Michael D. Richardson
Marine Geosci. Div., Naval Res. Lab., Stennis Space Center, MS 39529
A five-year special research program (SRP) was established at the Naval Research Laboratory, which addresses the physical characterization and modeling of marine benthic boundary layer processes and the subsequent impact of these processes on seafloor properties that affect mine countermeasures operations. Recommendations of four workshops held to set scientific priorities for the SRP can be summarized in the following statement: ``Sediment structure provides the common perspective required to unravel relationships among sediment physical, acoustic, electrical, and mechanical properties; quantify the effects of environmental processes on sediment properties; and predict sediment behavior under acoustic, electrical, and mechanical stress.'' In this presentation, SRP program origins, workshop recommendations, and current SRP direction will be discussed. The first attempt to integrate modeling, hypothesis testing, and field experimentation aspects of the program will be presented.