The Mine Warfare Association (MINWARA) was formed in 1995 to create an awareness of mine warfare issues and to assist government, industry, and academia in optimizing their combined contributions to solving the challenges associated with military sea and land mine warfare. The MINWARA believed that many of the solutions would be found in emerging technologies. Accordingly, the MINWARA adopted a program of conducting symposia to expose as many personnel and organizations as possible to these emerging technologies and their potential application to the mine problem. MINWARA remains the only professional association which deals only with land and sea mine warfare and its associated problems.
The symposia are an effort to cross – pollinate knowledge about mine warfare among government, industry, and academia. Symposia address military doctrine, policies, organization, concepts of operations, ongoing and needed research and development, acquisition programs, and logistics and training programs, for both overseas and domestic current and potential threats.
It should be noted that mine warfare includes both mining capabilities and mine countermeasures. Mine Countermeasures includes the software, sensors, systems, tactics, techniques and procedures required to address the traditional mine threat as well as the potential threat from terrorist placed mines or Improvised Explosive Devices, IED, to U.S. ports. The Mine Warfare Association is a strong supporter of mining capabilities , based on the tenet that knowledge of mine design and effects are critical to maintaining an effective mine countermeasures capability. The Mine Warfare Association is also a firm supporter of mine designs that have self-destruction capabilities after an appropriate period, so as not to pose a threat to civilians after cessation of hostilities.
The Mine Warfare Association has included the associated issues of humanitarian demining and unexploded ordnance challenges in our symposia at times, even though the present thrust of our association is military sea and land mine warfare. These issues and challenges have, and will be, included, based on the likelihood of historical and emerging solutions in these areas having application to military mine warfare. The subject of humanitarian demining is now a primary thrust of the Society for Counterordnance Technology (SCOT), the Wilson Institute and other NGOs.
Past symposia have complemented and drawn upon the recurring symposia at the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA held in 1995, 1996, 1998, and every even-numbered year since. These symposia on “Technology and the Mine Problem” have addressed all areas mentioned above, including military mine warfare. Between Monterey symposia, the Mine Warfare Association has sponsored a recurring series of regional symposia, which usually focus on sea or land mine warfare depending on the host organization and its primary expertise areas.
These regional symposia have been held at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City, FL (1999 and every odd-numbered year since, to date) ; Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM, and U. S. Army and U. S. Marine Corps installations in the Washington, DC area. Three international symposia on both land and sea mine warfare were held in 1999, 2001, and 2004 in Australia, in co – sponsorship with the Australian Defence Science and Technology Office (DSTO).
The Monterey symposia have previously attracted up to 350 attendees. Regional conferences in Panama City FL have attracted up to 250 attendees. Speakers have frequently included military flag/general officers of all ranks and civilian government employees of similar rank. Other speakers include experienced military leaders, senior, experienced industry leaders, and senior, experienced academic researchers.
The intent of symposia subject matter is to have academia and industry become more familiar with the technical challenges of the mine problem, have government and industry become familiar with academic research efforts, and have government and academia become familiar with industrial research and engineering efforts.
The Mine Warfare Association understands the increasing importance of commercial industry in developing technologies which will benefit the Department of Defense. Accordingly, a major activity of the association is to expand outreach of the mine problem to the commercial sector. As always, the most useful exchanges between these attendees occur between seminar sessions and during evenings. The Mine Warfare Association looks forward to continuing this educational effort in support of military mine warfare and the associated challenges and problems.
David Holt, CDR USN (Ret) President