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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1992. Symposium on Naval Warfare and Coastal Oceanography: Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia, April 29-May 2, 1991. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9946.
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INTRODUCTION

The goal of the Symposium on Naval Warfare and Coastal Oceanography was to bring academic and Navy scientists together with operational Navy personnel to discuss issues related to the conduct of naval operations in the coastal region. The second in a continuing series, it was jointly sponsored by the Chief of Naval Research and the Oceanographer of the Navy and was convened by the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council. The symposium had three primary objectives:

  • To familiarize academic oceanographers with naval warfare and applied research and development (R&D) in the coastal region,

  • To assess the potential of present oceanographic research to support present and future Navy operations, and

  • To identify possible new directions in coastal ocean research to support Navy needs.

Prior to the symposium, a number of the attendees participated in a warfare simulation. The war game prepared participants for the remainder of the symposium by stimulating thought, promoting collaboration between Navy personnel and academic oceanographers, and providing a context for information that would be conveyed during the symposium. The war game identified important environmental factors for specific types of warfare and the associated deficiencies in science and technology (S&T).

More than 135 individuals attended the classified symposium. It began with a plenary session in which invited military and academic speakers described the long-range view of potential coastal warfare threats, the impacts of the environment on dealing with these threats, and S&T's role in understanding the environment. The potential threat in the coastal regions is more diverse -- and in many cases, more difficult to counter -- than that associated with the open ocean.

The new coastal threat is centered around the instability of many developing countries that possess small, modern diesel submarines and an expanding variety and number of mines. At the time of the symposium Operation Desert Storm had just ended and it confirmed the importance of coastal warfare. Many of the Navy operational personnel were able to discuss newly acquired experience. The coastal focus of the new threat will require special attention in the 1990s and beyond on coastal air-sea-land interactions, cross-shelf transport processes, and nonacoustic sensing methods.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1992. Symposium on Naval Warfare and Coastal Oceanography: Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia, April 29-May 2, 1991. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9946.
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The Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy is responsible for providing the oceanographic support for the Navy operations. The Oceanographer of the Navy, RADM Geoffrey Chesbrough, stated that his two priorities for tactical oceanography are: 1) to upgrade the computer communications equipment needed to process and disseminate the large quantity of data required to provide timely environmental information to fleet operators; and 2) to maintain an effective data collection program from ships, aircraft, and satellites. It was also noted that a balance between deep and shallow water oceanography for Limited Intensity Conflict (LIC)/Contingency And Limited Objective Warfare (CALOW), should be based on the needs of each warfare area. Oceanographic products and services must be made available for warfare training, both ashore and at sea. Environmental prediction systems are critical to the at-sea activities. Operation Desert Storm demonstrated the impact of weather conditions on weapons system performance and on the selection of weapon load and type. These systems are supported by data from the Navy's primary oceanographic centers and are also capable of independent operation.

The next phase of the symposium, following the Plenary, focused on a review of actual or potential warfare scenarios in coastal regions. These reviews were followed by concurrent discussion sessions on four topics: Anti-Submarine Warfare, Amphibious/Strike Warfare, Mine Warfare, and Special Operations. Each discussion centered on the dynamics and evolution of tactics and strategies, along with recent insights learned from Operation Desert Storm.

The “stealth environment” provided by the ocean often limits our ability to detect a coastal submarine or mine threat. Another key problem common to all four warfare areas is our limited ability to integrate and communicate easily used environmental data products to personnel in the field.

The final phase of the symposium focused on better definition of the research needed to support coastal naval warfare activities described earlier. Five S&T discussion groups were formed around the following subjects: acoustics and geology and geodesy/sediments/transport, nonacoustical detection (biology/optics/chemistry), physical oceanography, coastal meteorology, and electromagnetic detection. The findings of these groups, presented at a plenary session at the conclusion of the symposium, are included in the S&T discussion group section of this report.

Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1992. Symposium on Naval Warfare and Coastal Oceanography: Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia, April 29-May 2, 1991. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9946.
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Suggested Citation:"Introduction." National Research Council. 1992. Symposium on Naval Warfare and Coastal Oceanography: Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia, April 29-May 2, 1991. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9946.
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