Mine warfare: an old threat presents new challenges for Nato's post-Cold War navies
Lluy, Paul A.
Breemer, Jan S.
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This thesis analyzes the possible implications to global maritime interests posed by the growing international proliferation of advanced sea mines, and examines the role of NATO's mine countermeasures (MCM) forces in countering this threat in the post-Cold War security environment. It is argued that, given the Iraqi mining success during the Gulf War, the current global proliferation of sophisticated sea mines, and deficiencies in the international laws which govern their use, mine warfare will present a growing threat to vulnerable Western nations into the next century. Consequently, NATO's mine countermeasure forces will have a prominent role in future Alliance or UN-mandated out-of-area naval contingencies, ranging from counter-terrorism operations to major regional conflicts, and will be called upon to provide a credible MCM capability to protect Alliance and coalition naval forces, secure vital sea lines of communication (SLOCs), and ensure unimpeded maritime freedom of the seas prescribed under international law. NATO's capability to meet these challenges will depend largely on its ability to reorient its focus toward the requirements necessary to train and maintain a first-rate MCM rapid deployment force. As a leader within NATO, the United States Navy must assume the lead in forging multinational transatlantic MCM forces capable of dealing with any global mining contingency.