Distributed-effect warheads, such as those discussed earlier for tactical attack missiles, could perform the task without creating craters that would interfere with troop mobility after landing. The potential presence of civilians in the vicinity may preclude use of such fires, however. Special operations forces can scout potential landing zones as one precaution. Three Army ATDs are seeking means for detection and rapid clearance of land mines, and may yield results applicable to the Marines' problem in this situation. This entire area needs attention as the potential for airborne landings deep in enemy territory is expanded.
The Navy and Marine Corps have long been aware of the mine and obstacle problems in amphibious warfare. Work is under way to resolve them, but it is not as far along as it might be. For example, PELEC is not yet being seriously supported as a means to reduce the mine and obstacle problem to speed bump status. There are 12 ATDs involving Navy, Marine, Army, and joint systems, making up an ACTD in the countermine warfare area. Although they will contribute strongly to solution of the problems outlined, and the Navy and Marine Corps must remain cognizant of and ready to use the results of those not within their purview, the 12 ATDs will not solve the problems fully.
The Navy and Marine Corps must assign staff and operational responsibility and build the expertise for mine and countermine warfare at all levels. They must fully define the overall system problem from the approach of an invasion fleet toward the littoral to landings on the beach and far inland, evaluate all the alternatives to resolve the component sub-problems, and devote the necessary command attention, R&D attention, and resources to the total problem if it is not to become a main stumbling block to successful implementation of OMFTS.
While the sea mine problem may remain a substantial responsibility of the Navy Department, with other Service inputs such as the PELEC approach described above, the problem of land mines is of great concern to both the Army and the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps should continue to work with the Army to seek solutions to the problems of finding and evading or neutralizing land mines in movements ashore and in air landings and subsequent maneuvers deep inland.