STEMatState: Saving Lives through Advanced Engineering

Posted by Lisa Miller
April 16, 2014
Children Look at a Sign Warning of Landmine Dangers

Many people probably don’t think of diplomacy and engineering as going hand in hand.  The reality, however, is that science and technology play an important role in how the State Department conducts foreign policy on a daily basis.  Our colleagues worldwide build international scientific cooperation that increases economic and social development and creates innovative solutions to shared global challenges.  As part of this effort, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs cooperates with engineers around the world to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance, consolidating peace and setting the stage for reconstruction and development in post-conflict countries.  We are excited to be able to show how we work with our partners to destroy excess munitions and combat illicit weapons trading at the upcoming USA Science & Engineering Festival.

As part of the State Department’s exhibit, the Bureau of Political Military Affairs Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement will showcase our collaborative work with the Golden West Foundation in Cambodia to apply the power of engineering to make post-conflict regions of the world safer every day.  The interactive display will show visitors how advanced 3-D printing technology is being used to create training models of landmines and military ordnance, for use by demining technicians working to safely clear explosive remnants of war in post-conflict countries around the world – a real-world example of how advanced engineering is being used in the service of humanitarian assistance.  The Director of the Golden West Design Lab will participate in the Festival and answer visitors’ questions about the hands-on displays.

A 3-D Printer fabricates a training model to help field technicians identify and safely dispose of unexploded ordnance in Cambodia.

The United States is proud to be the world’s single largest supporter of efforts to safely clear landmines and unexploded ordnance. This vital aid not only saves lives - it helps refugees to return home and communities to rebuild and recover from war.  Since 1993, the United States has invested over $2.2 billion in more than 90 countries around the world to reduce the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately-used conventional weapons of war.  For more information, check out our annual report on Conventional Weapons Destruction: To Walk the Earth in Safety.

About the Author: Lisa Miller serves as Public Engagement Officer in the Bureau of Political-Military AffairsOffice of Weapons Removal and Abatement.

Editor's Note: This post is one of a series showcasing the application of science, technology, engineering, and math fields to the Department mission. The Department will have an exhibit in the USA Science and Engineering Festival where K-12 students can talk to Department scientists and see first-hand some of the technologies referenced in the series. To learn more about the Department of State's efforts in STEM, visit www.state.gov/stem.

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