines and ERW, including unexploded cluster munitions, since 1993.

  • We continue to support the conclusion of a protocol within the framework of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) that addresses both the humanitarian and national security concerns associated with the use of cluster munitions. Unlike the CCM, the CCW includes all major military users, producers, and stockpilers of the world’s cluster munitions.


Released on December 2, 2008

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