From the Director

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Ken RutherfordWelcome to our 20th edition of The Journal! This is an exciting year for us as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) as well as The Journal. Since our founding in 1996, CISR’s mission, programs and publications have continuously evolved with the ever-changing face of mine action, reflecting the training, informational and program needs of the field. As mine action is absorbed into the broader scope of conventional weapons destruction, CISR and The Journal are prepared to be the information leader for this community of practice. With great anticipation we begin this edition of The Journal with a new design and title—The Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction.

We begin our 20th edition with an editorial from Russell Gasser, in which he questions the benefits of large-scale spending on research into new technologies, especially when funding to develop and share solutions based on existing technology is sparse. We encourage readers to share their thoughts with us.

In our Feature section we look at best practices in conventional weapons destruction. Marlène Dupouy and Charles Frisby (UNMAS) review UNMAS’s stockpile destruction of obsolete surface-to-air missiles program in Mali, and Mark Frankish (UNMAS) reports on the UNMAS Gaza Emergency Response in 2014. Chad Clifton (Sterling International Group, LLC) discusses the use of thermal treatment to destroy large caliber ammunition in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Chris Loughran and Djadranka Gillesen (MAG, Mines Advisory Group) take stock of MAG’s armed management and destruction programming, based on lessons learned over the past two years.

Our Spotlight is on Eastern Europe and the Caucuses, specifically disaster response planning. Abigail Jones and Edward Crowther (Danish Demining Group/Danish Refugee Council) discuss the provision of emergency risk education to internally displaced persons and returnees in Ukraine, and Dr. Darvin Lisica and Dr. Stuart Maslen (Norwegian People’s Aid) discuss the continued need for clearance work in Kosovo. Finally, Faiz Paktian from GICHD reviews the organization’s Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia Outreach Programme.

As we reflect on The Journal’s evolution through these past 20 years, we would like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to our contributing authors, peer reviewers, and of course, our readers around the globe. We would not be where we are today without you. Thank you for contributing, for reviewing and for reading The Journal throughout the years. As you may note, this edition features articles represented by a number of industry experts and international organizations working in the field. Programs are reviewed, successes are discussed along with failures, and current practices are brought into question. This is the role of The Journal; to act as a medium through which to explore differing viewpoints, as well as an information source and sounding board for the field of mine action and conventional weapons destruction. As we move into our 20th year, I encourage you to reach out to us with topics you would like to see covered in future issues. The Journal is an information source for us all, both in print and online, and we encourage our authors and readers to continue utilizing this great resource available to our community of practice. Visit us online at http://jmu.edu/cisr. c

Ken Rutherford