mine? What is it? Same thing holds true for IEDs.
They can put an IED on just about anything. We have
not seen that yet, but it is certainly something we have
to be prepared for.
The U.S. Navy has lost more ships to mines
than any other cause since World War II. Is part
of your mission to get the fleet to take the
mine threats seriously?
ALLEN: Absolutely. The former Mine Warfare Command
in Corpus Christi, Texas, was disestablished in the 2006
or 2007 timeframe. We transferred that capability to
NMAWC. And so, I own that mine warfare command
role and we absolutely take it seriously. We are the means
that the fleet has for training, doctrine and development
and actual employment of forces worldwide for mine
countermeasures and the full spectrum of mine warfare.
We take it seriously. The CNO [chief of naval operations], all levels of Navy leadership, take the mine threat
seriously and we will continue to do so.
How do mine countermeasures fit into the
revised maritime strategy?
ALLEN: It is a critical element. Even a perceived threat
of a mine or mine field can stop ongoing seaborne
operations until that threat is neutralized. You don’t
want to have a repeat of the Tanker Wars [in the
Persian Gulf in the late 1980s] — where a ship gets hit
by a mine and you almost lose the ship — in order to
start dealing with that threat. Mine countermeasures
are a key enabler to successful implementation of any
maritime strategy but, even more so, as the mine tech-
nology continues to evolve.
What does NMAWC do to help the fleet counter the mine threat?
ALLEN: You might guess we don’t train carrier strike
groups in mine countermeasures. They’re not
equipped to do that. They’re not minesweepers.
They’re not mine detectors. What we do is we educate
them in doctrine of what the mine threat is. We focus
our efforts on the mine countermeasures personnel
and ships. We do everything from doctrine, development, training to personnel readiness.
Our staff is at the deck plates for the type commanders for training and certifying mine warfare staffs,
developing operational plans and doctrines and representing fleet mine warfare requirements. And as future
MCM systems and advanced undersea weapons come
online, we work closely with all stakeholders —
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / JUNE 2015
RDML Russell Allen, commander of Naval Mine & Anti-Submarine Warfare Command, talks with Sailors about the mine neutralization vehicle aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Champion during a recent tour of the ship.