• Assessment or Prediction of Hostile Activities - Use covert sensors to detect hostile mine-laying operations; locate mines or submarines via the fluorescence of synthetic organic chemical components; predict mining tactics--for example, “seeding” of currents with floating mines; and use a remotely-operated vehicles to survey activities off known submarine ports.

  • Environmental Databases and Their Exploitation - Develop a process-oriented database that is verified by fleet and academic data collection; maintain a person knowledgeable about environmental conditions and effects aboard all fleet assets, and provide that person with appropriate data and training. Working group participants were struck by the contrast between the substantial naval expertise and data availability in meteorology and the much smaller utilization of oceanographic expertise and data.

Summary and Conclusions

The Continental Shelf Working Group identified the set of environmental factors of most importance to Navy operations in the littoral zone. The working group also identified a number of cross-cutting issues that are important for operations in more than one of the four littoral areas examined in the symposium. 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. Finally, this working group listed a set of key research needs to improve operations in the littoral zone, highlighting the need to acquire basic environmental knowledge before sensor development is pursued.

The discussions and recommendations of the Continental Shelf Working Group often reiterated the theme that the continental shelf is extremely dynamic, with a high degree of variability in space and time. New approaches, not just more data, are needed to characterize this environment. However, it should also be emphasized that the continental shelf is bounded by the open sea, and much of our present and developing understanding of the shelf region builds upon the research results and research techniques of basin oceanography.



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