Serve in a Different Uniform There is more to life after the army
Deciding what your next step will be after serving in the army can be daunting. You may have already closed the door on your military career or are about to leave, and now is the time to pursue new opportunities.
When people think about roles in landmine clearance, deminers generally spring to mind! While this role is valuable in the removal of landmines, there is always a need for project managers, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainers and mentors, as well as medical personnel just to name a few.
There are over 110 million laid and active landmines globally, excluding the further millions of tonnes of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Unexploded devices that injure civilians in conflict and post-conflict zones are a barrier to a country’s regenerative future. Collectively, they pose a daily threat to civilian safety as well as severely impeding economic development.
While disarming an explosive device may not have been what you were expecting to pursue post army-life, there is extraordinary work currently being done to rid countries worldwide of these destructive weapons, many years after conflicts have ended. Mine action, encompassing clearance capacities and risk education, is essential to an affected country’s socio-economic growth.
When a country is confronted with the threat of landmines and ERW, organisations such as TDI take action to remove these weapons. TDI was established in 2005 to provide extensive project management support to both governmental and non-governmental organisations, incorporating the provision of landmine clearance, UXO disposal, mine risk education (MRE), improvised explosive device disposal (IEDD) and search training. In addition to the above, TDI also provides fleet maintenance and remote logistics solutions.
Since small beginnings, TDI has established a notable record in humanitarian and commercial mine action, and has proven to be a reliable accessory in a variety of challenging environments. To date, TDI has successfully undertaken over 85 projects in 18 countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Togo, Afghanistan, and Central African Republic to name a few. During its 13-year lifespan, TDI has succeeded in developing its operational capacity and training capabilities, gaining substantial administrative and logistical experience in the deployment and management of mine action.
As of 2017, manual mine clearance operations conducted by TDI have resulted in the freeing up of over 2,062,579 kilometres of previously mined areas of land and contaminated fields. We have removed over 90,000 items of unexploded ordnance, safely destroyed over 500 tonnes of unserviceable and obsolete munitions and provided valuable education to over 244,000 local people who are at risk of these explosive weapons. There are still millions more hazardous items to destroy and TDI continues to spearhead the efforts to clear the way and reduce the fatal footprint landmines leave behind.
It is widely known that clearing hazardous explosive material is a precarious task; however, TDI is accustomed to working in difficult areas. Our practical approach to operations, combined with the seamless integration of local capacity into our management teams has enabled TDI to emerge as a reliable source of mine action and risk education provision. We have successfully mobilised multiple projects into numerous countries, refining our processes and procedures along the way. We consider each country’s unique parameters and terrain in order to provide the most appropriate and necessary tools to conduct tasks competently, cost effectively and fundamentally safely, for our staff and that of civilians.
It is generally perceived that mine action is limited to the location and removal of landmines. Mine action is a collective term for activities that address all kinds of explosive remnants of war from landmines, to UXO and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A similar threat to landmines is that of UXO. UXO, comprising of unpredictable explosives including mortars, grenades, missiles and bombs, can be extremely dangerous and volatile if moved or tampered with, becoming a potentially wider and hidden danger.
Like the removal of explosive devices, mine risk education is also crucial to the worldwide mine action effort. On many projects, TDI have a team dedicated to educating civilians, officials and a country’s military personnel on how to recognise these items and what precautions to take. The scope of mine action is vast. The opportunities to develop within this industry are reflective of this, wide and diverse.
While our trained and well-equipped personnel remove landmines, UXO and ERW, they also simultaneously conduct technical surveys and GIS mapping. Once the area has been determined landmine and hazard free, the cleared land is entrusted to local governments, communities and businesses for the sustainable development of this land in the future. Previously displaced civilians can too, return to the land without the risk of encountering these devices.
TDI has worked in many countries riddled with the remnants of internal conflict, and currently have a prominent presence in Central and West Africa. Despite our ongoing efforts, UXO and ERW are still a prominent worldwide entity in post-conflict zones today. The detection, identification, evaluation, recovery and disposal of all items of explosive ordnance such as grenades, cluster munitions, land service ammunition and mortars is a significant facet of TDI operations. Such disposal is crucial to limiting the risk of injury and fatalities with civilians, children and animals, surmounting to additional expenses on a country’s government and healthcare facilities.
As has been increasingly seen in today’s media, IEDs are becoming the weapon of choice in many countries of North Africa and the Middle East. TDI has conducted clearance work in countries where there is a high risk of these weapons, while providing training solutions to recognise and dispose of them. Our training solutions are flexible and can be adapted according to the specific threats unique to each country. Qualified professionals, who are often from a military background and have many years of practical experience gained from exposure in multiple theatres, deliver all of the training in the country of operations where continuous mentoring can be provided
In as much as TDI are clearing hazardous regions, there is often the threat of ammunition finding their way into the hands of criminal groups and rebel forces. This is especially dangerous in countries suffering from violent conflict or weak governance. TDI staff are deployed in these regions to restore ineffective stockpile security and management of such arms and ammunition. Civilians, unbeknown to the dangers of these weapons, may also unintentionally encounter them with an often-fatal outcome. With the accumulated knowledge of our personnel, TDI has developed significant experience in this sector and will assist with a broad range of stockpile management activities including storage, transportation, handling processes, operational procedures and disposal.
Due to our continued presence in remote and often hostile locations, TDI recognises that an efficient and reliable logistics chain is critical to ensure that our clients concentrate on their core business ventures in these challenging environments. To lighten the lead, TDI provides a variety of tailor-made services to organisations operating in often-inaccessible areas. Whilst mine action is our core focus, we also provide practical solutions for camp construction and management, water procurement and fleet maintenance services. The career options within TDI are extensive, with opportunities available in many of the countries within which we operate.
As an organisation, we constantly strive to improve our level of performance and provide the highest quality of service in the industry. Removing the threat of unexploded devices is necessary to provide people with the opportunity to return or remain in their homes and work for a better future for themselves and their families. We believe that mine action must extend beyond merely clearing areas and allude to the fact that communities must be given assistance to rebuild, restore and pursue sustainable peace and development.
The TDI team is incredibly broad with a wealth of experience collaborated from each individual’s particular field of expertise. Collectively, our personnel have worked in all corners of the world. We are proud to employ qualified individuals from over thirty-two countries with staff travelling from as far as, although not limited to; South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ivory Coast, the Philippines, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.
TDI aims to make the unnerving transition from military to corporate life a success for everyone who joins us. All TDI staff are afforded the trust and responsibility to contribute to making the world a safer place for the millions of people affected daily by landmines. So, if you are reading this magazine and still contemplating what to do next, why not consider joining us at TDI? There are career options outside of military life and TDI provides the tools for you to branch into something new. Wherever you are in your career, hanging up one uniform does not suggest it is the end of the road but rather the beginning of a new one.