Another most pressing national need is research and development related to UXO detection, location and discrimination problem. Unexploded ordnance may be found in the surface, subsurface, and marine (near-shore and deep-water) environment. As the result of war, military training, and weapons-testing activities, UXO presents a threat to active installations seeking to manage and clean their ranges, to sites designated for military base realignment and closure to former Department of Defense (DOD) sites. In the United States, the UXO problem results primarily from weapons development and training activities, including live-fire testing. The cost of identifying and disposing of UXO in the United States is estimated to range up to $500 billion. The site-specific cost, driven largely by the need to exercise extreme safety precautions, ranges from $400 per acre for surface UXO to $1.4 million per acre for subsurface ordnance. Successful development of UXO detection and discrimination technologies will aid in the development and commercialization of promising technologies to address the UXO problem. Because of the magnitude of the potential problem, small incremental increases in performance efficiency can result in substantial cost savings. However, innovative ideas that represent revolutionary approaches to the UXO identification and discrimination problem are essential. Technologies developed under the Center R&D effort will also directly support Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency requirements in order to accurately detect and discriminate buried objects such as hazardous waste containers and to delineate landfills and dumping grounds.
Landmines are the legacy of conflicts which to many of us are historical events. In Latvia, Germany, Lithuania and Austria, among other European countries, World War II era landmines are still found by unsuspecting homeowners, farmers, and construction workers. The persistence of a conflict can be judged by the fact that World War I explosives are still being found in Belgium. The magnitude of the problem is exacerbated in regions of more recent conflicts, notably in places such as the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethopia, Mozambique, Angola, and Kosovo. It is estimated that in these regions over 35 million landmines impede the return to normalcy. Annually, worldwide, some 26,000 non-combatants, including women and children, are indiscriminately maimed or killed by landmines. Detection technologies developed by the CSST R&D will directly support the global humanitarian demining effort as well as the effort for controlling weapons of mass destruction (chemical, biological and nuclear).