Best counter-measures to sea mines

Lt. Andrew Kuo, from Durham, North Carolina, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 Platoon 501, attaches a dummy explosive charge to floating mine during Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX) 2JA. MIWEX 2JA is part of an annual series of bilateral exercises held between the U.S. and Japan to increase proficiency in mine countermeasure operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mario Coto)

By Dr. Keith Aliberti and Mike Kobold, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division

Sea mines have long been used as an effective form of asymmetric warfare as they are “easy to lay and difficult to sweep; their concealment potential is strong; their destructive power is high; and the threat value is long-lasting.”1 Key objectives of utilizing sea mines for “blockading enemy bases, harbors, and sea lanes; destroying enemy sea transport capabilities; attacking or restricting warship mobility; and crippling and exhausting enemy combat strength”2 clearly demonstrate that sea mines pose a significant threat to the U.S. Navy and its allied navies.

The U.S. Navy has developed a vast array of novel technologies to counter the ever evolving mine threat and has made great advancements in its MCM capabilities. We contend, however, that in order to make revolutionary advancements in our ability to counter mines, a shift from direct, operational/tactical-level thinking to indirect, strategic-level thinking needs to occur.

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