3
U.S. Naval Mines and Mining

The committee assessed the capabilities of the United States to employ sea mines and found, first, that, contrary to the U.S. Navy’s published mine warfare plan,1 current capabilities are extremely limited and, second, that the trend is toward having essentially no mining capability in the future. The committee then considered possible underlying reasons for this situation and identified potential advantages that could be provided by reestablishing a robust U.S. mining capability. Finally, the committee addressed the issues of how to determine the kinds of mines that would best serve U.S. interests, and how an effective mining program might be implemented.

CURRENT STATUS OF U.S. MINING CAPABILITIES

A naval minefield is a significant physical and psychological threat that can cause attrition to enemy ships and submarines or limit ship movements by forcing delays and diversions because of perceptions and fears, both real and exaggerated.2 Any suspected minefield must be treated as a serious danger, thereby forcing a ship’s commander to make decisions with incomplete information of the true threat, little information on the relative merit of the available choices, and dire consequences if a wrong choice is made.

1  

Johnson, ADM Jay L., USN, and Gen James L.Jones, USMC. 2000. U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, 4th Edition, Programs for the New Millennium, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., January.

2  

Doctor, Michael A., and Victor S.Newton. 1998. “Making Mining Relevant in the Twenty-First Century,” Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Technology and the Mine Problem… to Change the World, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif., Mine Warfare Association, pp. 11–3 to 11–9.



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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces 3 U.S. Naval Mines and Mining The committee assessed the capabilities of the United States to employ sea mines and found, first, that, contrary to the U.S. Navy’s published mine warfare plan,1 current capabilities are extremely limited and, second, that the trend is toward having essentially no mining capability in the future. The committee then considered possible underlying reasons for this situation and identified potential advantages that could be provided by reestablishing a robust U.S. mining capability. Finally, the committee addressed the issues of how to determine the kinds of mines that would best serve U.S. interests, and how an effective mining program might be implemented. CURRENT STATUS OF U.S. MINING CAPABILITIES A naval minefield is a significant physical and psychological threat that can cause attrition to enemy ships and submarines or limit ship movements by forcing delays and diversions because of perceptions and fears, both real and exaggerated.2 Any suspected minefield must be treated as a serious danger, thereby forcing a ship’s commander to make decisions with incomplete information of the true threat, little information on the relative merit of the available choices, and dire consequences if a wrong choice is made. 1   Johnson, ADM Jay L., USN, and Gen James L.Jones, USMC. 2000. U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, 4th Edition, Programs for the New Millennium, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., January. 2   Doctor, Michael A., and Victor S.Newton. 1998. “Making Mining Relevant in the Twenty-First Century,” Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Technology and the Mine Problem… to Change the World, Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, Calif., Mine Warfare Association, pp. 11–3 to 11–9.

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces U.S. Naval Mining: The Vision and the Reality The Vision The U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan acknowledges that the sea mine remains “an exceptionally powerful and cost effective tactical weapon that deserves a prominent position within any naval arsenal” (p. 27). The sea mine is a classic low-cost force multiplier that should be especially important at a time of declining fleet size. Sea mines can be used by any country that aspires to extend its reach and influence to areas and at times where it cannot deploy a requisite force. The U.S. naval sea mining vision is (1) to develop, procure, maintain, and deploy a modern family of sea mines optimized for potential future military encounters in littoral regions and (2) to develop a comprehensive understanding of U.S. adversaries’ sea mine designs in order to successfully counter them. By revitalizing its own mining program the United States can remedy shortcomings in its current mining capability and also better understand new threat mine designs. According to the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, in order to realize this mining vision the Navy will support the mines that are in the current inventory and also aggressively support development of new sea-mine technology and operational capabilities. In particular the Navy’s published mine warfare plan, which differs sharply from its funded programs, calls for a capability for remote control of sea mines, a standoff mining capability, and a full-water-depth mining capability. These are all required in order to mine effectively against a wide range of targets with adequate safety. To ensure the effectiveness of future forces, the Mine Warfare Plan states that it is necessary to develop and maintain an inventory of modern weapons, integrate mining into the overall planning to shape the battlespace, and ensure the availability of a variety of delivery platforms in sufficient numbers to execute approved plans. The plan notes that during conflict, it may be necessary to protect and replenish minefields and, when hostilities have ceased, to provide for the safe, timely, and cost-effective neutralization and/or removal of mines. The Reality The current U.S. naval mining capability is in woefully bad shape with small inventories, old and discontinued mines, insufficient funding for maintenance of existing mines, few funded plans for future mine development (and none for acquisition), declining delivery assets, and a limited minefield planning capability in deployed battle groups. A key indicator of the decreasing U.S. Navy mine development effort is the decline in the government workforce for mine-related efforts. In 1987 about 240 mine-development person-years of effort were funded. This number decreased to 36 in 2000 and is scheduled to be zeroed in 2002. With no significant research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) program

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces and no prospects for procurement, the nongovernmental industrial base for mine development and production has also precipitously declined. Current U.S. Naval Mine Inventory The present U.S. inventory3 of naval mines includes: Quickstrike—a family (Mk 62 (500 lb), Mk 63 (1000 lb), and Mk 65 (2300 lb)) of air-dropped, relatively shallow water (< 300 ft), bottom mines based on general-purpose bombs, using variable-influence sensors to detect submarines and surface ships. Mk 60 (CAPTOR) —an obsolescent, air-dropped, 2000-lb, medium-depth (150 to 600 ft), moored mine employing an Mk 46 homing torpedo and specifically designed in the 1970s for use against the high-speed, deep-operating submarines of the day. The majority of the inventory is being withdrawn, with a small number being retained for an indeterminate period. Submarine-launched mobile mine (SLMM) Mk 67—a bottom mine using obsolete 1960s technology. It combines a modified Mk 37 torpedo with a mine warhead. Launched from a submarine torpedo tube, it is the only mine in the U.S. Navy stockpile that can be covertly delivered from standoff ranges. A small number of SLMMs is being retained in inventory. Future Mine Development The Navy has no funded plans to acquire any new mines in the next 7 years. A replacement mine for the Mk 60 has been proposed, called the littoral sea mine (LSM), which would be designed for intermediate water depths of about 150 to 600 ft. It was to have been air-, surface-, or submarine-launched and would be used against surface or subsurface targets. There is no funding for continued development or acquisition. A planned target detection device (TDD) Mk 71 has been developed but is not being acquired. The Mk 71 TDD would provide an improved sensor and fusing device for the Quickstrike series of mines that would enable these mines to be programmed to respond to emerging threats such as quiet diesel electric submarines, small submarines, fast patrol boats, and air-cushioned vehicles. There is no further funding for development or acquisition. 3   Hewish, Mark. 2000. “Sea Mines, Simple But Effective,” International Defense Review, November, pp. 45–48; Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035, Vol. 7, Undersea Warfare, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; Johnson, ADM Jay L., USN, and Gen James L.Jones, USMC. 2000. U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, 4th Edition, Programs for the New Millennium, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., January.

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces A planned improved submarine-launched mobile mine (ISLMM) Mk 76 was being developed to replace the SLMM Mk 67, providing conversion to an Mk 48 torpedo body, with two mines per torpedo, longer range, and more versatile delivery routes. There is no further funding for development or acquisition. An armed sensor field concept called deployable autonomous distributed system (DADS)4 has been proposed. Again, no further development or acquisition funding is planned to provide this capability. Mine Delivery Platforms5 Aircraft are the main U.S. mine delivery platform. They include the Navy F-14 to deliver Quickstrike Mk 62 mines; the F/A-18, P-3C Orion, and Air Force B-52H to deliver Mk 56 and all Quickstrike series mines; the B-1B to deliver Quickstrike Mk 62 and Mk 65 mines; and the B-2 to deliver Quickstrike Mk 62 mines. Current attack submarines can deliver SLMM Mk 67 mines. The new Virginia-class SSNs are not scheduled to have a mine delivery capability. International Law Governing Naval Mine Warfare Although some appear to have the impression that international law severely limits the applicability of mining, it is generally agreed that international rules for mining in peacetime, or during a crisis, indicate the following:6 Nations can lay armed or controlled mines in their own internal waters at any time without notification to others, and in archipelagic waters and territorial seas during peacetime, with notification of minefield location, to meet temporary “national security purposes.” Nations cannot lay armed mines in international straits or archipelagic sea lanes during peacetime. Nations can lay controlled mines in their own archipelagic waters or territorial sea without notification. Nations can lay controlled mines in international waters, without notification, as long as they do not constitute an “unreasonable interference” with other lawful uses of the seas. Armed mines cannot be laid in international waters prior to an outbreak of armed conflict, except under special circumstances. If laid, prior notification of 4   Hewish, Mark. 2000. “Sea Mines, Simple But Effective,” International Defense Review, November, pp. 45–48. 5   Johnson, ADM Jay L., USN, and Gen James L.Jones, USMC. 2000. U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, 4th Edition, Programs for the New Millennium, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., January. 6   Greer, W.L. 1997. A Summary of Laws Governing the Use of Mines in Naval Operations, IDA Document D-2055, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Va., April.

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces their location is required, and an on-scene presence must be maintained during peacetime to ensure that warning is given to all approaching ships. When the imminent danger has passed, such mines must be rendered harmless or be removed. Summary of Status of U.S. Mining Capabilities Although the above discussion emphasizes the mines themselves for a range of applications, an effective mining capability requires attention to all of the additional elements listed here: Means of delivery, Trained operators (exercises), Knowledgeable commanders (e.g., joint force commanders), Operational minefield planning capability (e.g., types, positions, settings), Realistic planning tools, Effective organization for execution (integration into force), Intelligence support (environments, signatures, counters), and Logistics support. Despite the expansive vision contained in the U.S. Naval Mine Warfare Plan, the present funding for sea mines is essentially limited to maintaining the Quickstrike family, an air-dropped bottom mine with only shallow-depth capabilities. There are no funded plans to provide a standoff delivery capability for Quickstrike-type mines such as by developing a mine version of the joint direct attack munition (JDAM) standoff weapon. There are no funded plans for new medium- or deep-water mines. Currently available mines are not effective against new target types in littoral waters; there are insufficient inventories to execute existing mining plans; the number and variety of delivery platforms continue to decline due to reduction in forces; training for mining missions is unduly limited; there are long-standing controversies regarding the correctness of the current methods used by the Navy to gauge minefield effectiveness and assess mine design;7 and the U.S. technical industrial base for mine design and fabrication is about to disappear. In short, the U.S. capability to conduct naval mining operations is vanishing. WHY THE LOW STATUS FOR MINING? The precipitous decline in U.S. naval mining capability follows from the fact that mine warfare in general has had a low priority within the Navy’s budget, and 7   Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035, Vol. 7, Undersea Warfare, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 78.

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces mining has the lowest priority within the constrained mine warfare budget. Unlike mine countermeasures, which the Navy has employed as recently as the Gulf War, significant mining has not been attempted since the mining of Haiphong and other North Vietnamese harbors in 1972. Although naval mining proved extremely effective in World War II, its use has been held in low regard by the U.S. Navy since then. Within the Navy there is a general perception that, at a tactical level, mining is unexciting (i.e., results are slow) and that its relatively indiscriminate targeting limits the mobility of U.S. naval forces as much as that of an adversary. In a Navy that measures effectiveness primarily by the actual attrition of enemy forces, minefields that stop traffic without sinking or even damaging a ship have been viewed by some as a weakness rather than a strength.8 There is also a mistaken perception that considerations of national policy or international law would likely sharply limit the circumstances for use of naval mines, particularly in international waters. This is in spite of the fact that, during the height of the Cold War, the United States built a large inventory of deep-water mines (CAPTOR), intended primarily for deployment in allied and international waters as a counter to Soviet nuclear submarines. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the decline in the hostile blue-water submarine threat has resulted in low interest in medium- to deep-water mines, which were considered to be primarily antisubmarine warfare (ASW) weapons. Another contributor to the low priority of mining is a lack of specific sponsorship. Mines are weapons that contribute to control of the surface and undersea environment, but their delivery (with the exception of the small inventory of SLMMs) is done entirely by air—with Air Force bombers being the primary platforms for high-volume delivery. Although mines have many of the characteristics of strike warfare weapons, the nominal Navy sponsor for mining is the Director for Expeditionary Warfare, who quite properly is more concerned with the mine countermeasures shortfalls discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. Finally, the cost of developing new mining systems (including delivery as well as the weapons themselves) is seen as excessive given that the Navy attaches a low priority to mining. In a climate in which mining capability is viewed as unimportant, the mine development community (both government and industry) is viewed by some as proposing unaffordable systems. SHOULD THE UNITED STATES HAVE A MINING CAPABILITY? In recent years, while not explicitly asserting that it does not need a mining capability, the Navy has consistently concluded that other investments deserve a 8   Kaufman, A.I. 1997. Cultural and Ethical Underpinnings of the Navy’s Attitude Toward Naval Mining, IDA Document D-2057, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Va., April.

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces higher priority. However, several recent studies have concluded that a U.S. mining capability should be sustained.9 Scenarios The single common feature of scenarios involving the use of sea mines is that there are maritime assets (either surface ships or submarines) to be targeted. Beyond that there is great variability. Surface targets may range from large combatants to merchant shipping or small craft. Submarine targets may range from SSNs to mini-submarines or unmanned undersea vehicles. The level of conflict may range from full-scale war through peacetime security or economic sanctions. The desired effect of a single encounter may range from simple detection to tagging, stopping, disabling, or, most traditionally, sinking. The objective of the mining effort may be to control the movement of a single ship, to stop all penetration attempts, to cause attrition, or to protect friendly areas. There are two critical differences between traditional thinking about mine warfare and thinking about its usage in the 21st century. The first is the changed geo-strategic environment. Traditionally mines have been thought of as weapons used in unrestricted warfare to interdict enemy shipping or otherwise shape a maritime battlespace. Now the United States should consider a range of other potential uses of naval mines in a less-than-full-scale-war scenario, such as the imposition of economic sanctions, or, more generally, calibrated coercive threats to shipping of many types. The second critical difference is changing technology. Just as new roles for mining are opening up, new technologies are emerging that may enable the needed capabilities. For example, the possibility of controlling mines remotely and/or using nonlethal warheads opens up the potential for new missions. Some Potential Contributions of Sea Mining The major contributions that sea mining can make to U.S. capabilities are the following: Low-cost force multiplier. Mines can relieve other platforms in maintain- 9   Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035, Vol. 7, Undersea Warfare, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; Kaufman, A.I. 1997. The Future of Naval Mines, IDA Paper P-3326, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, Va., August; Defense Science Board. 1998. Joint Operations Superiority in the 21st Century: Integrating Capabilities Underwriting Joint Vision 2010 and Beyond, Volume II, Chapter 3, Exploiting the Littoral Battlespace, Defense Science Board 1998 Summer Study, October; Fanning, J.W., D.M.Reda, S.W.Smith, and C.Guastella. 1998. Warfighting Payoff of Current and Projected U.S. Naval Mining (U), CSS/TR-98/22, Coastal Systems Station, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Panama City, Fla., May (classified).

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces ing static defenses such as antiship or antisubmarine barriers that create sanctuaries, establish blockades, or prevent enemy combatants from leaving (or returning to) ports. In an era of decreasing size of U.S. naval forces, this ability to enhance the coverage provided by each platform, and thereby enhance the reach of naval power, becomes increasingly valuable. Reduced risk. Since they are unmanned, naval mines reduce the risk to friendly personnel. This constraint is becoming increasingly important because in limited contingencies, for example, casualties inflicted on U.S. personnel may lead to undue popular pressure for withdrawal and a consequent failure to achieve the national objectives that motivated U.S. involvement. The risk to high-value, multipurpose units is also reduced through the use of mines as a first line of defense. This, too, is becoming more important since the loss of such a unit could discourage continued pursuit of U.S. national objectives in a limited contingency. Battlespace shaping. Aircraft-delivered mines can deny enemy access to areas that are also denied to U.S. surface or subsurface ships, or to areas where U.S. forces are unavailable. For example, preemptive mining could be used before the arrival of a naval force to prevent enemy surface or subsurface craft from mining a prospective U.S./allied landing zone or operating area. The principles of maneuver warfare hinge on the ability to understand the situation and to shape the battlespace by putting the enemy in a restricted, disadvantageous position faster than he can react. Naval mines can provide such a capability to a joint force commander faced with a maritime threat by either creating restricted areas or by slowing the enemy down. High-endurance weapon. Naval mines can remain on station around the clock for long periods. Diplomatic leverage. Naval mines employed in the “gray” area between peacekeeping missions and open hostilities can prove useful to U.S. diplomatic objectives by, for example, enforcing sanctions without initiating open conflict. As tools of coercion naval mines may contribute to achieving objectives without actually striking enemy targets—if an enemy is warned that mines are present and still chooses to proceed, he shares in the responsibility for any losses. Support to mine countermeasure efforts. An active U.S. mine program will support U.S. expertise in mine design, mine countermeasures, and mining tactics. It therefore also supports U.S. abilities to understand the designs of, and find counters to, foreign mines and enemy mining efforts. Support to allies. U.S. mines and expertise may be made available to allies in situations that otherwise might require direct U.S. intervention. The defense of Taiwan might be an example should the United States become involved in such a contingency. Rapid reaction for limited contingencies. Modern naval mines could be delivered rapidly anywhere, anytime with limited risk to friendly personnel. They require neither a complex build-up and deployment period nor the establishment

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces of a support base in the forward area. Thus, they may be used for rapid responses in limited contingencies, e.g., to shut down shipping, barricade potentially hostile naval units, or otherwise demonstrate resolve. Based on its review of the foregoing contributions of sea mining, the committee concluded that the United States should revitalize its naval mining capabilities. WHAT TYPES OF MINING CAPABILITIES ARE REQUIRED? Possible Mining Missions If the United States is to revitalize its naval mining capabilities, the character of the future mines must be responsive to a range of potential military applications and at the same time must be affordable. Before considering the technical characteristics of such new weapons, it is important to first ascertain the missions to be accomplished by minefields and the overall context in which the United States might wish to employ them. Some considerations are as follows: Is the primary application antisubmarine warfare, antisurface warfare, or both? What degree of lethality is desired? Sinking? Mission abort? Mobility impairment? What depth regime is to be covered? What standoff delivery range and accuracy are required? From what platforms? What in-water endurance is expected? Will likely adversaries have significant mine countermeasures (MCM) capability? What is affordable for development, procurement, and deployment? What degree of controllability of mines and minefields is needed? What degree of minefield planning capability should be resident in the battle group and/or other headquarters of the joint force commander? Enabling Technologies Advances in technology are making it possible to incorporate a number of features into mines that in the past were not feasible, or at least were not practical. Such features may be cost-effective in some operational situations but not in others—depending on the specifics of the missions to be performed. Some examples are as follows: Minefields can be controlled remotely—either by an autonomous central controller or by a man-in-the-loop. Functions to be controlled could range from

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces simple on/off/sterilize to the possible tuning of target signature parameters based on updated intelligence data. Depending on geopolitical circumstances, control could be from a nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) or other platform. The principal technology enabler is an acoustic communication link. Standoff, precision delivery by aircraft, based on JDAM or JDAM-like capabilities, could greatly increase the survivability of launch platforms, increasing the likelihood of safely conducting effective mining missions. Various combinations of target influence (acoustic, magnetic field, electric field, pressure) can be incorporated into sensors much more readily than in the past, allowing for greater target selectivity, countermeasure resistance, and adaptation to new threats such as fast surface craft or small submarines. Submarines provide a covert, standoff launch platform. Key enabling mine technologies include autonomous navigation systems, size reduction, and external carrying systems. Vertically mobile warheads, propelled by simplified torpedoes or rocket motors or even buoyancy, can greatly enhance the depth coverage of mines with simple anchoring devices when planted in medium-depth waters. A number of less-than-lethal weapons are currently under development for land warfare, and analogous systems could be adapted to sea mines. Examples include devices for fouling propulsors, damaging electronic systems, or tagging. By using distributed sensor fields similar to those in development for ASW, some, or all, of the target-sensing function can be physically separated from the warhead function. This approach may potentially increase minefield performance and endurance while decreasing the complication and cost of individual weapons and easing the implementation of controllability of the minefield. The size of mines can be reduced using miniaturized electronics, smaller power supplies, warheads based on higher-yield explosives, or homing devices to reduce warhead yield requirements. Smaller mines ease delivery burdens and enhance stealth. Capabilities such as self-burying or periodic movement to relocate from a previous location on the bottom could enhance minefield endurance, countermeasure resistance, and performance. Also, mobile mines can be used to threaten areas and even stationary ships or submarines. Mine countermeasure resistance can be enhanced by improved target sensors and firing logic, stealth, and the use of antisweeper mines in the minefield. A capability for minefield planning can readily be made resident in the battle group, allowing for a rapid, flexible response to operational situations. Such a capability could be available either onsite or via reach-back capability to a minefield planning center. It seems clear to the committee that the theater commanders, the Navy, and the nation would benefit by having a robust mining capability. The committee

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces concluded that the Navy, perhaps in conjunction with the Joint Forces Command, should conduct objective analyses to determine a prioritized set of mining requirements. Analysis of technical alternatives should not start until a clear understanding of missions and operational concepts, informed by strategic and operational considerations, is in place. Also, the full range of emerging technological possibilities should be assessed. Pending completion of the foregoing recommended analysis, the committee believes that the Navy should take immediate steps to establish and protect an option to develop and acquire an operationally significant number of JDAM mining kits that would extend the Quickstrike program by providing a standoff delivery capability. How Might an Effective Program Be Implemented? Mining can be a strategic weapon, and mines are joint assets that would be employed by commanders of joint operational forces. Therefore, the establishment of overall U.S. requirements for mines should be coordinated at the highest level of the theater joint warfighting commands. The emphasis has to be top-down in order to ensure that the nations’s needs are well understood and clearly defined before naval system designers start to work on new mines and mining systems. As noted in Chapter 2, the committee recommends the establishment of a mine warfare battle laboratory, to include competence in mining, in an effort to bring realism to the process. The Navy program and budget process must provide consistent funding support, rather than the “sustenance-or-starvation” funding traditional in mining programs. Funding for developing and deploying proper mining capability is not likely to survive without continued attention from the highest levels of the Navy. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Basic Findings The United States has growing strategic interests in the littoral regions of the world where naval mining could be highly effective. Therefore the U.S. Navy has a responsibility to maintain an adequate U.S. mining capability for potential employment as may be directed by the highest levels of national decision making. U.S. capabilities for conducting an effective mining operation are vanishing. The Navy consistently gives little or no priority to mining, and there is no coordinated concept of operations for the use of modern mines. The decline of the U.S. mining capability is evidenced in the aging and decreasing inventories of mines, the absence of an effective mining capability beyond shallow depths, the termination of all mine acquisition programs, the dramatic decline in develop-

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces ment activity at Navy laboratories, the loss of an industrial base, and the lack of training and exercises. Mine warfare is at a great organizational disadvantage in the Navy and the Department of Defense, and the mining component of that warfare area is at more disadvantage still. Advances in technology now allow for enhanced utility and effectiveness of naval mines, should they be acquired. Recommendations Recent budget and programmatic history indicates that the Navy places little value on having a naval mining capability. If mining is not, and will not be, a factor in performing the Navy’s mission, then the present decline of capability is appropriate and the inventory and delivery capability should be eliminated in an efficient manner. However, the committee views mining as an effective and efficient contributor to the Navy’s mission and recommends the following. Recommendation: The United States should reestablish a naval mining capability that is both credible and joint. Such a capability will require overt, covert, and remotely controllable mining. Specifically, The CNO should establish and sponsor for joint approval a prioritized set of joint mining system requirements, giving full consideration to the advanced capabilities outlined in this chapter, and should plan an adequately funded program for acquiring them. These plans should extend from individual weapons to minefields designed to accomplish specific purposes. Ultimately, the plans should include overt and covert (submarine) delivery and be applicable to a broad range of water depths. The plans should reflect the results of a systematic cost-effectiveness study of potential future mines, including mines for water deeper than Quickstrike mines. In particular, a new systematic cost-effectiveness study is needed of potential future medium-depth mines for 21st-century missions using 21st-century technology. A new mine is needed to replace the obsolete Mk 56 CAPTOR. The Littoral Sea Mine program was recently canceled and replaced by an unfunded SUBSTRIKE mine program that would be limited to submarine targets. The recommended study should consider joint warfighting needs with jointly agreed concepts of operation and recommended rules of engagement for promulgation by the National Command Authority. The analysis of this issue should address a full range of missions and a full range of possible mine designs (moored, rising, and so on), including both simple and high-capability mines. Such analyses should be conducted by organizations with no vested interest in the results and should address minefield performance and use measures of effectiveness directly related to the (possibly new) missions, in the context of the Navy’s

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces overall concept for undersea warfare and sea control. Consistent with the findings of previous NSB studies,10 such analyses should fully reflect the configural nature of minefield effectiveness. The funded program should include explicit plans for retaining a U.S. naval capability, and an associated industrial base, for mine and valid minefield system design, and for acquiring mines deliverable by naval and Air Force aircraft as well as by Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines and current attack submarines. If restored, the recently canceled improved submarine-launched mobile mine (ISLMM) could prevent the planned gap in submarine delivery capability. Covert, standoff mining could become an increasingly important tool for 21st-century contingencies. The CNO should establish a fast-track program to improve the current Quickstrike shallow water mining capability by developing and acquiring joint direct attack munition, extended range (JDAM-ER) delivery and mine fuzing kits that can target modern, small, surface craft and submarines, in addition to traditional surface ship targets, and that can accommodate remote-control features. A standoff delivery capability for the Mk 62 and Mk 63 Quickstrike-type mines is needed to reduce the risk to aircraft and crews that was evidenced in the Gulf War. Remote control is critical for dealing with issues of policy and legality, for use during crises, or when mines are to be coupled with surveillance of the mined area. Target recognition enhancements are needed to provide a capability against small, high-speed boats and small submarines. Additional algorithm development for, and procurement of, the Mk 71 target detection device would permit engagement of such targets. The CNO should ensure that sea mine and valid mining planning tools, including provision for joint mining and minefield control operations, are added to battle group warfare planning capability, and that battle group individual and unit training include realistic exercises that use mining as an extension of battle group capability. The CNO should also reinforce the role of the U.S. Air Force in high-volume mining missions and update the Navy-Air Force MOU to that end. The CNO should ensure that the readiness of naval battle group commanders to conduct mining operations is routinely reported in the new mission capability assessment system (MCAS), and that mine delivery is designated a primary mission area requirement reported in GSORTS by appropriate tactical aircraft squadrons. In view of the potential importance of maritime mining as a coercive option quite independent of expeditionary warfare operations, the CNO should consider transferring resource sponsorship of naval mining programs to a resource 10   Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000–2035, Vol. 7, Undersea Warfare, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 78.

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Naval Mine Warfare: Operational and Technical Challenges for Naval Forces manager with broad policy and cross-platform responsibilities. He should also establish a senior-level implementation agent within the Department of Defense. Key elements of an implementation plan would be operational-level sponsorship by one or more theater CINCs and senior budgetary sponsorship within the Navy, Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The existing program executive officer structure should be adequate for budgetary execution.