Previously, the only place that U.S. forces could employ landmines was on the Korean peninsula.
Mercado spoke to Pentagon reporters after White House officials announced the change.
The new generation of landmines also takes into account the U.S. emphasis on protecting innocent civilians. The new landmines are a significant departure from those deployed as recently as Desert Storm.
Even the simple ability to use landmines could be an advantage to U.S. forces, Mercado said.