The mine warfare field (pun intended) has the largest mismatch between requirements and capabilities of all the warfare areas, and the gap is widening. The problem is not a lack of technology and good ideas, but a lack of commitment. The surface community is quick to complain about the mine threat but it is letting its mine countermeasure ships degrade without a clear path to replacing their capabilities. The Air Force is happy to use research-and-development money to explore sowing sea mines from stand-off aircraft (Quickstrike) and removing shallow-water minefields with the joint direct attack munition (JDAM) assault breaching system (JABS), but it is unlikely to acquire or prioritize the resources to accomplish these missions. The Marines are quick to add JABS to their plans, but they are not doing anything to support or resource the system. The Naval Expeditionary Combat Command has some interesting shallow-water systems, but in the Far East, they are stuck in Guam because their Mark VI patrol boats do not have the legs to go anywhere they might be useful.
1. Stephen Coughlin, “Modern-Day Minehunting Destroyer Style,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (June 2008).
2. UMDRobotics, “RoboCrab: A Horseshoe Crab Inspired Amphibious Robot for Righting in Surf Zones,” 23 March 2014.
3. LTGEN Ronald L. Bailey, USMC, “Policy for Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU),” 29 October 2015.