New Navy Weapon: Sea Lions

The Navy wants to use a special weapon to protect a base in Bangor: sea lions and dolphins.

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To protect its Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Wash., from attacking swimmers, the Navy wants to use sea lions and dolphins. But it first has to get the OK, so the service is planning to explain itself in public hearings. According to its public notice, security is an issue at the base. Topping the Navy's action list is what it calls the "Marine Mammal Alternative."

The Navy notice says, "This alternative would be composed of human/marine mammal teams that would support Navy operations and respond rapidly to security alerts. The system would involve stationing California sea lions, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, and human teams at the site. The animals would reside within inwater, closed circuit enclosures attached to a dock that would be connected to an existing pier at the NBK-Bangor waterfront. Upland temporary buildings would house support personnel and equipment. The Navy marine mammals would be deployed along the waterfront in conjunction with humans aboard small power boats. The marine mammals would respond to security alerts by finding, identifying, and interdicting intruder(s)."