Offensive Mine Countermeasures: Enabler for Access and Power Projection
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Consideration of naval mine countermeasures MCM often only includes the defensive, reactionary operations which are inherent to the dedicated MCM force. However, given the premium placed on the United States ability to project power and conduct forcible entry, a more offensive approach must be planned. Joint force commanders rely on the expeditionary nature of naval forces to transport troops and equipment to the fight, support forces ashore, and to establish and maintain local sea control. The US Navys ability to conduct this range of operations can serve as a deterrent in itself. The asymmetry of mine warfare allows a relatively weaker enemy to potentially cripple this deterrent effect. Given the adverse effects that defensive MCM can have on the JFCs operational factors of time, space and force, the merits of offensive measures are evident. By eliminating or reducing the mine threat at the source, the commander frees up friendly forces, reduces time delays, and assures freedom of maneuver. Traditional dedicated MCM forces require extensive time to both transit to the area of operations and also to engage in actual counter-mining activities. Additionally, the JFC has to plan for protection of these unarmed forces. Therefore, to reduce the risk of losing the initiative and facing heavier casualties,offensive MCM should be the primary consideration of an operational commander and staff facing a mine threat.
- Underwater Ordnance