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Oceanography and Mine Warfare 1 Introduction An accurate, in-depth knowledge of the oceanic environment is essential for planning and execution of naval operations. Techniques for rapid oceanographic data collection, assimilation, and dissemination either directly or remotely are developing rapidly. In addition, quantitative models incorporating these data for prediction of environmental variability are continually being developed and refined. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has provided extensive funding for academic oceanographic research to ensure that naval operators have access to state-of-the-art oceanographic data collection methods and interpretive models. To improve the academic ocean science community's understanding of operational demands placed on naval units and the oceanographic needs of naval operations, the Ocean Studies Board (OSB) of the National Research Council (NRC), working with ONR and the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, convened five previous symposia on tactical oceanography (NRC 1991, 1992, 1994, 1996a,b, 1997). These symposia have proven to be an important forum for facilitating dialogue between academic scientists and naval warfighters, helping academic researchers identify potential research areas of maximum value to the Navy and enabling them to make efficient use of naval research funds. Mine warfare operational decisions are influenced by local oceanic conditions; thus, accurate characterization of environmental parameters is important for successful battlefield operations. The collection of high-resolution meteorological and oceanographic datasets to accurately describe the battlefield is essential for establishing "realistic" mine clearance time lines and ultimately "realistic" estimates of risk to maritime forces. A thorough understanding of the coastal water column, the nature of the coastline, seafloor variability and rigidity, sub-seafloor characteristics, and the concentration of biological growth on or near the seafloor can help ensure mission success. The sixth OSB symposium on tactical oceanography, "Oceanography and Mine Warfare," was designed to examine the state of environmental knowledge and predictive capability relevant to mine warfare operations and to identify areas of ocean science that will enhance the Navy's mine warfare capability today and for the next 20 years. Emphasis was placed on practical demonstrations and interactive discussions to determine areas of shared interest for naval warfighters and academic scientists. A major result of this interaction was the identification of oceanographic science and technology advances that can be exploited by the Navy to improve its mine warfare capabilities. The symposium included a discussion of oceanic processes (e.g., tides, currents, and wave action) that control the transport of momentum and material in the environment between the 500-ft. (150 m) depth contour and the seasonal high-tide mark. Specifically, discussions addressed the dynamic relationships between fluid, sediment, and biota and the resulting effects on boundary stability, water column visibility, and seawater and sediment acoustic properties. Participants reviewed present capabilities to monitor and predict physical parameters, such as mean flow
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Oceanography and Mine Warfare Box 1-1 Statement of Task This symposium was designed to bring together members of the academic community, the U.S. Navy (fleet operators, meteorologists, and oceanographers), and scientists, technologists, and managers from naval warfare centers and defense programs to: address timely operational problems and fleet mission needs in which meteorological and oceanographic research and development (R&D) play a role; enhance communication among the basic and applied research communities, as well as with naval forces engaged in mine warfare; and enable an extended group of researchers to become familiar with challenging naval issues related to the use of environmental information in mine warfare. dispersal, instantaneous maximum forces in the fluid and on the seabed, and other environmental factors important to conducting mine warfare operations in the tactically important nearshore environment. The effects of the marine boundary layer and water column visibility on remote-sensing capabilities and operations were also discussed. The NRC appointed a symposium steering committee consisting of one OSB member and three ocean scientists with varied expertise (Appendix A). The steering committee was tasked to work with Navy personnel to identify topics to be covered, determine the most appropriate speakers to address the symposium, name members of the academic community who should be encouraged to attend the symposium, and write this unclassified report (Box 1-1). THE IMPACT OF OCEANOGRAPHY ON MINE WARFARE. Understanding the oceans is fundamental to our national security, as well as to global economic and environmental well-being. A robust competency in oceanography is a core requirement of the U.S. Navy. It is so vital to the success of naval operations that the Navy must lead in focusing national attention on ocean policy and programs. —Admiral Boorda, Chief of Naval Operations, 1995 Oceanography is a core competency of the U.S. Navy. Oceanographic data are acquired using unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles; sensors on ships, airplanes, and submarines; expendable sensors; and remote sensors, such as satellites. Collection of these data helps to ensure mission success and is of fundamental importance to national security. As such, the Navy aggressively maintains oceanographic data collection capabilities, many of which reside with the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO). In littoral1 warfare, strategic, operational, and tactical mobility are obvious advantages to naval forces that rely on unobstructed sea lanes. Naval mines can diminish or deny these advantages by reducing freedom of movement and preventing naval forces from controlling the battlefield. Naval mines not only delay offensive maneuvers, they also provide an adversary with the time needed to shape the battlefield and move forces into more advantageous locations. Since mines are plentiful and relatively inexpensive, they are an obvious and effective warfighting alternative for cash-poor developing nations. This was exemplified during the Gulf War, where mine damage to three U.S. warships (USS Samuel B Roberts, Tripoli, and Princeton) was in excess of $125 million, whereas the mines that caused the damage, including two of World War I vintage, cost approximately $30,000 (Boorda, 1999). In fact, most of the U.S. ship casualties from 1950 to 1994 were from naval mines (Figure 1-1). Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a shift in naval operational focus from the open ocean to nearshore environments (Table 1-1). As most mine warfare operations occur in coastal areas, the potential for mines to frustrate 1 Littoral, n. 1. The designation of the shore area between tide marks. 2. The benthic zone extending from the high-water point on the beach to the edge of the continental shelf (Lapidus, 1987). The naval definition is more specific and goes on to state that the littoral are the regions relating to or existing on a shore or coastal region, within direct control of and vulnerable to the striking power of naval forces.
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Oceanography and Mine Warfare FIGURE 1-1 U.S. ship casualties due to missiles, torpedoes, aerial attack, and mines during military conflicts from 1950 to 1994 (A very, 1998). No additional ship casualties have occurred since 1994. U.S. Naval operations has greatly increased (Box 1–2). This operational change has meant that the Navy needs effective mine countermeasures. The success of these countermeasures depends greatly on the capability to determine and accurately predict environmental parameters. In no other phase of littoral warfare do environmental considerations in both tactics and planning play a more dominant role than in mine warfare. Virtually every environmental parameter in the dynamic nearshore environment influences military operations. This provides a great challenge to both the warfighters and the meteorological and oceanographic (METOC) community that supports them. Thus, for nearshore operations, the Navy's need to respond to environmental variability is amplified. Another complication for operations in coastal environments is that access to these areas is often either limited or challenged. This restricts the ability to monitor rapidly changing environmental conditions in these areas, which in turn hinders the development of coastal zone environmental databases. Probably the greatest challenge currently facing the METOC community is the need to develop quantitative predictive models of nearshore oceanographic processes to turn vast amounts of environmental data into knowledge about the battlefield. Outputs of these models can then be incorporated into tactical decision aids to assist the mine TABLE 1-1 Differences in Operational Parameters Between the Cold War and Today During Cold War Today -USSR/Warsaw Pact -Multiple threats -Global warfare -Regional warfare -Ocean basins -Littoral and hinterlands -Deep water -Expeditionary warfare -Mine -Amphibious -Special forces
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Oceanography and Mine Warfare Box 1–2 Significance of the Coastal Environment 95% of the world's population lives within 600 miles of the sea. 80% of all countries border the coast. 80% of world's capitals lie within 300 miles of a shoreline. Source: Ellis, 1998 warfighter in mission planning and development. The academic community has an important role to play in providing fundamental research on the dynamics of oceanographic processes. This knowledge will provide the foundation for model developments and enhancements. The tactical advantage will probably depend not on who has the most expensive, sophisticated platforms—but rather on who can most fully exploit the natural advantages gained by a thorough understanding of the physical environment. —Rear Adm. W. G. "Jerry" Ellis, U.S. Navy, Oceanographer of the Navy, 1999 SETTING AND DESCRIPTION OF THE SYMPOSIUM To encourage interactions between mine warfighters and academic scientists, the "Oceanography and Mine Warfare" symposium was held at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas on February 9–11, 1999 (Appendixes B and C). Prior to the symposium, attendees were organized into four groups matching the depth divisions defined for naval operations (Figure 1–2): surf zone (0–10ft.), very shallow water (10–40 ft.), shallow water (40–200 ft.), and deep water (> 200 ft.). Day one of the meeting emphasized contacts among attendees, personnel of the Mine Warfare Command (COMINEWARCOM), and personnel of the Mine Warfare Training Center (MWTC). Participants had a productive day touring the CH-53 airborne mine countermeasure (MCM) helicopters and talking with crew members at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi. At Ingleside, there were tours of the MCM flagship USS Inchon (MCS-12), USS Warrior (MCM-10), USS Falcon (MHC-59), the Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM-15), and the MCM training facility. In every case, there were excellent briefings with time for questions, discussion of equipment on-board the various vessels, and a chance to get a feel for the operational conditions faced by the U.S. Navy. This face-to-face interaction between the operators and the scientific community was a critical element of the symposium. Day two of the symposium introduced the attendees to the typical mission needs for mine warfare operations. Groups participated in a single-sided, seminar-style war game (Appendix D). The war game complemented interactions with the operators on the first day of the symposium and served to focus discussion toward environmental understanding and prediction, and away from the intermediate issues of operators. This change in focus led to discussions on tactical exploitation and operational limitations resulting from environmental influences and set the stage for the remainder of the symposium. The final day of the symposium focused on lessons learned and on identifying ways for the ocean science community to support mine warfare. Attendees were again organized into their respective working groups to participate in a problem-solving dialogue. By the end of the symposium, participants highlighted research areas where advances can provide operational capabilities essential to COMINEWARCOM activities. Thus, the attendees helped identify future oceanographic and meteorological directions for the U.S. Navy and the Mine Warfare Command. REPORT STRUCTURE AND SCOPE The aim of this report is to discuss specific oceanographic requirements of the mine warfighter in the context of more traditional academic ocean sciences and help the academic community better understand the research needs of
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Oceanography and Mine Warfare Figure 1–2 Major depth divisions for naval operations, with the various mine types common at each depth. the mine warfare operator. In addition, this report documents the substance of the symposium, thus making the meeting outcomes accessible to a wider audience than the limited number of individuals present at the conference. Chapter 1 provides background information and justification for the symposium. Chapter 2 provides an overview on mine warfare for the academic scientist unfamiliar with naval mining. Chapter 3 discusses the challenges faced by mine warfare operators as a result of nearshore oceanographic variability, outlines the role of oceanography in mission planning, and summarizes current METOC and ONR support for mine warfare operations. Chapter 4 discusses environmental influences on mine warfare, specific capabilities needed to enhance warfighting, and outlines research issues and solutions. Chapter 5 provides a summary and discussion of recommendations resulting from the symposium and committee discussions. The information in this report is based on declassified meeting notes and summaries from planary and working group discussions, supplemented with post-meeting review discussions by members of the steering committee and members of various Navy units. It must be noted that the symposium, and the information contained in this report, primarily concentrated on the importance of oceanographic data for mine countermeasures. Environmental data are also important for offensive mining but, during the organization of the symposium, the statement of task was focused on mine countermeasures as it was understood at the meeting that this community more actively and routinely uses oceanographic data.
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