A simple sea mine put this hole in the Tripoli (LPH-10) during Operation Desert Storm. Network-centric concepts, along with new technology, like the Airborne Mine Neutralization System (opposite), can open up the littorals.
The U.S. Navy has the most capable mine warfare force in the world, but it must embrace the computer age fully if it is to capitalize on the combat power promised by network-centric warfare.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the focus of naval operations has shifted to the littorals. Considerable sea mine inventories exist throughout the world—relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and easy to conceal. Mines pose a considerable threat to the U.S. Navy.
In fact, mines have been responsible for 14 of the 18 U.S. Navy ships damaged by hostile action over the last 50 years. The damage inflicted by mines in the Persian Gulf on the Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58), the Princeton (CG-59), and the Tripoli highlight the continuing threat.