International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions
Underwater munitions pollute the marine environment with toxic chemicals. We have learned that there is a “need to clean” both chemical and conventional weapons based on potential human health impacts, as well as environmental implications through depleting fish stocks (CHEMSEA Findings Report 2013, Search and Assessment of Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons and Porter, JW, Barton J and Torres 2011, Ecological, Radiological and Toxicological Effects of Naval Bombardment on Coral Reefs of Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico).
Underwater Munitions are “Point Source Emitters of Pollution”. This means that in most cases, if we remove the source: we remove the problem. Off-the-shelf-technology developed by private sector, oil and gas industry, and military's unmanned systems programs, already exists to detect, map, recover and dispose of underwater munitions and the toxic waste they create. The International Dialogues on Underwater Munitions (IDUM's) mission is to promote the creation of an internationally binding treaty on all classes (biological, chemical, conventional, and radiological) of underwater munitions, to lead to the cleanup of our Oceans worldwide. IDUM hosts and attends international forums to facilitate collaboration with international leaders and organizations to better understand the socio-economic impact on both human health and environment from years of decaying underwater munitions. IDUM cooperates with researchers, industry, and government to foster collaborative solutions that further the clean-up of our oceans. We believe through international diplomacy via national and international programs, dialogue, conferences, workshops, committees, senate hearings, and commissions, we can come together globally to clean our One Ocea
IDUM is considered the international group of experts in Policy, Science, Technology and Responses to Underwater Munitions. We have been extremely effective in furthering international discussion, and creating a united appeal to international governments, as well as creating an International Technology Advisory Board on Sea Dumped Munitions. In support of our efforts, IDUM has been recognized in proceedings for Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Third Review Conference of State Parties, 2014 Noble Peace Prize winner and United Nations (Secretary General Report Sixty-eight session on Sustainable development) for our contributions within the Resolution on sea dumped chemical munitions.
IDUM takes action:
IDUM mobilizes working groups for policy science and technology of sea dumped munitions, and has hosted five (5) international dialogues. We have participated as an observer for Helsinki Commission Heads of Delegations for Protection of the Baltic Sea, as well as provided consultations within HELCOM MUNI Ad Hoc Working Groups on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons. IDUM has also been a “Special Invited Guest” of the OSPAR Commission for the Protection of the North-East Atlantic Oceans, and participates as Co- Directors for CHEMSEA – Search and Assessment of Chemical Weapons, Baltic Sea and NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) – MODUM Project.
IDUM is on the Scientific Committee Polish Naval Academy for Marine Security Yearbook and board of directors for International Centre for Chemical Safety and Security (ICCSS). Most recently, IDUM has been invited to centralize our cooperation with global peace and security organizations at The Hague. Our Chairman, Mr. T. P. Long, will manage the office in The Hague and cooperate with the international community of The Hague (including States Parties and the United Nations) to represent your concerns in an open and transparent process.
The International Dialogue on Underwater Munitions (IDUM) is a non-governmental organization/Society founded in 2004 by Mr. Terrence P. Long following his appearance at a Canadian Senate Hearing with the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. The IDUM's mission is to promote the creation of an internationally binding treaty on all classes (biological, chemical, conventional, and radiological) of underwater munitions. This treaty would encourage countries to collaborate on underwater munitions policy, research, science, and responses including environmentally-friendly remediation in affected regions. The IDUM is an internationally recognized body where all stakeholders (diplomats, government departments including external affairs, environmental protection and fishery departments, industry, fishermen, salvage divers, oil and gas, militaries and others) can come together in an open and transparent forum to discuss underwater munitions, seek solutions, and promote international teamwork on their issues related to underwater munitions. The IDUM promotes constructive engagement with all stakeholders rather than disengagement so that we may learn from one another's situation and determine how we can best respond in the future with everyone's considerations. What we have learned is that off-the-shelf-technology, developed by the oil and gas industry and military's unmanned systems programs, does exist to address underwater munitions sites. And there is a “Need to clean” based on the potential human health and environmental impact on our health care systems and fish stocks. Underwater munitions in some form or another will continue to pollute the marine environment over time. It’s just a question of “When”. Underwater Munitions are “Point Source Emitters of Pollution”. In most cases, remove the source and you remove the problem.
“The IDUM is collaborating with international leaders and organizations to better understand the socio-economic impact on both human health and environment from years of decaying underwater munitions. The organization is facilitating this through international diplomacy via national and international programs, dialogues, conferences, workshops, committees, senate hearings, and international commissions. Most notable are the international efforts of the Government of Lithuania that resulted in the unanimous passing of the United Nations Resolution on Sea Dumped Chemical Weapons in December 2010 at the United Nations. Internationally, we must organize and continue our work together to collect, process, and provide information on underwater munitions to the Secretary General of the United Nations. Any tangible approach would require a multilateral response from all stakeholders including institutional capacity-building and the creation of an International Donor Trust Fund.” Visit the IDUM Website
On a bright fall day last year off the coast of Southern California, an Air Force B-1 bomber launched an experimental missile that may herald the future of warfare.
Initially, pilots aboard the plane directed the missile, but halfway to its destination, it severed communication with its operators. Alone, without human oversight, the missile decided which of three ships to attack, dropping to just above the sea surface and striking a 260-foot unmanned freighter.
Warfare is increasingly guided by software. Today, armed drones can be operated by remote pilots peering into video screens thousands of miles from the battlefield. But now, some scientists say, arms makers have crossed into troubling territory: They are developing weapons that rely on artificial intelligence, not human instruction, to decide what to target and whom to kill.
As these weapons become smarter and nimbler, critics fear they will become increasingly difficult for humans to control — or to defend against. And while pinpoint accuracy could save civilian lives, critics fear weapons without human oversight could make war more likely, as easy as flipping a switch.
Britain, Israel and Norway are already deploying missiles and drones that carry out attacks against enemy radar, tanks or ships without direct human control. After launch, so-called autonomous weapons rely on artificial intelligence and sensors to select targets and to initiate an attack.
Britain’s “fire and forget” Brimstone missiles, for example, can distinguish among tanks and cars and buses without human assistance, and can hunt targets in a predesignated region without oversight. The Brimstones also communicate with one another, sharing their targets.
Armaments with even more advanced self-governance are on the drawing board, although the details usually are kept secret. “An autonomous weapons arms race is already taking place,” said Steve Omohundro, a physicist and artificial intelligence specialist at Self-Aware Systems, a research center in Palo Alto, Calif. “They can respond faster, more efficiently and less predictably.”
Concerned by the prospect of a robotics arms race, representatives from dozens of nations will meet on Thursday in Geneva to consider whether development of these weapons should be restricted by the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Christof Heyns, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, last year called for a moratorium on the development of these weapons.
The Pentagon has issued a directive requiring high-level authorization for the development of weapons capable of killing without human oversight. But fast-moving technology has already made the directive obsolete, some scientists say.
“Our concern is with how the targets are determined, and more importantly, who determines them,” said Peter Asaro, a co-founder and vice chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, a group of scientists that advocates restrictions on the use of military robots. “Are these human-designated targets? Or are these systems automatically deciding what is a target?”
Weapons manufacturers in the United States were the first to develop advanced autonomous weapons. An early version of the Tomahawk cruise missile had the ability to hunt for Soviet ships over the horizon without direct human control. It was withdrawn in the early 1990s after a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.
Back in 1988, the Navy test-fired a Harpoon antiship missile that employed an early form of self-guidance. The missile mistook an Indian freighter that had strayed onto the test range for its target. The Harpoon, which did not have a warhead, hit the bridge of the freighter, killing a crew member.
Despite the accident, the Harpoon became a mainstay of naval armaments and remains in wide use.
In recent years, artificial intelligence has begun to supplant human decision-making in a variety of fields, such as high-speed stock trading and medical diagnostics, and even in self-driving cars. But technological advances in three particular areas have made self-governing weapons a real possibility.
New types of radar, laser and infrared sensors are helping missiles and drones better calculate their position and orientation. “Machine vision,” resembling that of humans, identifies patterns in images and helps weapons distinguish important targets. This nuanced sensory information can be quickly interpreted by sophisticated artificial intelligence systems, enabling a missile or drone to carry out its own analysis in flight. And computer hardware hosting it all has become relatively inexpensive — and expendable.
The missile tested off the coast of California, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, is under development by Lockheed Martin for the Air Force and Navy. It is intended to fly for hundreds of miles, maneuvering on its own to avoid radar, and out of radio contact with human controllers.
In a directive published in 2012, the Pentagon drew a line between semiautonomous weapons, whose targets are chosen by a human operator, and fully autonomous weapons that can hunt and engage targets without intervention.
Weapons of the future, the directive said, must be “designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force.”
The Pentagon nonetheless argues that the new antiship missile is only semiautonomous and that humans are sufficiently represented in its targeting and killing decisions. But officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which initially developed the missile, and Lockheed declined to comment on how the weapon decides on targets, saying the information is classified.
“It will be operating autonomously when it searches for the enemy fleet,” said Mark A. Gubrud, a physicist and a member of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, and an early critic of so-called smart weapons. “This is pretty sophisticated stuff that I would call artificial intelligence outside human control.”
Paul Scharre, a weapons specialist now at the Center for a New American Security who led the working group that wrote the Pentagon directive, said, “It’s valid to ask if this crosses the line.”
Some arms-control specialists say that requiring only “appropriate” human control of these weapons is too vague, speeding the development of new targeting systems that automate killing.
Mr. Heyns, of the United Nations, said that nations with advanced weapons should agree to limit their weapons systems to those with “meaningful” human control over the selection and attack of targets. “It must be similar to the role a commander has over his troops,” Mr. Heyns said.
Systems that permit humans to override the computer’s decisions may not meet that criterion, he added. Weapons that make their own decisions move so quickly that human overseers soon may not be able to keep up. Yet many of them are explicitly designed to permit human operators to step away from controls. Israel’s antiradar missile, the Harpy, loiters in the sky until an enemy radar is turned on. It then attacks and destroys the radar installation on its own.
Norway plans to equip its fleet of advanced jet fighters with the Joint Strike Missile, which can hunt, recognize and detect a target without human intervention. Opponents have called it a “killer robot.”
Military analysts like Mr. Scharre argue that automated weapons like these should be embraced because they may result in fewer mass killings and civilian casualties. Autonomous weapons, they say, do not commit war crimes.
On Sept. 16, 2011, for example, British warplanes fired two dozen Brimstone missiles at a group of Libyan tanks that were shelling civilians. Eight or more of the tanks were destroyed simultaneously, according to a military spokesman, saving the lives of many civilians.
It would have been difficult for human operators to coordinate the swarm of missiles with similar precision.
“Better, smarter weapons are good if they reduce civilian casualties or indiscriminate killing,” Mr. Scharre said. More
Professor Samdhong Rinpoche,, a leading Tibetan academic stated recently; “Today the challenges of the modernity pose existential threat to mankind and earth itself, if not tackled adequately and immediately. The first major challenge is of VIOLENCE. Its most visible forms are war and terrorism. Then there is the systematic or system generated violence. We are neither able to see it or understand it, but its scope and spread are frightening. The present situation is such that we have no will to resist violence, unless it directly affects us. This kind of violence is market driven which necessitates perpetuation of war or its possibility. In brief the entire world today is being governed by the market forces, which are described consumeristic system”. Violence, war and terrorism, along with poverty and disease are governance issues, global governance issies.
As Kofi Annan, then secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), told world leaders in 1998: “Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development.” Governance is the exercise of economic, political, and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. Different definitions of good governance have been proposed by development organizations. The definition offered by the UN Development Programme highlights participation, accountability, transparency, consensus, sustainability, the rule of law, and the inclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable people in making decisions about allocating development resources.
All of the above are issues that we have to technology and resources to alleviate. Doing so would remove the necessity to produce weapons as described above, it could do away for the need for the military as we know it today. The world could be like Costa Rica whose military was abolished on December 1, 1948, by President José Figueres Ferrer. Our world could literally become a Paradise or Garden of Eden where peace reigned as everyones needs were fulfilled. Editor.
Russia’s decision to go ahead with the sale of Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan, even in the face of official Indian concerns, is being seen by some quarters as evidence of a “major” regional re-alignment in the wake of the American drawdown in Afghanistan.
In fact, the Russia-Pakistan dialogue for regional integration has been underway for some time now and beyond security cooperation, it is more fundamentally driven by Moscow’s push towards ‘southern” markets and Pakistan’s need for a capable yet politically “manageable” strategic sector trade and investment partner. The Mi-35 sale (if it does materialize) reflects the fact that the geo-economic stakes for both sides are now high enough for them to make a concerted push towards a long term compartmentalized working relationship in a manner not dissimilar to the way in which their more traditional partners – India for Russia and America for Pakistan – deal with each other. Indeed, in a world characterized by both competition and cooperation the heady rhetoric of “strategic partnership” means little and it is the transactional content that weighs on any relationship. Far more than cooperation in counter-terrorism, Russia and Pakistan will have to move forward quickly on Putin’s commitment to invest in the latter’s energy and metallurgy sectors for their relationship to be meaningful.
It could be argued that it was actually America’s entry into the region a decade ago that ultimately accentuated the circumstances that impel Russia and Pakistan closer to each other. Pakistan’s counter-terrorism cooperation with America salved with military aid has been toxic for domestic stability, as the situation in FATA and Waziristan reveal. As the tempo of internal stability operations has increased, Pakistan is keen to diversify away from America for certain classes of weaponry to a source that can supply cheaper and more rugged alternatives with a much smaller political price on the domestic front. The Mi-35 fits that bill and is likely to prove useful for Pakistani operations against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in mountainous areas, given its pedigree from the Afghan theater. At the moment Pakistan is using AH-1 Cobra Gunships that were originally obtained from America for use against Indian armoured formations in the plains and are proving expensive to use in operations against the TTP. Pakistan may not wish to be saddled with too much expensive American equipment that it can”t afford without generous aid.
Russia until recently was “reluctant” to transfer equipment that could be labelled as offensive in nature such as the Mi-35, and was holding back probably with an eye on a number of Indian military procurement tenders such as the multi-billion dollar medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) competition. In 2010, Russia’s UAC, which was participating in the tender, even made noises about blocking the re-export of 150 KlimovRD-93 turbofans from China for Pakistan Air force’s future mainstay, the JF-17, on the grounds that it would compete with the Russian Mig-29 in international markets. By 2013, however, with Russia having lost out on the MMRCA tender and other Indian competitions, the Russians reiterated their commitment to continue supplies of the RD-93 and the JF-17 Block II commenced production in late 2013. So while much is being made of the Mi-35 sale, the fact is the Pakistanis seem set to rely on Russian engines for a majority of their fleet in the coming decades. When seen along with the fact that Russia supplied IL-78 MP refuelling tankers to Pakistan between 2009 and 2012, it is clear that comfort levels on both sides have been growing for quite a while now.
However, Russia is now willing to supply tactical equipment to Pakistan, especially in categories such as attack helicopters, where India either has domestic projects or may buy American. In many of these categories, though Pakistani spending ability given relatively cheaper Russian equipment is not insignificant, the pull for the Russians also comes from securing greater Pakistani willingness to help the Russians maintain security over energy infrastructure transiting areas like Eastern Afghanistan.
Once again, the American push to set up energy transit corridors from Central Asia to India such as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline has created a situation of Russia-Pakistan commonality. Russia has for some time expressed an interest in joining the TAPI project and is now pushing decisively for it even while proposing new oil pipelines next to it. Russia is also eager to partner in the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline project, opposed by the Americans, but with clear potential if Pakistan agrees to guarantee delivery of gas to the India border. Of course, besides military supplies, Russia can also offer Pakistan a lot of useful intelligence in the latter’s fight against the TTP given that group’s link with various Central Asian terrorist organizations.
For Pakistan, the opening of Russia as a source for weapons greatly increases Pakistan’s leg room vis-à-vis American pressure at the strategic level. Moreover while Pakistan is certainly eager to get involved in trilateral military projects with Russia and China like the JF-17 (which may now even be exported to Myanmar), direct Russian weapon sales are also coveted since the Pakistani military does not want to field only Chinese weapons either.
In fact, as terrorist activities in Xingjiang increase and Pakistan’s internal security situation worsens, the Chinese have been rather selective in their Pakistani investments. For instance, Pakistan’s decrepit railways have actually had to turn to India for help and are looking to lease up to 50 diesel engines as rolling stock. While Indian industry has been making overtures to Nawaz Sharif’s government to open up to cross border investment, the Pakistani military is still looking to a politically less sensitive prospect to shore up the flagging core sectors of the Pakistani economy clearly in need of reliable foreign capital.
Of course, if former Pakistani Army Chief General Kayani’s views are anything to go by, the military understands that there can be no Pakistan without a viable economy. While in uniform, it was Kayani who made a couple of visits to Russia and today the Russians are being wooed as a source for investment in Pakistan’s flagship Thar Coal Project as well as a strategic partner for upgrading the South Asian country’s moribund steel industry. Chechnya it seems is more distant than Kashmir or even Xingjiang and Russia could yet prove a politically acceptable partner for meeting an energy crisis ridden Pakistan’s requirements in quite a few sectors.
For Russia the benefits of succeeding in Pakistan are worth the risk, since it could leverage influence over Af-Pak to reach Indian shores. Indeed, even Pakistan’s Gwadar port, much touted as a Chinese “pearl” could actually host a LNG liquefaction facility that could send cheaper gas supplies than Qatar to import terminals in South India. However, both Russia and Pakistan will have to work quicker to remove long-standing trade disputes for a more conducive environment.
India will of course watch closely to see whether the Russians are indeed able to use the dependencies they are creating in Pakistan for closer regional energy integration. That the Russians are increasing strategic options for their neighbor when even the Saudis are handing over Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists will obviously be of concern to New Delhi. That is especially so since the Pakistanis themselves are masters at selective counterterrorism at a time when many jihadists in Syria and Afghanistan may soon be looking for a re-direct.
Saurav Jha is a commentator on energy and security. Follow him on twitter @SJha1618.