MINWARA President’s Message, 2016
The Mine Warfare Association is strong and is poised to be an even more important “bridge” between government and industry whose portfolios focus on sea mines, land mines, improvised explosive devices and the means to counter these weapons that wait. We are on solid financial ground for a small association of 301 members. There is still time to take advantage of our 2 year membership for the price of 1 year special running through 31 December 2016.
During the past 12 months we have continued to support several in-place initiatives. In May, we co-sponsored with the Naval Postgraduate School, the Office of Naval Research, the OPNAV Director Expeditionary Warfare N95, and The Consortium for Robotics and Unmanned Systems Education and Research in the 12th biennial mine warfare technology symposium that focused on Expeditionary Mine Warfare––Mine Countermeasures, Naval Mining, and Unmanned Systems. We addressed a broad range of topics including the current status, operational reports, future concepts, and requirements for naval mines, mine countermeasures and technologies, and unmanned maritime systems and concepts.
In September, we convened a luncheon seminar that featured CAPT William “Bill” Guarini USN, Program Manager for Unmanned Systems (PMS 406). He presented on the significant strides taken in unmanned maritime systems, the challenges that remain, and the way ahead for “high-growth” unmanned systems.
On November 17, 2016 we convened the annual fall Industry Day symposium–– Supporting Today’s Capability while Fielding the Next-Generation Systems. This event featured briefings on Mining from the U.S. Air Force Strategic Studies Group; Unmanned Systems and Long-Range Vision from OPNAV N99; Technology Challenges Facing Unmanned Systems Development and Rapid Prototyping from ONR; the Mine Warfare and EOD Requirements Long-Range Vision and Update from OPNAV N95; and the Mine Warfare Programs Strategy and Update from the PEO-LCS Staff. It concluded with a networking reception for attendees to continue the dialogue with the guest speakers.
We will continue these occasional luncheon seminars and broader industry days to allow the experts an opportunity to address topics that are of concern and interest to the mine warfare community. These events help to underscore the reality of MINWARA’s role as a non-profit, educational association devoted to education about mines and mine countermeasures.
Another example of MINWARA’s outreach and engagement is our collaboration with the U.S. Naval Institute for the Mine Warfare Essay contest. This started in 2013 and has generated important discussions of critical mine warfare issues. This year our essay contest is on avoiding the developmental problems of the past to get technology into the hands of our Sailors faster, smarter and effectively. We are currently looking for corporate co-sponsors for this; please let us know if you are interested in sponsoring this annual event.
In 2017, we will build on this foundation to enhance MINIWARA’s value to our members and the Nation.
For example, we are looking closely at restarting the Panama City Mine Warfare Association Conference in ‘odd-numbered’ years, to complement the NPS/Monterey mine warfare technology symposium currently held in ‘even-numbered’ years. We are working closely with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division and the Navy staff to determine whether a 2017 event can be successful and sustainable.
We are also investigating co-hosting a European Mine Warfare Industry conference and are working with several navies and laboratories across our NATO allies to determine the feasibility and requirements of such an event. Interest and initial support is high and looks to be a welcome and important venue for increasing awareness and collaboration in this critical warfare area. More to follow.
We have updated our website making it easier to navigate. Membership information is posted as are Minelines, notes, and related articles and materials, including pictures. For example, in September we posted an essay/briefing on the historiography of the Intense Look (1984) and Candid Hammer (1990-1991) MCM operations prepared for the Navy History and Heritage Command. For 2107, we are looking into posting quarterly a “Nobody Asked Me, But…” column (of about 750 words) to give our members the opportunity to address issues of concern.
Similarly, we will investigate marshaling the vast mine warfare expertise of MINWARA members to conduct research and interviews for more extensive issue papers and reports.
In sum, 2016 saw MINWARA continue to enhance its relevance and value to land and sea mine warfare. The groundwork is in place for continued success in 2017 and beyond. Most fundamentally MINWARA’s importance depends on the energies and interests of its members. I am pleased to have your confidence to continue on this trajectory.