Wikipedia:Today's featured article/December 20, 2005

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A bottle-nosed dolphin with a tracking device

The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program is a program within the United States Navy that studies and trains marine mammals — principally bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions — for military activities, such as ship protection, mine clearance, and equipment recovery. The program is based in San Diego, California, where animals are kept and trained. NMMP animal teams have been deployed in armed conflicts, including in the Vietnam War and Iraq War. The program has been dogged by controversy over its treatment of the animals, and by speculation on the nature of its mission and training; this has been due at least in part to the secrecy of the program, which was declassified in the early 1990s. The Navy cites external oversight, including ongoing monitoring, to defend its standard of animal care. However, there is ongoing opposition to the concept of using marine mammals for military purposes.

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