MR. DALE F. GERRY
Mr. Gerry currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Mine and Undersea Warfare on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN(RDA)). In this capacity, he is responsible for advising the ASN(RDA) on acquisition related matters associated with mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and underwater surveillance systems development.
Mr. Gerry developed his expertise in national defense by working closely with the membership and professional staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committees. He has played a key role in the development of the annual national defense authorization and appropriations bills.
Throughout his career on the Hill, Mr. Gerry's focus has been with the Senate Armed Services Committee Seapower, Readiness, Personnel, Air/Land, Strategic and Acquisition and Technology subcommittees. Prior to his recently concluded employment with Senator Snowe, as her senior Military legislative Assistant for Defense and Foreign Policy, Mr. Gerry served for twenty-four years as a Legislative Assistant, Legislative Director and Senior Military Advisor to then Senator William S. Cohen.
Date of Birth: 4/18/50
University of Maine
Present: Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Mine & Undersea Warfare) on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition
1997 Senior Defense Advisor to Senator Olympia J. Snowe. Advised Senator Snowe on all defense and foreign affairs related issues and assisted in her role as a new member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
1994 - 1996 Legislative Director to Senator William S. Cohen; Senior Defense Advisor to Senators William S. Cohen and Olympia J. Snowe. As Legislative Director, Mr. Gerry advised, reviewed and developed the legislative agenda as the team leader for the legislative staff. Duties included monitoring, analyzing, objectively reviewing, developing policy, communications, and advising the Senator on all aspects of issues under the consideration of the Senate. Key aspects of his responsibilities in this position included strategic planning for the legislative agenda as well as management of personnel resources.
1994 - 1996 Legislative Director to Senator William S. Cohen.
1978 - 1994 Legislative Assistant to Senator William S. Cohen. Areas of responsibility included:
1978 Campaign Coordinator for Senator William S. Cohen
1976 - 1977 Special Assistant to Congressman William S. Cohen
1972 - 1976 District Representative to Congressman William S. Cohen
Chairman Hunter, Mr. Sisisky, distinguished members of the subcommittee, I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you today to discuss ship self defense programs for countering underwater threats to our Naval forces. I am prepared to discuss programs that provide a defense against adversaries abilities to threaten our Naval forces with sea mines and torpedoes. Our ability to counter these threats enables US Naval forces to influence events ashore through sustained maritime dominance.
I would like to first address our programs to counter the sea mine threat. Today, our mine countermeasures (MCM) capability is provided by a superb mix of dedicated forces that consists of 14 MCM-1 class and 12 MHC-51 class mine countermeasures ships (these are hunter and clearance ships), two squadrons of MH-53E Airborne Mine Countermeasures helicopters, the USS INCHON (MCS-12), the mine warfare command and support ship, and Navy Special Operations Forces. These Navy Special Operations Forces are composed of 15 mine countermeasures specialized Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) detachments, two mine countermeasures Marine Mammal System (MMS) detachments, and a specialized Very Shallow Water (VSW) mine countermeasures detachment.
An example of our enduring mine countermeasures ability, is illustrated by events since DESERT STORM. At the conclusion of the DESERT STORM land and air battle, there were over 1200 sea mines that littered the Northern Arabian Gulf. These mines were an impediment to safe navigation in those waters and they were cleared by dedicated mine countermeasures (MCM) forces from the US and our allies. The Navy Department has made significant investments to increase the capability of our mine countermeasures force since the conclusion of DESERT STORM and is committed to maintaining the readiness of this dedicated force.
Since DESERT STORM, eight of our 14 MCM-1 class ships, which are capable of mine hunting, identification, and neutralization as well as mechanical and influence minesweeping, have been delivered to the Fleet. Additionally, all 12 MHC-51 class ships, which provide mine hunting, identification, and neutralization capabilities and the USS INCHON have been delivered since DESERT STORM. The INCHON, in particular, has significantly improved our capability because it carries eight MH-53E helicopters, along with their associated mine hunting and influence sweeping equipment; it provides underway replenishment and maintenance support for MCM ships; it supports the Special Operations Forces that are used for mine neutralization and exploitation; and it provides the connectivity between our mine countermeasures force and the Battle Group or Amphibious Ready Group.
I recently participated in a mine countermeasures Flag Level Oversight Council held at the Mine Warfare Command in Corpus Christi, TX, where one of the briefings concerned the current INCHON Task Group. Four MCM-1 class ships and USS INCHON are now underway on a five-month deployment that will encompass operations in the Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf theaters. Embarked in INCHON are the mine countermeasures command staff, MH-53Es and Explosive Ordnance Disposal detachments. This task group will demonstrate global mine countermeasures response, conduct integrated mine countermeasures operations, and provide contingency planning as well as peacetime presence while conducting NATO operations in the Mediterranean and multi-lateral operations in the Arabian Gulf prior to returning to Texas in late July.
While I was visiting the center of excellence for our dedicated mine warfare fleet, I had the opportunity to talk to our Sailors who operate the magnificent equipment that you, the Congress, have provided. It is a very substantial capability - the best in the world. The enthusiasm and dedication that exuded from the Sailors was very gratifying to witness and it has energized me to redouble my efforts on their behalf. The Navy is committed to maintaining the readiness of this force and continues to pursue initiatives for improvement, such as an Integrated Combat Weapon System for the mine countermeasures ships to improve combat capability, as well as reducing Total Ownership Costs. We are also developing systems in areas where we have capability shortfalls, such as very shallow water and beachhead clearance. The Navy is aggressively pursuing programs that will provide the capability to send our Sailors and Marines across the beaches of the world, while limiting the risk of casualties from mines. Two of these programs, the Shallow Water Assault Breaching (SABRE) system and the Distributed Explosive Technology (DET) system will be used in tandem to clear mines and obstacles in assault lanes immediately prior to an amphibious assault. These programs will complete testing and reach a production decision by the end of Fiscal Year 1999.
Another initiative undertaken to address the shortfall in the very shallow water region of the littoral was the establishment of the Very Shallow Water Mine Countermeasures Detachment in 1996. This unit, located at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, CA, draws on the special skills of Naval Special Warfare, U.S. Marine Corps Reconnaissance Force, and Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel in combination with the unique capabilities of marine mammals. These marine mammals bring the only real capability that we currently have to detect buried mines. This Very Shallow Water Mine Countermeasures Detachment provides a rapidly deployable mine countermeasures force to address minefield reconnaissance and mine clearance missions in the very shallow water zone of 10 to 40 feet. The Navy Department has also committed to acquiring new technologies to outfit this detachment with the special systems and equipment needed to perform this complex mission.
Traditionally, the dedicated mine countermeasures force that I have just described has been based in the continental US. To reduce operational response and tactical timelines, the Department has permanently forward deployed two MCM-1 class ships to the Arabian Gulf and homeported another two ships in Japan since DESERT STORM. This initiative has improved the Navys ability to respond to Joint mine countermeasures requirements in two likely areas of confrontation and improved bilateral operations through training exercises. The success of this initiative has led to efforts to forward base additional mine countermeasures forces. We are now beginning to plan for the next generation of mine warfare ships that will provide the full spectrum of capabilities to meet mine threats 15 to 20 years in the future.
In the near term, the Department has embarked on a new effort to further decrease response time to commence the mine countermeasures campaign and to expand the overall mine countermeasures capability of the Navy. This initiative, termed "Organic Mine Warfare", will mainstream mine countermeasures systems into our Battle Groups and Amphibious Ready Groups. They will be integrated, both physically and doctrinally, into all Navy Joint Task Forces, eliminating the exclusive reliance on dedicated mine countermeasures forces. The Navy desires to never again place one of its ships in the same position as USS PRINCETON during DESERT STORM in February 1991. When the ships Commanding Officer, Captain Ted Hontz, was asked what systems he had to employ in order to lessen the mine risk, his response was, "We had to depend on the "Mk 1 Eyeball," the "Big Eyes" [binoculars], and the helicopter. We would send a helicopter out to look for floating mines, but we had absolutely no way of finding a mine that was under the surface." Therefore, this organic mine countermeasures capability will be provided to the Battle Group via a "system of systems" approach that will include air, surface, and subsurface components. These systems include:
Air Mine Countermeasures Package: Consistent with the Navy strategy to reduce Type/Model/Series of aircraft, the Airborne Mine Countermeasures capability will transition from the MH-53E helicopter, which begins to reach its projected service life in Fiscal Year 2006, to the CH-60S. The air mine countermeasures capability will be integrated into the CH-60S helicopter with the following systems:
Surface Mine Countermeasures Package: The Remote Minehunting System (RMS) is being developed to deploy from surface combatants and operate remotely over-the-horizon. The Remote Minehunting System is a semi-submersible diesel powered vehicle that tows minehunting sensors. The Remote Minehunting System vehicle sea trials were conducted in Fiscal Year 1998 and continue in Fiscal Year 1999. Current efforts focus on integrating a new sensor package into the Remote Minehunting System and integrating the entire system into the DDG 51 Flight IIA (hull numbers 91 and follow-on).
Subsurface Mine Countermeasures Package: The Near Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) and the Long Term Mine Reconnaissance System (LMRS) are being developed for submarines to conduct clandestine reconnaissance of mine fields using Unmanned Underwater Vehicle technology. The Near Term Mine Reconnaissance System successfully completed range testing in October 1998 and is scheduled to reach Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in Fiscal Year 1999, upon completion of submarine testing. The Long Term Mine Reconnaissance System will complete its detailed design in Fiscal Year 1999 and a development contract will be awarded in early Fiscal Year 2000.
I hope that you can see from my remarks today that the Navy is moving forward on its commitment to provide a defense against the sea mine threat. We are maintaining the readiness of the dedicated mine countermeasures force and have initiated the programs to provide an organic capability to the Fleet. As stated by the Chief of Naval Operations last October, "We have reoriented ourselves in the mine warfare business in a very positive way. We are going to embed mine warfare capabilities in the battle groups. Then we will get it in everything so that it goes wherever the Navy goes." By 2005, we will have achieved the first step; there will be mix of dedicated and organic mine countermeasures forces (air, surface, and sub-surface).
I strongly believe that we are now on the right track in mine warfare, but we must stay the course if we are to succeed. The Navy has been rightfully criticized in the past for making an investment in research and development, but not following though in delivery. We recognize that and have made a very significant commitment to this effort. In addition to the areas I have addressed, we must continue our efforts in the shallow water environs against obstacles as well as mines, otherwise power projection becomes a hollow term.
I would now like to turn my comments to ship self defense against the torpedo threat.
Today, surface ship torpedo defense capability is provided by a variety of systems because there is no one universal solution to the threat. The appropriate defense depends upon the type of incoming torpedo and upon the type of targeted platform. The defensive measures cover a range of active countermeasures, passive countermeasures, and tactics. Highly maneuverable anti-submarine warfare capable combatants with competent undersea warfare operators and torpedo detection systems are able to employ vastly different tactics and countermeasures than would, for example, a slower, less maneuverable amphibious ship, which is not equipped with appropriate crew skills, acoustic sensors, or acoustic quieting.
The AN/SLQ-25A NIXIE system is a soft-kill countermeasure system that acts as a decoy to confuse incoming homing torpedoes. It is the most basic and most widely used torpedo countermeasure system fielded in our Navy. The NIXIE is a towed system that operates at all times when the ship is at risk of torpedo attack and, unlike some of the more sophisticated countermeasure systems, NIXIE does not rely on cueing from an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) system. Because the system does not rely on cueing, it is well suited for deployment on all US Navy warships, including aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, sealift and large fleet auxiliaries. To enhance self-protection in littoral areas, we are currently discussing system improvements with the United Kingdom. These enhancements will permit NIXIE to be used in shallow water and at slower speeds.
Other torpedo countermeasure systems which are currently deployed require that the ship have an Anti-Submarine Warfare capability. One such system is the Multi-Sensor Torpedo Recognition and Alertment Processor (MSTRAP), a torpedo detection, classification and localization processing system that receives input from both the ships hull sonar and towed arrays. It acts as an alertment system that is used in conjunction with evasion maneuvers and deployable countermeasures to effect a soft-kill of the incoming torpedo. This system is being integrated into the AN/SQQ-89 Anti-Submarine Warfare combat system as the Torpedo Recognition and Alertment Functional Segment (TRAFS). It will detect and localize torpedoes at tactically significant ranges when the primary detecting sensor is the towed array. The Navy began deploying the Multi-Sensor Torpedo Recognition and Alertment Processor on Anti-Submarine Warfare capable ships in 1997, and will continue to deploy the integrated version, Torpedo Recognition and Alertment Functional Segment, in Anti-Submarine Warfare capable combatants. Further system improvements, currently under way, will enable us to improve performance by discriminating accurately and rapidly between real threats and false targets, thus driving down the number of false alerts.
The Launched Expendable Acoustic Device (LEAD) is now in production and will deliver to the Fleet this fiscal year. Like NIXIE, Launched Expendable Acoustic Device is a soft-kill countermeasure system that decoys or confuses an incoming acoustic homing torpedo. It is deployed only on Anti-Submarine Warfare combatants because it requires the ship to be alerted to the incoming torpedo. The Launched Expendable Acoustic Device is most effective when combined with specifically developed tactical maneuvers. An enhancement, currently in early development, known as the Mobile Ship-launched Countermeasure Acoustic Device (MSCAD) will be a self-propelled version of the Launched Expendable Acoustic Device.
Beyond these systems that are currently in the Fleet, or will be very soon, the Navy has a research and development effort underway to create a reliable hard-kill torpedo countermeasure, one that will physically destroy the incoming torpedo. These efforts continue under the Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATT ATD). This Advanced Technology Demonstration began in 1998 and is on schedule to complete at the end of Fiscal Year 2000. The Advanced Technology Demonstration objective is to provide the technology to attack inbound torpedoes, regardless of type, and destroy them. Results are encouraging and it is possible that the Advanced Technology Demonstration will deliver well-developed Guidance & Control technology ready for integration into a new 6.25" anti-torpedo torpedo, or for incorporation into the MK54 lightweight torpedo.
We are also continuing a broadly based research and development effort in torpedo defense to cover other shortfall areas. This year Congress made an additional five million dollars available for this effort that will be used to:
In summary, we have provided torpedo defensive capabilities that will address the full range of threat torpedoes. We know that the ultimate torpedo defense success criteria are for the crew and ship to survive and complete its mission. Our investment plan improves our capability and we are working toward the objective of a complete defensive capability.
I will now take your questions.