The introduction of a slew of new mine countermeasures (MCM) platforms and systems over the next several years will pose challenges for the U.S. Navy as it analyzes the effectiveness of its MCM force and makes decisions based on the early performance of these systems. The Navy must balance cutting costs with requirements for new systems to counter both traditional and emerging threats. A strong response to these challenges would include returning to a model of the fleet-led testing and analysis that served the Navy well for much of the 20th century.
Present arguments over the merits of the littoral combat ship (LCS) tend to focus on the attributes of the seaframe. For example, how much speed is really required? Are the ship’s survivability standards appropriate? Will minimal manning and rotational crewing practices prove adequate? Less widespread is a discussion of the capabilities of one of the LCS’s main selling points: the modular mission package.1