NATO has lots of mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs), and most of them are in the European navies. This is not surprising, since the concept of North American forces coming across the Atlantic to buttress the security of Europe still lies within the core of NATO's mission. During the Cold War, it was reasonable that the European allies should keep the seaward access to the continent mine free—and, in the last resort, it still is. For Britain and France another continuing and fundamental MCM task is to safeguard the deployment of the national strategic deterrent in the ballistic missile submarines. Yet another is to maintain general safe access to ports and anchorages, and transit through restricted channels and choke points.
NATO Navies - MCM: A Route for Specialization?
By Rear Admiral Richard Cobbold, Royal Navy Director, Royal United Services Institute