FOURTH INTERNATIONAL SYPOSIUM ON TECHNOLOGY AND THE MINE PROBLEM
SHORT COURSE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY OF MINE WARFARE SYSTEMS
The Symposium Series was initiated in April, 1995, with a focussed conference on Autonomous Vehicles in Mine Countermeasures. A review of the various R&D programs showed that there was relatively little support for such approaches. In fact, for a variety of reasons R&D in military mine countermeasures seemed to be lagging technological developments in academe and industry. This first symposium provided opportunity to identify Service needs and industry and academic R&D activities that spoke to those needs. The symposia have been held every 18-24 months since 1995. Our continuing objective at these symposia is to change the world. Our specific target is to improve the tools and procedures that U.S. Armed Forces and those that we support have for dealing with the "mine problem". A second objective has been to improve communications among all who are part of the mine warfare community, broadly defined as senior commanders, civilian acquisition executives, R&D investigators, military practitioners, and the international community that matches the foregoing. Attendees at these symposia have come from each of the Services - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force; from NATO and Pacific Rim countries, and from non-government organizations involved in Humanitarian Demining and the remediation of areas contaminated by unexploded ordnance.
The Symposium Series is hosted by the Naval Postgraduate School with broad sponsorship from the Office of Naval Research, the Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, and the Department of Defense (DARPA and OSD SO/LIC). Industrial sponsors have also contributed to the success of the series.
At each of the Symposia the distinguished military and civilian speakers have left no doubt about the seriousness and urgency of dealing with all aspects of the mine problem. These speakers have contributed to the forging of the "mine community". Among the distinguished and senior military speakers have been General Alfred Gray, USMC (Ret), former Commandant of the Marine Corps; Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, USN (Ret), former Chief of Naval Operations; Major General Roy Beauchamp, USA, Commanding General, U.S. Army Tank, Automotive, and Armaments Command; General John J. Sheehan, USMC, Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, and Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command; RADM John D. Pearson, USN, COMINEWARCOM, The Honorable Allan D. Holmes, Assistant Secretary of Defense (SO/LIC); Dr. Fred Saalfeld, Deputy Chief of Naval Research; and Dr. Regina Dugan, DARPA. Lt. Gen James L. Jones, USMC, represented Secretary Cohen in April, 1998, and will be the Keynote Speaker in March 2000. The above is not an exhaustive list.
Each Symposium has a series of parallel technical sessions. The technical papers presented therein have been published in PROCEEDINGS and, in toto, constitute a remarkable addition to the technical literature. There are now over 1000 such papers.
A notable event at the Symposia has been the evening reception at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here attendees interact against a backdrop of the littoral environment. We usually have a talk by the Oceanographer of the Navy to underscore the dominant role of the physical environment in naval mine countermeasures. The Land Warfare environment has been eloquently covered by the Army speakers and by Maj. Colin King, Royal Engineers (Ret), Editor of Janes Mines and Mine Clearance.
Another notable feature of each Symposium has been the active participation of industry. Under the leadership of RADM Charles F. Horne, III, USN (Ret) there has been an industry panel that allows government-industry interaction on such matters of concern as declining budgets, the absence of minecraft in the shipbuilding program, and procurement policy issues. Admiral Horne will also moderate the wrap-up session of the Symposium. Industry also provides capabilities exhibits at the social functions and at the Aquarium Event and provides needed financial support for those events.
Albert M. Bottoms