Are sea mines a growing threat worldwide?
ALLEN: Lots of countries have huge inventories of
mines. So I wouldn’t call it a growing threat or a new
threat. It’s been that way for years. It is a worldwide
threat in the sense that lots of countries throughout the
world have them, and so they could pose a threat to
Navy operations anywhere that we conduct operations.
Mines are cheap. You can buy a mine for $1,000 and
put it somewhere that could impact a shipping channel
or do damage to a multimillion- or billion-dollar vessel
in the U.S. Navy inventory. It is a significant threat
What types of mines constitute threats in this
era? Are underwater IEDs (improvised explosive devices) a threat?
ALLEN: Acoustic, magnetic, pressure, contact and
even those that are capable of multiple types of activation. An underwater IED is another name for a mine,
and we have leveraged counter-IED research and lessons from our recent ground wars to help improve our
maritime countermeasures. Another wave of the
future is, right now, with the UUVs [unmanned underwater vehicles] getting bigger, submarines getting
smaller — Is it a small sub? Is it a large UUV? Is it a
Keeping the fleet focused on mine-countermeasures readiness
As commander of Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command
(NMAWC), RDML Russell Allen is responsible for the develop-
ment of training, doctrine and tactics of mine countermeasures
(MCM) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) for the fleet. His command
serves as a focal point for all of the stakeholders in developing fleet
warfighting capabilities in the undersea domain.
Allen enlisted in the Navy Nuclear Power Program upon graduation
from the University of Texas. He served as an H- 46 helicopter pilot,
completing three deployments before leaving active duty in 1992 and
becoming a Selected Reservist in Helicopter Combat Support
Squadron Five (HCS- 5), flying HH-60H combat search and rescue helicopters. He was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003
while executive officer, and served as deputy commander of the Joint
Special Operations Air Detachment-Arabian Peninsula. He assumed
duties as HSC- 5’s commanding officer from June 2004 to October
2005 and led the squadron’s second major deployment to Iraq.
Allen also served a command tour at Navy Reserve, Strike Force
Allen discussed the mine warfare aspect of his portfolio with Managing Editor Richard R. Burgess.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 38 SEAPOWER / JUNE 2015