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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces
tions both overseas and, should the occasion arise, in U.S. waters; and the Air Force is trained and its bombers are configured to quickly deliver large quantities of naval mines.
In the chapters that follow, mining and countermine warfare are discussed separately. Chapter 3 addresses U.S. capabilities for and the potential advantages of sea mining. The discussions of countermine warfare in Chapters 4 and 5 encompass the two main thrusts of current Navy programs—programs to make mine counter-measures capability organic to the Navy’s battle groups, and the continuing need for a dedicated, specialized MCM force. These discussions in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are preceded by a discussion in Chapter 2 of some crosscutting, fundamental issues in force integration, such as ISR, that involve both mining and offshore and inshore countermine warfare.
Because the Navy’s mine warfare programs are so potentially important, because developments in this warfare area have lagged behind those in other warfare areas, and because of the complexity inherent in establishing a new major area of naval warfare, the committee found it appropriate to offer a larger number of more detailed recommendations than is customary for reports of this kind. These recommendations provide the committee’s best judgment on how current mine warfare programs can be strengthened to meet future naval force needs, how additional efforts should be developed to address future capability shortfalls, and how the naval forces can better leverage joint or national assets to meet their objectives. The most important of these recommendations are highlighted in the Executive Summary under seven overarching summary recommendations; the remainder are included in the relevant sections of Chapters 2 through 5.