How VP Nominee Tim Kaine Writes a Letter Without Saying Anything

Dear Mr. Swanson:

Thank you for contacting me about the Convention on Cluster Munitions.  I appreciate hearing from you.

A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon designed to open in the air before making contact, dispersing smaller submunitions that can saturate a radius of up to 250 yards.  These bombs are intended for military use when attacking enemy troop formations, but are sometimes also used in or near populated areas. This can pose a significant problem, as some of these submunitions can fail to explode and become de facto landmines, posing a significant risk to civilians lasting years after a conflict ends.  The Department of Defense has instituted a policy to reduce the failure rate of cluster munitions to one percent or less after 2018.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that prohibits the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions.  Coming into force in August 2010, the CCM also calls on countries to provide assistance to help others to meet their obligations under the treaty.  The U.S. has not signed or ratified the CCM. 

In January 2015, Senator Feinstein introduced the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act.  This bill, S. 28, places restrictions on the purchase and use of cluster munitions and requires the President to submit a plan for cleaning up unexploded munitions within 90 days after their use.  S. 28 has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for consideration.  As a member of this Committee, I will keep your views in mind should the issue of cluster munitions be brought up for consideration.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Tim Kaine

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