By Shannon Lawlor
The Navy undoubtedly has an important job in supporting safety for both military members and civilians. The work they do, ranging from preparation for possible battle environments to helping prepare comprehensive maps, helps ensure the success of our military. But when we look beneath the surface, there’s another whole level of interesting work many people aren’t aware of. Organizations such as the NOOC’s Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center conduct research to keep ships, and everything else in the ocean, safe. The Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center is overseen by the Naval Oceanography Operations Command (NOOC). There are a lot of moving parts here and a lot to unpack. So, let’s take a deep dive into the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center and all of the important work they do.

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NOOC: An Overview

The NOOC oversees global oceanographic, riverine, and atmospheric knowledge and research. It’s in charge of seven subordinate commands that work to provide warfighting advantage through knowledge about current and future states of the environment. They aim to be the sole source for oceanographic information. The NOOC’s Naval Oceanographic Office is located in the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. It’s the largest command in the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. This is also the unit that’s been charged with providing oceanographic products and services.

What Is Oceanography in the Military?

Navy oceanography helps officials plan for different weather conditions. Those who work in the field prepare active-duty military members for various climate scenarios. They also help chart maps to determine the best possible routes if certain currents, meteorological phenomena, or oceanographic occurrences get in the way. Oceanography is an important field within the Navy’s responsibilities. It helps to support active military members on missions by preparing them for and informing them of each condition they may encounter on missions. It helps train and prepare military members for duty no matter the circumstances. Oceanography in the Navy helps guide troops on their missions and provides them with the proper recommendations based on day-to-day weather forecasts. There are several other interesting uses for oceanography in the Navy, too. One part we don’t hear much about is the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center.

The Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center

Navy oceanography is an important aspect of naval operations. It helps inform and thoroughly prepare officials for climate and weather obstacles that may hinder the success of a mission. Some of this important work occurs at the Stennis Space Center. This is where the Naval Oceanographic Office is located. The Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center is a particularly interesting area. It helps with tactical oceanography support for global mine counterfeit measures. They have teams that support the use of unmanned vehicles and send them out of the Naval Oceanographic Office in Mississippi to carry out underwater bottom surveys. They then analyze findings to determine if there are any mines or man-made objects that look similar to them. This is typically how they hunt down mines in the ocean. The department deals with different mines. There are several kinds of mines that can be found in the ocean, as described by the Mine Warfare Center’s Commanding Officer, Matthew Watts, in an interview with Federal News Network. This includes:

Moored Mines

  • Mines that reside on the ocean floor.
  • They have an anchor on the bottom.
  • They’re triggered when something crosses their path (like a ship).

Floating Mines

  • Mines that drift with the ocean currents.
  • They are one of the worst mines alongside land mines.
  • They are more difficult to control by anyone who’s employed them.
The Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center helps clear these minefields or find alternative, safe routes around them. The NOOC cultivates important skills and preparation to help ensure the success of each mission, and their Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center works tirelessly to keep troops safe. Oceanography jobs are listed on their website for anyone who may be interested in this integral career path in the Navy.

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Image: Twitter @CovertShores



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