Swept Away

The score: 388 to 21

The debate over defense spending has put the spotlight on such high-tech hardware items as the MX missile and the B-l bomber. But the less glamorous yet still important elements of the nation's defense arsenal have sometimes received less illumination than they should. A case in point: U.S. minesweepers.

According to the new edition of Jane's Fighting Ships, the authoritative London-based yearbook of floating warfare, the U.S. Navy's current force of 21 minesweepers—three active and 18 in reserve—could keep open only two of the nation's twelve major ports were the Soviets ever to mine U.S. harbors. Concluded...

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