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Oceanography and the Navy: Future Directions.

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New technologies and global observing networks have transformed our understanding of the ocean from what we knew 20 years ago and promise a similar overturn during the next two decades. Because scientific predictions in specific areas of greatest concern to the Navy are notoriously erratic, the Office of Naval Research supports those topics that combine promising scientific advances with long-term naval relevance. Anti-submarine warfare ASW is the most important naval problem, a situation that will continue for the foreseeable future. The ASW emphasis, however, has changed. During the last 15 years, small-scale hydrodynamics were emphasized, to aid the tactical localization of submarines detected by long-range surveillance. Because of the dramatic quieting of Soviet submarines, surveillance is less effective and the research emphasis has changed to low-frequency long-range acoustics. This requires better understanding of variability across ocean basins, and especially of the 200km-scale vortices that are the oceans analog of synoptic weather systems. In addition, sound traveling long distances often scatters repeatedly from both the sea surface and the sea floor. These interactions must be better understood to improve acoustic surveillance systems. The naval emphasis on long scales coincides with the scientific emphasis on climate and global change, offering a set of problems combining important scientific progress and long-term naval relevance. Nevertheless, not all of the topics recommended herein by the panel are large-scale some small- and intermediate-scale processes cause large-scale effects and must be considered. Since the early 1980s, the Office of Naval Research ONR has put about half of its funds into accelerated research initiatives ARIs. Lasting 5 years, ARIs are focused efforts on specific problems.

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  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
  • Snow, Ice and Permafrost
  • Undersea and Antisubmarine Warfare
  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Military Intelligence

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