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PROCEEDINGS OF SYMPOSIUM ON COASTAL OCEANOGRAPHY AND LITTORAL WARFARE: (Unclassified Summary) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Littoral warfare is the use of combined forces, designed for operations in the sea-land-air environment, to influence, deter, or contain and defeat a regional threat through the projection of maritime power. It is an extremely complex and dynamic part of naval warfare. To be waged successfully, it demands long-term commitment to research and development, acquisition, threat assessments, tactical and operational analysis, training, education, and realistic fleet exercises. On August 2-5, 1993, the third in a series of classified symposia on tactical oceanography was held, with a focus on coastal oceanography and littoral warfare. The symposium was organized by the Navy Committee of the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board, and was jointly supported by the Oceanographer of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Research. The Navy's new focus is on the littoral regime, examined herein as four subdivisions: harbors and approaches, straits and archipelagoes, the surf zone, and the continental shelf. Symposium participants discussed the meteorological and oceanographic forcing factors that have an impact on military operations. The symposium brought together knowledgeable individuals from the operational Navy (specialists in oceanographic research and development, and data acquisition) and from academia with the following goals: Addressing timely operational problems, fleet mission needs, and other requirements for which research and development assistance and inputs are sought by naval leaders and program managers. Enhancing communication and understanding among basic and applied scientists, and between these scientists and U.S. naval personnel. Enabling an extended group of researchers to become familiar with challenging naval issues applicable to the littoral regime.
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PROCEEDINGS OF SYMPOSIUM ON COASTAL OCEANOGRAPHY AND LITTORAL WARFARE: (Unclassified Summary) The symposium was preceded by a littoral war game designed to provide insight into the critical role that oceanography plays in achieving and maintaining battle space dominance. The war game emphasized the impact of decisions forced upon warfare commanders and gave insights about the timing involved in developing environmental assessments and predictions for influencing combat decisions. The symposium began with several presentations by Navy personnel to set the context for subsequent discussions. Participants were divided into working groups focused on the four emphases of the symposium: harbors and approaches, straits and archipelagoes, the surf zone, and the continental shelf. The working groups summarized their findings in plenary session, emphasizing the present status and future directions of research in each area. A recommendation that emerged from several of the working groups was that physical regions (e.g., estuaries and straits) should be categorized in standard classification systems so that the research results from accessible regions can be extrapolated during combat situations to relatively unstudied environments in the inaccessible territorial waters of hostile nations. An intriguing proposal that emerged from the symposium concerned the conduct of one or more field experiments in the littoral zone, much like the open ocean measurements conducted in the mid-Atlantic Ocean during the 1970s. These experiments would include observations and modeling of coastal marine, atmospheric, and land environments. Such exercises could be used to transfer academic capabilities and expertise to the applied and operational communities supporting littoral warfare. The Harbors and Approaches Working Group discussed the information needs, research directions, and potential technological developments related to littoral warfare in estuarine areas. The discussions of the working group focused on three scientific topics: tides and currents, acoustic and electrical properties of the water and the sediment, and the transport of materials and other properties having scalar distribution behavior. The working group recommended the development of a classification system for estuaries, based on hydrodynamic properties, that will allow simplified prediction of warfare-relevant environmental characteristics from a few measured parameters. The Straits and Archipelagoes Working Group recommended that a number of issues be addressed as the Navy prepares for future littoral warfare. First, like the previous working group, they recommended that a classification system be developed for the straits of the world. Existing information about straits should be compiled and published for scientific review. Process-oriented studies of straits must be designed to understand the key processes that control flow, temperature,
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PROCEEDINGS OF SYMPOSIUM ON COASTAL OCEANOGRAPHY AND LITTORAL WARFARE: (Unclassified Summary) and salinity in straits. A variety of strait types, identified according to the new classification system, should be studied to permit extrapolation of the information to other straits that have not been studied in detail. Archipelagoes are, in essence, series of straits, so that studies of straits are fundamental to understanding the more complex situation in archipelagoes. The Surf Zone Working Group made recommendations about research and development needs related to improving our abilities to measure and understand the processes controlling nearshore bathymetry, waves and currents, shelfwide propagation of surface gravity waves, acoustical properties, sea level variations, and “trafficability” through the surf zone. The working group noted that several instruments now used in academic research could be used by the Navy to improve littoral zone environmental prediction, and thus Navy operations. Examples include bottom-mounted pressure sensors and remote sensing techniques that allow characterization of wave features and variability. The working group also recommended that the Navy pursue an empirical approach to understanding the evolution of nearshore systems by studying a set of archetypal beaches. The Continental Shelf Working Group identified a number of cross-cutting issues that are important for operations in the littoral environment. These issues included the need for sufficient characterization of coastal regions to permit advanced planning, a better understanding by naval personnel about how to use nonacoustic environmental information for making tactical decisions, information about the accuracy of sensors under any combination of environmental conditions, limiting risk to Navy personnel by using more remote methods and predictions, the need for real-time sensors of environmental properties, and new approaches for data handling, archiving, and dissemination. The working group also noted relevant problems in mine countermeasures, antisubmarine warfare, special warfare, and amphibious operations that could benefit from increased research effort.
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