OSTEND, BELGIUM – The NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence provides the Alliance comprehensive expertise on naval mine warfare: this includes doctrine and policy, concept development and experimentation, as well as training and education. Naval mine warfare is becoming increasingly relevant as the future of maritime security transforms, involving new technologies, like maritime unmanned systems, and new regions, like the High North.

Historically, the NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence, located in the coastal port-city of Ostend, Belgium, has long served as a key naval garrison. The first fleet of minesweepers in the region date back to 1944, where the Royal Navy Section Belge minesweepers entered Ostend. In 1973, Ostend was the location of the inauguration of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Channel, which is still a standing force of naval mine warfare vessels. By 1975, Eguermin – School of Mine Warfare, a binational school, was fully integrated with the Belgian-Netherlands Naval Mine Warfare School, to offer related courses to all NATO nations. In 2003, Eguermin was offered as a Centre of Excellence, and in 2006, the NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence was formally accredited and established.

Naval Mine Warfare is more relevant than ever; practical applications of this long-practiced element of naval warfare include area access and denial, cost-effectiveness, asymmetric warfare, coastal infrastructure security, and escalation management. Coupled with modern technologies that offer improved activation mechanisms, remote sensing, autonomous systems, and lethality, naval mine warfare is also becoming increasingly sophisticated. The NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence provides the Alliance with ongoing transformation of capabilities and approaches to NATO’s Military Instrument of Power, particularly looking at challenges of the future.

The NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence offers a variety of functions to the Alliance and its partners, including concept and capability development, policy guidance, exercises and education, as well as lessons learned. Examples include Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping through the Maritime Unmanned Systems, and the Future Naval Mine Warfare Vision 2040, supported by several collaborative working groups focused on maritime strategy and naval mine warfare. Additional offerings such as the Naval Mine Warfare Awareness-Course, and the Operational Planning Process Course, provides the Alliance with introductory through expert level naval mine warfare training. Finally, observations and analysis are provided in publications and knowledge repositories, which provide insights to improve future applications. The NATO Naval Mine Warfare Centre of Excellence will host a collaborative event from June 5th through the 9th, at the Naval Academy Campus, in Oostende.

Learn more on the Centre from their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Website.