The Commanders Respond

When any of the three services require additional personnel or equipment in a particular sector, the Combined Operations Center will be able to assign them, under the direction of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

Commodore Raimundas Baltuska, Lithuanian Navy —Lithuania's historical experience as a sea-dependent state is reflected in the national security doctrine that assigns the Navy primary responsibility for controlling and defending the territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, adjacent coastal area and ports, and providing the safe maritime communications vital for integration in the Western collective security systems.

The Lithuanian Navy is a typical brown-water fleet. The defensive character of its littoral operations depends on the level of the future conflict; it may vary from coast guard-type operations in peacetime to base defense and protection of shipping required by higher-level conflicts or general war. The base area includes the Lithuanian Maritime (Klaipeda) region with adjacent territorial sea, lagoon, and bordering rivers.

During 1996, an ad hoc task force conducted special command post and live exercises to ascertain the possible forms of command organization and coordination required by the different armed services' actions in the Maritime Region. We learned the following:

  • Success can be achieved by coordinated multiservice operations employing the Navy, Air Force, and Army with integrated Home Guard and Border Guard units.
  • Establishment of a unified combatant command—the Maritime Defense District Command—in peacetime is vital for operational planning and joint training.
  • Budget restrictions and lack of trained and experienced officers preclude establishing such a command separately; hence, command must be exercised by the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, using the Naval Headquarters staff augmented by officers from the other services.
  • Weapon and equipment purchases by the individual services must be coordinated to procure cost-effective, multipurpose systems, e.g., self-propelled artillery with an antisurface capability; helicopters capable of antitank and antiship missions; portable land-/ship-based air defense missiles, etc.
  • The Navy must coordinate the intelligence-gathering and surveillance efforts to provide early warning. A comprehensive airborne reconnaissance-sea surveillance program and target-indication plan are vital.

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Indian Navy —The first consideration is to determine to what extent littoral warfare has relevance in our context. Does it mean conducting operations closer to the shore against regional powers or against non-state entities? Do we see a great shift in our existing pattern? There are no clear answers at the moment.

Security of societies against subversion includes threats from seaward. There are instances where close interaction and coordination with our Army and Air Force, as well as with paramilitary organizations, is standard operating procedure in our operational planning, joint planning, force positioning, integration and mutual support, and military-civilian cooperation.

Our armed forces have more than 50 years of experience in low- and high-intensity counter insurgency and antiterrorist operations, ranging over a wide spectrum of terrain—from the sea to the high battlefield at Siachen, island territories, deserts, and rivers, as well as in urban and semi-urban areas. These experiences have been amplified by our recent international peace-keeping operation in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Haiti, Angola, Somalia, Ruanda, and Kampuchea—among others. The withdrawal from Somalia required a high level of coordination and cooperation.

Our Air Force has demonstrated time and again its ability to insert forces rapidly using airlift and paradrops, and also its ability to protect and support these forces in hostile territory. Such operations in the northern and northeastern part of our country have helped maintain our territorial integrity for more than 50 years.

We also are conscious of the technological dimensions of littoral warfare and are applying our resources and research and development experience to respond to both high- and low-technology challenges. We intend maximal integration of our capabilities jointly to address any threats to our national interests, our people, society as a whole, our value systems, and our territorial integrity.

In an unpredictable world, we analyze threats in potential terms and in real time, and prepare our capabilities accordingly. The Indian Armed Forces are prepared and resolved to meet national and—under U.N. auspices—international threats.

Rear Admiral Eduardo Ma R. Santos, Philippine Navy —The archipelagic configuration of the Philippines makes the littoral arena a very important aspect in our naval defense. Our littoral arena is peculiar in a number of ways, most of which stem from its geographical characteristics. The spatial nature of the littoral zone dictates constraints on the employment of ships. Since the rationale of staying in the confined waters is to exert influence over the coast and perhaps its immediate environs, most missions, to be effective quickly, require a constant and visible presence close to the shore.

It is in this context that the Air Force and the Army can assist the Navy in its conduct of littoral warfare. Because of the limited capability of our armed forces, we have adopted a strategy of defense-in-depth, which envisions concentric zones of defense. As threat forces move toward the shore, coordinated Air Force, Navy, and Army forces will be used to counter them sequentially. The Air Force will provide maritime air reconnaissance and direct air support to surface assets. Likewise, joint naval and ground forces will be tasked to provide coastal defense and conduct active defensive action against an amphibious assault.

Today marks a turning point in a century of world wars—a historic shift from the one global-conflict model to that of two or more small-scale ones, and from the high seas to the littoral. The capacity to gain control of vital choke points in the littoral arena is certain to remain a prerequisite of our maritime strategy.

Vice Admiral Vid Stipetic, Croatian Navy —The Croatian Navy operates in the Adriatic, a narrow sea 470 miles long and averaging 100 miles in width. The shoreline has many bays and inlets, and numerous islands stretch along its east coast.

The Croatian Navy's area of responsibility, encompassing the territorial sea and its islands, amounts to 33,000 square kilometers—all of which is covered by a radar surveillance system deployed on the outer islands. The Navy consists of the fleet itself, a special-forces unit, mobile ground-to-surface missile launcher units directly subordinated to the staff, and logistics units. It also includes three Naval Sectors for the North, Central, and South Adriatic with reserve infantry home-guard and coast artillery batteries plus other reserve units.

Threat surveillance systems coupled with long-range, precision weapons pose a real danger in our theater of action. Surprise is the enemy of the defender—and the Fleet, the Air Force, and the Army must be able to act in concert.

The Croatian Navy does not—and in the short term, will not—have a naval aviation component. As a result, the Air Force trains pilots to support the Navy in combat at sea and on the islands.

Air Force support primarily consists of surveillance and attack. The surveillance supplements fleet capabilities and extends the coverage—again, aimed at preventing surprise. The Air Force also employs electronic countermeasures and relays information on the effects of its own long-range weapons to the fleet and to shore stations.

The Air Force also can assist in isolating the theater and in establishing air superiority to protect our forces. We also are adapting helicopters for antisubmarine and antisurface warfare.

Army units of the Croatian Navy—mobilized in wartime—will defend our inhabited islands. Additional infantry units will be assigned to the most critical locations; most the personnel have combat experience. The Naval Sector commander controls these units and a joint staff to facilitate combined operations can be established.

Should combat move ashore from the sea and the islands, the Naval Sector commander can provide sea transportation for Army forces engaged in amphibious operations.

An appreciation for geography and joint operations will ensure that our force and conduct operations simultaneously without interfering with each other.

 

 
 

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