Commanders Respond

Concurrently, confrontations at sea can occur at any time, without any declaration of war, even as forces downsize.

Consequently, the future of maritime strategy appears to be much more complex. The fleets of those nations bordering the sea can succeed in these times of decreased budgets only by accepting that the new missions must be performed by fewer but more efficient ships, capable of carrying out many complex missions.

As a country bordering the Black Sea and the lengthy Danube River, contiguous to nations such as the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Turkey, and also close to unstable areas such as the Balkans and Caucasus, Romania needs a well-structured, credible Navy with combat capability equal to its responsibilities, with modern versatile ships equipped with doctrine, weapons, and communications capable to provide interoperability with the fleets of the NATO nations.

Beginning in 1994, the year of Romania's adherence to the Partnership for Peace (PFP) Agreement, the Romanian Navy forces and commands have undertaken a complex reorganization. The goal was to create components compatible with NATO fleets and to enhance the operational, technical, and administrative interoperability required to participate in the NATO/PFP exercises and peace-keeping operations under the aegis of the United Nations or the European Union. In September 1996, the Romanian Navy staff reorganized along modular lines similar to those of Western navies to meet its far-flung responsibilities at sea, on the rivers, and in the littorals. Standardization is ongoing in the following areas:

  • Operational—To provide command structure interoperability and enhance the Romanian Navy's capability in joint NATO operations
  • Technical—To produce and procure compatible weapons for our ships
  • Administrative—To implement NATO methods and procedures consistent with PFP operations

Our endeavors to attain interoperability between the Romanian military forces and the NATO military structures reflect progress in the following fields:

  • Financial—Directing the funds allocated to the Navy for attaining its goals
  • Doctrine and training—Adopting training procedures to prepare our crews for NATO/PFP joint exercises
  • Technical—Placing compatible equipment on board out ships
  • Personnel—Upgrading command and staff officer training by sending officers to advanced English language courses at home and abroad

To restructure and update our Navy forces, the staff created the Naval Program for 2000-2020, strictly sized and reflecting Romania's interests and financial capabilities, which was subsequently approved by higher military authorities. The Naval Program includes subprograms for ships and imported technical procurement, new facilities ashore, plus ship repair, overhaul, and modernization. Each subprogram covers the overall 20-year plan and addresses special year-by-year details.

Navy ships now in service are being updated in order to attain the technical standards necessary for their participation in complex naval operations; concurrently, the obsolete ships are being retired. The update programs are based on an analysis of actual and projected missions in light of the Romanian Navy's doctrine for engaging forces in maritime operations. We paid particular attention to optimizing the ratio of required items to nice-to-have items, given the need to for our ships to achieve high standards in international operations, and made sure that each program can be supported financially.

Accordingly, we are updating our ships gradually, as follows:

  • Provide ships a replenishment-at-sea capability with special priority for destroyers, frigates, and logistic support ships
  • Provide our ships with accurate navigational data using the Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Provide satellite communications using International Maritime Satellite (InMarSat) equipment on board our destroyers and frigates
  • Provide our ships with high-, very-high-, and ultra-high-frequency (HF,VHF, UHF) voice and continuous wave communications in the ranges allotted to the Navy and the Air Force
  • Provide each ship with equipment compatible with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) requirements
  • Ensure that our destroyers and frigates have integrated communications systems with the required interoperability for joint and combined operations
  • Integrate radar and sonar sensors with the fire-control equipment on board the destroyer Marasesti in a versatile, state-of-the-art automatic information system.

Since 1994, the Romanian Navy has distinguished itself as an active participant in fulfilling the goals of the Partnership for Peace individual programs; among them is the very important Strategic Partnership Program with the United States that promotes the national interests for integration in the EuroAtlantic structures.

The Romanian Navy, active in promoting cooperative relationships and interoperability with the naval forces of the Western nations, is a part of the Romanian Ministry of Defense's endeavor for putting into practice the national strategic concept for European and EuroAtlantic integration.

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Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, Royal Navy
—In 1998, the United Kingdom completed its first full defense review for 17 years. Entitled the Strategic Defence Review (SDR), this fundamental reexamination of Britain's defense requirements has given us a blueprint for the security of our country into the new millennium. The SDR has provided a coherent, sensible, and long-term vision for strong defense nationally whilst recognizing that the United Kingdom's armed forces must continue to be a force for good in the world in support of an active foreign policy.

Having examined the likely nature of future conflict, the SDR concluded that we are unlikely to be involved in operations on our own. We have therefore had to consider carefully who our potential partners may be. This has placed international cooperation, and therefore interoperability, at the forefront of U.K. defense thinking and has highlighted the challenges we face in maintaining the ability to operate with partners of differing levels of technology (often referred to as forward and backward interoperability).

The SDR places great emphasis on operations other than war (OOTW) and, while it reaffirms the United Kingdom's continuing commitment to traditional alliances such as NATO, it recognizes the importance of "coalitions of the willing," which include non-governmental organizations, as the solvers of international crises. The Royal Navy therefore faces a double challenge. On one hand we need to move forward with our high-technology allies by acquiring the latest command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) and weapon systems we can afford, so that we can employ emerging technology to best advantage. On the other hand, by recognizing that international problems require international solutions, we need to be ready to work alongside any nation as a potential partner in a coalition. The demands of interoperability with any partner within a coalition of the willing need to be addressed with care and cooperation.

We therefore recognize that there is a technology gap and that this gap continues to grow, as increasingly constrained defense budgets struggle to keep pace with advancing technological development.

So what is the Royal Navy doing to operate effectively with other forces?

First, we accept that it is not necessarily the responsibility of less-technologically capable forces to catch up. Maintaining backward compatibility is as much the Royal Navy's problem as it is a partner's responsibility to advance technologically. We therefore envisage that, for example, well tried and tested NATO formal messaging, data links, and procedures will need to be supported for the foreseeable future. These legacy systems can be adapted to rest upon modern technologically advanced systems, however, as well as the more traditional, bespoke architectures.

Second, we place considerable importance on putting our own house in order. The United Kingdom's joint battlespace digitization (JBD) initiative, a fundamental component of the SDR, is intended to do just this. For years the United Kingdom's armed services have procured custom-made, stovepipe C4I systems. While the Royal Navy may have been able to work with our maritime allies, we often found it difficult to operate freely with our own Air Force and Army. JBD seeks to bring our own naval, land, and air forces closer together than ever before by permitting, among other things, shared planning using near real-time electronic pictures of the joint battlespace, whilst facilitating the transfer of relevant information between any user. Clearly we will want to be able to do this with our allies as well, and JBD recognizes the need for combined interoperability. JBD also is the pilot for a new form of defense procurement. "Smart Procurement" will see a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and industry throughout the whole life of a project with maximum use being made of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products. These are readily available in the international market place, and their accessibility will improve interoperability if we can agree and conform to common standards and protocols.

Standardization is therefore our third interoperability challenge. The United Kingdom is working hard in a variety of international fora to capture, document, and agree on the various standards we need to allow information exchange with armed forces of other nations, be they from Partnership for Peace countries, ad hoc coalitions, or formal allies. Indeed, we have an active research program in information technology and information management. The results from this already are supporting the multinational committees and working groups on which the United Kingdom is represented.

Security is a common factor that constrains these international endeavors to achieve more effective interoperability, and we fully appreciate the need of all nations to safeguard their innermost secrets. While recognizing the complexity and sensitivity of the security issue, we are actively seeking solutions. We remain hopeful that growing trust between nations, combined with emerging technology, will solve the problem. We must develop the concept of management of security and ensure that the demands and challenges of every scenario are evaluated so that the operational priorities are not subjected to unnecessary or unreasonable security restrictions and caveats.

The last 12 months have seen significant progress forward by the United Kingdom in the field of international interoperability. The Strategic Defence Review recognized the growing challenge facing the Royal Navy and United Kingdom defense as a whole in maintaining forward and backward interoperability with our traditional allies and other potential partners. The joint battlespace digitization initiative is the United Kingdom's vehicle for greater interoperability between our own armed forces, whilst internationally agreed standards and protocols, growing trust and innovative research, particularly in information management and security, are seen as the keys to improving interoperability.

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Vice Admiral D. B. Chalmers, Royal Australian Navy
—Operationally, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is a major contributor to regional security, and as such, we must be able to operate with our neighbours and allies in a meaningful and effective way. With this in mind, the development of sophisticated naval weapons and communications systems in navies throughout the world presents us with a number of operational challenges.

As a small navy, an ability to operate successfully with allies and neighbours is vital to our ability to defend Australia and its interests. To improve the operational interoperability of regional forces, numerous major exercises are held throughout the year. Activities such as the Fleet Concentration Period Kakadu, which is held in northern Australia every two years, bring together a number of regional naval forces in an asset-rich environment which, through a series of graded practices, test and hone the skills of all involved. Not only do such exercises enhance the ability of the RAN to operate effectively with our close neighbors, they also add immeasurably to the personal understanding and friendships that can be invaluable between forces of nations whose cultural origins differ significantly.

Farther afield, the RAN's relationship with the U.S. Navy is a very close and highly developed one. As one of our major allies, an ability to operate effectively with the U.S. Navy is very important to us. With the development of Network Centric Warfare an ability to operate within one another's decision-making cycle is now even more important. Within any coalition of allied forces, however, there inevitably will be differing levels of capability and it is important to be able to bridge the technological potential of any future coalition partners. The Royal Australian Navy is placed uniquely to operate as a "gateway" ally between more advanced forces, such as the U.S. Navy, and smaller coalition allies whose lack of technological development means they cannot participate actively at levels where planning and operations occur in near parallel. Such a vital and demanding role will mean that the Royal Australian Navy will have to operate fully as part of the high-level team within the planning and operating circles of our major allies and with interaction to less capable forces. Such developments were discussed at length during the U.S. Naval Institute's Naval Warfare Symposium—in which I participated—at Virginia Beach in September 1998.

In the past, Australia and United States interoperability has been very successful—the Gulf War being a case in point. I am confident that future upgrades of our guided-missile frigates, the new ANZAC ships, and planning for growth toward selective capabilities will serve only to further enhance what is already a well-developed cooperative relationship.

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Admiral Salim Dervisoglu, Turkish Navy
—As the dawn of the next millennium approached, dramatic political changes had all but eliminated the risk of a global confrontation. However, new instabilities were introduced, which led both to proliferation of advanced technology weapon systems and more sophisticated scenarios for naval commanders. Operations of increased complexity and speed have become more likely at sea, rendering reliable means for communication more vital than ever. Growing responsibilities for the allied navies now include more operations in the littoral waters or extended integrated air defense—each of which calls for compilation and exchange of real-time tactical pictures faster and more reliably than hitherto possible. The pressure on tactical data exchange systems is now strong for greater data rate, enhanced resistance to electronic countermeasures, expanded network capacity, improved network management, enlarged range coverage, and increased network reliability.

Link 11 continues to be the principal data-link system on board Turkish Navy platforms. Embedded mostly in advanced combat management systems, Link 11 provides effective functionality to support conventional requirements. We intend to keep Link 11 capability beyond 2015 to exploit fully the superior features of this maritime data link, which provides extended range connectivity to naval its well as airborne units. Moreover, Link 11 is the principal means of interoperability for joint and combined operations, and the Turkish Navy is in the process of enhancing its Link 11 systems with slew-mode capability for improved performance. We recognize, however, that the Link's low data rate precludes its use in complex scenarios, where multiple airborne threats as well as friendly units are involved.

In the evolving transition plans to extend the naval tactical data exchange capabilities, we are seeking appropriate means to provide risk reduction and potential cost avoidance. This evolution must recognize existing communication structures and fiscal constraints while targeting seamless interoperability with national and allied maritime, air, and ground networks. Appropriate considerations are devoted to optimize the naval data exchange capability without placing unnecessary burden on the defense budget.

Turkish Navy Headquarters tasked the Naval Research and Development Department to examine, in close contact with the NATO allies, the implications of integrating advanced links systems, namely Links 16 and 22, into existing and future naval platforms. In-depth studies are under way to provide the detailed technical and tactical implications and to establish the necessary knowledge base on the newer NATO link systems.

Our initial impressions indicate that Link 16 is a viable option for antiair warfare platforms in the short run. When judging the pros and cons of deploying Link 16 systems in air and naval units, the system promises superb capabilities for short-term integration with the allied data-link architecture. As a line-of-sight system, however, Link 16 falls short of covering the long distances among widely spread units without a dedicated relay station. Reliance on a relay platform, on the other hand, represents a potential single point of failure in interoperability. The transfer of Link 16 data by satellite relay would improve reliability, yet at a prohibitively expensive price.

The new and more capable Link 22 tactical data exchange also is a system that falls in the Turkish Navy's sphere of interest. We all are looking forward to the widespread deployment of the NATO Link 22 initiative by the allied nations. This enhanced tactical data exchange endeavor will surely be an excellent contributor to the NATO and national objectives to improve the existing Link 11 systems. Because of the uncertainties as to fielding dates of this system by the developing nations, we are merely following the advances with a keen interest in observing the hoped-for results once the implementations become more available.

Last but not least, the issue of Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) along with its high-performance sensor and data-link infrastructure is very appealing. We believe that NATO should consider CEC seriously and form special study groups to establish the theoretical foundations for CEC implementation within the alliance for widespread use in the future,

The way ahead to reach a well-defined transition plan for the Turkish Navy's tactical data exchange capabilities remains to be determined. Whatever the media selected for compiling and transferring the tactical picture in the naval theater for mid-and long-term purposes, interoperability is the prime concern, and this objective must support both joint and combined-force operations.

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Admiral Paulo Augusto Garcia Dumont, Brazilian Navy —Despite budgetary restrictions imposed by the current economic conjuncture, the Brazilian Navy, employing realistic and creative planning, has conducted through the years effective renovation and modernization of its naval, naval aviation, and marine corps means, aiming to become capable of operating with other navies at the same technological and proficiency level.

To this end, the Navy's Research Centers and Institutes, along with national industries and universities, have developed several scientific and technological projects in various fields.

Among these projects are:

  • Digital systems: the development and production of a tactical control system (SICONTA) already installed in many ships
  • Systems analysis and operational research: analysis and evaluation of operational efficiency of the naval and naval aviation means as well as of the command-and-control naval systems
  • Acoustic systems: the development of transponder and multifrequency sonar target
  • Electronic warfare systems: manufacturing chaff rockets for antimissile defense and of electronic countermeasure equipment radar

In addition to the domestic technological advances, the Brazilian Navy has tried to broaden its operative capability in the international market by acquiring some of its equipment overseas, such as Type 22 frigates, A-4 Skyhawk aircraft, and Westland Lynx Mark 21A helicopters, as well as obtaining new equipment as part of the modernization program for the several systems used by the Navy, Naval Aviation, and the Marine Corps.

With regard to data links, besides the ones used exclusively for domestic operations, the Brazilian Navy in association with the Argentine Navy has developed the Link Fratemo for use in bilateral operations and is trying to obtain authorization to operate the Link 11 cryptic mode, bearing in mind that this system is used by a great number of navies.

Furthermore, as to the training of its personnel, we have recently expanded the participation of our naval units in joint exercises with the navies of the NATO countries.

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Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, Russian Federation Navy
—First it must be noted that our country is committed to international relations at sea that adhere to mutually recognized principles and norms of international law, and that are predictable and built on mutual trust. In an effort to support and implement the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, the Navy's activities and its interaction with other navies in recent years have been in the following basic areas:

  • Participation in joint naval exercises with foreign navies
  • Visits and working port calls to foreign countries and hosting foreign ships in Russian ports
  • Participation in peacekeeping operations
  • Participation in conferences dedicated to the promotion of confidence among navies
  • Participation in bilateral and multilateral talks on naval, fleet, and armament issues
  • Development of contacts between Russian and foreign navies at the highest command and staff levels
  • Russian Navy participation in official and unofficial negotiations for the development of a common concept of naval use of the sea, maritime boundaries, and safety of shipping and commercial activities
  • Development of contacts between Russian and foreign institutions for naval studies

In recent years, we have gained considerable experience in conducting joint exercises with other navies. Practically all previous naval interaction was limited to events associated with Russian Navy vessels' official and working port calls to other nations.

I would like to note that, in 1998, for example, Russian Navy vessels were involved in 33 official visits and 32 working port calls in 39 countries. There were 50 official visits and 49 working port calls by other navies to the Russian Federation. The visits facilitated the development of cooperative relations between the Russian Navy and the navies of many countries. They also allowed personal contacts between Russian and foreign navy commands to be established, and enhanced relations between Russian sailors and people of other nations. For the first time in many years, Russian ships visited ports of South Africa, South Korea, China, and Japan, contributing significantly to the renewal of friendly relations between our countries. These visits also supported and strengthened Russia's military-political position and expanded the scope of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area of international security.

From 1992 through 1998, the Russian Navy participated in 30 joint exercises conducted in the North, Baltic, Barents, Norwegian, Black, and Mediterranean Seas, the Sea of Japan, and the Persian Gulf. That period saw an increase in the number of forces participating in these exercises. Issues were addressed concerning the organization of training, exercises, command-and-control, tactical and operational deployment of forces, search and rescue, combined training at sea, inspections, and other activities.

In addition, over the last few years, we have conducted practice exercises for humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters. Since June 1994, we have conducted the "Cooperation from the Sea" series of humanitarian exercises in Russia and the United States on a rotating basis.

Joint operations with combat and assault vessels, marines, and naval aviation support from other nations are being developed in the interest of organizing combined efforts in the execution of U.N. Security Council decisions. Possible actions of such combined units are examined during "RUKUS" exercises, which have been conducted for six years. The exercises include scenarios in which the navies of all three countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia—carry out U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The practice of naval interaction will continue in 1999. We plan to participate in a number of joint exercises: "SAREX," a Russian-U.S. search-and-rescue exercise; "Assistance from the Sea," by invitation from Japan; "Sea Breeze 99" and "Farvater Mira 99," with the Ukrainian Navy; "Partnership on the Black Sea," with countries bordering the Black Sea; "Breeze 99" with the Bulgarian Navy and others.

Of course, coordinated and proved communication systems, both modern and traditional, are necessary when conducting joint naval operations. I must say that the communication systems of the Russian Navy are capable of supporting direct contact with the ships of any foreign navy. This communication can be via long-range telegraph and short-wave radio telephone, as well in the VHF/UHF (30-300 MHz) and ten-meter (28-29.5 MHz) ranges. In additional, visual communication is possible using light signals and semaphores in accordance with international code. Although short-wave communications and a few other issues require further coordination and development, there are no significant problems associated with tactical communications. We continue to address the issues, and in that vein, I would like to express my support for further international military and technical cooperation among Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries (especially naval powers), because a mutual interest in this area is evident. We have something to offer, and we are prepared to discuss proposals.

I would also like to raise the issue of cooperation regarding the introduction on 1 February 1999 of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS). Unfortunately, in the near future Russian vessels will experience difficulties in using this system. It is difficult to establish initial contact between Russian and foreign vessels, including U.S. ships, because of differences in communications equipment and the system's use of a digital call-up. It becomes very difficult to coordinate activities in, for example, joint rescue operations at sea. We have developed a schedule for gradually outfitting Russian ships with the necessary equipment. In planning joint operations, these factors must be taken into account.

Finally, in response to the question on improving coordination in the development of multifunction command-and-control systems similar to Aegis, I can say that our ships already have similar systems. Coordinating their joint function in combat operations, however, including their use with all types of naval weapon systems, on the tactical and operational levels, is an issue for the future. I do not doubt that, eventually, it will become necessary for us to solve this problem. But, I do not think it necessary, in this forum, to dwell on possible approaches for coordinating such interaction and the resolution of purely technical and fairly complicated issues.

Regarding the Russian Navy's activities noted above, the most important results are the following:

  • In the area of confidence-building measures, the Russian Navy participates on a regular basis in "Incidents at Sea" consultations, conducted at present with 12 countries. In recent years, this agreement actively has involved nations of the Asia-Pacific region. The most recent agreements on this joint initiative, with Japan in 1993 and the Republic of Korea in 1994, were reached with the direct participation of the Russian Navy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Work on similar agreements is ongoing with Portugal and Turkey. Russian Navy personnel also are taking an active part in regular consultations on confidence-building measures in the Asia-Pacific region and in the Mediterranean, Black, and Baltic Seas.
  • In November, 1996, Russia became a permanent member of the Western Pacific Navies Symposium and the Navy was granted the opportunity to send its representatives to its fora on a regular basis. Although the Symposium is not a direct part of the political process, its suggestions are aimed at maintaining and strengthening political and diplomatic dialogue and mutual trust among the nations in the region.
  • The Russian Navy's participation in international peacekeeping actions in various parts of the world has both a humanitarian and a military character. We sent a combat ship and a tanker from the Pacific Fleet to the Persian Gulf in September, 1992, in support of the U.N. sanctions against Iraq. Among their missions were observation and monitoring of shipping, and also the coordination of these activities with the U.S., British, and French navies.

In closing, I would like to express my conviction that, as an instrument of foreign policy, navies are designed to defend national interests and are employed to enforce adherence to international law on the high seas. In other words, they can be characterized as a restraint on countries that threaten the national interests and security of other governments. Navies are a source of military power, capable of opposing threats to peace and stability in the interest of the international community. The use of naval power in times of peace can, without a doubt, impact stability and peace, for better or worse, in various regions of the world's oceans. Therefore, naval forces are a country's single practical means for implementing flexible cooperation and defending its interests in all marine environments.

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Admiral Carlos A. Marron, Argentine Navy
—Throughout history, one of the Argentine Navy's primary goals has been to keep current in the technological field, particularly as related to international doctrine and procedures.

This is illustrated by the commissioning of the T-42 destroyer ARA Hercules , second in its class, in 1977, and of the MEKO 360 destroyers and the MEKO 140 corvettes in the 1980s, which marked a change in the world's conception of warship design and building.

In addition, the Argentine Navy's concern about its capability to operate with foreign navies has been demonstrated over the years by its participation in many joint operations and exercises: 40 "UNITAS" operations with the U.S. Navy and other navies of the region and the world; 18 "Fraterno" operations and many "ARAEX" operations with the Brazilian Navy; bilateral exercises such as "FleetEx" and "Gringo-Gaucho" with the U.S. Navy; "Atlasur" with the Brazilian, Uruguayan, and South African navies; "Cimarron" with the Uruguayan Navy; "Sirena" with the Paraguayan Navy; "Viekaren" with the Chilean Navy; and many "PassEx" operations conducted with the Venezuelan, Italian, Spanish, and French Navies.

Such a sustained effort bore fruit in 1990. The Argentine naval units that joined the multinational Coalition for Operation Desert Storm were able to integrate fully and and successfully with Coalition forces—even though Argentina and Australia provided the only non-NATO units. This would not have been possible if our crews had not had such an extensive background in combined operations.

Nevertheless, the lessons learned evidenced an urgent need for adequate data-link equipment for an automatic, more effective, and discreet exchange of information. This was confirmed during Operation Talos, which imposed a blockade on Haiti.

Our Navy, well aware of the great restrictions this imposed on our units in each combined operation, has tried different approaches to overcome it. On the one hand, many years ago the Argentine Navy implemented projects such as Link America to link all the navies on the continent and Link Gaucho to enable naval control of shipping.

On the other hand, the Argentine Navy signed agreements with other navies of the Americas to gain access to automated data-link equipment that will allow Argentine ships to interoperate more efficiently, not only in the conduct of combined exercises but in potential international scenarios—as happened in the Persian Gulf.

But we have to bear in mind that when we talk about interoperability, we mean not only technical compatibility for automated exchange of information but also doctrine, procedures, rules of engagement, and combined training; in short, whatever enables a multinational force to act as if it were not such a force. In pursuing this, a navy's own wishes and capabilities will not suffice; rather, the joint efforts and action by navies wishing to operate together will be required.

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Admiral Nuno Matias, Portuguese Navy —In the new era in which we live, the threats either of symmetric or asymmetric nature tend to emphasize the traditional sailor's preference for a balanced fleet. The Portuguese Navy adheres to this standard with a synergistic mix of components, platforms, weapons, and command-and-control capabilities. In addition, the Portuguese Navy also has responsibility over the national coastal guard and maritime safety issues.

This concept integrates the strength of an ocean-going nature, operating in combined and joint forces and, obviously, keeping one's own capabilities to undertake national blue- and brown-water operations.

Today's precision-guided weapons, operating over large areas together with an increasing capacity of surveillance and sharing of information, create a global technological framework within which naval forces must be structured, irrespective of their sizes. This makes mandatory an extended degree of interoperability with military counterparts and civilian organizations within the scope of the national area of responsibility and beyond. The most recent national experiences of this have been the non-combatant evacuation operation and the support of humanitarian aid and diplomatic initiatives following the military rebellion in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau that occurred in June 1998.

By no means is it easy for the Portuguese Navy to keep the pace with respect to interoperability, achieving not just the necessary defense technologies, but also adopting the corresponding processes that include multinational command-and-control training and even language skills.

Apart from the inherent costs, scarce financial resources, and a reduced national defense industry, interoperability calls for international defense cooperation as a solution to cope with the wider and very dynamic range of requirements to be fulfilled. To overcome these particular difficulties, the Portuguese Navy is developing an advanced planning system that must take into account the encouragement of national research and development and production. Nevertheless, as a measure of efficiency, no standards are adopted other than NATO's.

A realistic technological management, as the U.S. Navy's Vice Admiral Jerry Tuttle said ten years ago, must be considered as a composite of past, present, and future technologies. This approach calls for the establishment of a validation and prioritization process of operational requirements that lead to an efficient, mission-driven organization—avoiding the day-by-day seduction for the "state-of-the-art" or the "nice-to-have"equipment inherent to a technology-driven organization.

The Portuguese Navy strategy is, in this field, oriented toward a significant effort to keep a high interoperability and technological level in its hard-core ocean fleet (less quantity/more quality basis), disseminating the imported technology to the rest of the fleet through a dynamic heritage process.

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Staff Brigadier General (Sea) Nasser Abdoullah Al-Noaimi, Qatar Emiri Naval Forces
—Qatar is essentially a maritime nation; the sea occupies over 90% of our borders. The government of Qatar has an international obligation for the safety and security of all vessels and operations within the maritime zone, and a credible maritime-based deterrence capability is vital to the security of Qatar. This is being achieved through basic measures of surveillance, intelligence, self-defense, physical and professional training, and building the moral character of our personnel.

Qatar Emiri Naval Forces believe firmly that God Almighty has created human beings for love and peace for all humanity and not for destruction, and therefore, we seek guidance from the Almighty to achieve our main motto. We also believe that the source of the strength of the United States and its economy is its commitment to the same principles as exemplified by the motto "In God we trust," written on its currency.

We updated our vessels with the latest communication systems suitable for the unique propagation conditions experienced in the region along with a good communication plan and the handling of secure communications using the right publication.

New, advanced intercommunications systems compatible with interfacing with external communications system have been selected. The network facilitates internal communications as point-to-point connection and conference line connection among different operators of our combat system.

External communication systems allow necessary tactical communication required for the ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and ship-to-aircraft, both in plain and ciphered modes.

Our naval vessels are fitted with weapons primarily for self-defense. The role for our naval vessels is surface and air surveillance and antiair attack. The weapon systems support the following operational requirements:

  • General surveillance of air and surface environment
  • Target identification (identification friend or foe)
  • Detection, acquisition, and tracking of air and surface targets
  • Display of tactical situation
  • Threat evaluation of air and surface targets
  • Data-link management
  • Electronic warfare systems
  • Tactical navigation
  • Weapon control and tactical planning against single and multiple threats
  • Recording/replaying of data

It is vital that the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces have an effective data-link connection to allow naval vessels to provide targeting information and to operate with available networks.

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Vice Admiral R. C. Simpson-Anderson, South African Navy
—The question posed this year by the U.S. Naval Institute is of particular interest to me as I addressed the subject of interoperability amongst navies in a paper delivered at the International Sea Power Symposium in 1997.

Procedural interoperability is based on specific equipment and work methods previously agreed upon by maritime forces, and progress has been made in this regard with the introduction of the U.S. Navy-initiated MMOPS publications. A major challenge exists, however, in the area of communications interoperability used for command-and-control and for the exchange of tactical information. This is complicated by the large disparity between the technological levels of the worlds' navies, the existence of international alliances, such as NATO, that use alliance data links, and the emergence of non-alliance navies that have developed their own indigenous systems.

Based on the premise that interoperability could be described as two gears that are designed to mesh accurately, this can only be achieved if both gears have been designed to work together. If not, new technology must be used to provide an intermediate step or interface to permit the two gears that do not fit to operate together.

A direct interface would not be acceptable as this would require disclosure of the full details of the relevant performance characteristics of the participating naval units, which is contrary to the interests of independent navies. The South African Navy would, for instance, be as loath to disclose specifications of its integrated data link and action information system as would NATO in disclosing those described in its Standard Agreement (STANAG) 55-series.

I believe that the impasse can be solved by dividing the interface into two sections. Each participating navy would then construct its own interface to a neutral central standard and so avoid disclosure of sensitive information about its own systems. This will not be a simple exercise. Indeed, the best minds from the participating navies would be required to classify equipment for interface-capability and specify appropriate neutral standards.

This is the concept that the South African Navy intends developing for the future, hopefully with the requisite international assistance in order to achieve wide interoperability. But, for the present, the problems inherent in incompatible data links systems will have to be managed within the constraints of the participants' cooperation agreements.

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Rear Admiral Hans Kristian Svensholt, Royal Norwegian Navy
—We have focused on interoperability with allied forces as one of the key elements in development, training, and operational use of forces. This was founded on experience from operations as part of the Allied forces during World War II. The Royal Norwegian Navy has used NATO tactics and procedures in national training and operations since the Alliance was established in 1949. NATO technical standards form the basis for the requirements, design, procurement, and testing of naval equipment to the extent possible. Interoperability and use of internationally recognized standards is therefore the rule rather than the exception in our Navy.

Our Navy has participated in the Standing Naval Force Atlantic since the force was established more than 30 years ago and also assigns ships continuously to the Standing Naval Force Channel. This, as well as participation in numerous NATO exercises and multinational operations, has assisted in identifying interoperability shortfalls in own equipment and capabilities. These experiences, in addition to active participation in many NATO specialist groups such as the NATO Naval Armaments Group and the Maritime Working Group, have given us a good understanding of the subject matter and provided opportunities to play a role in the development of new standards and procedures within the NATO maritime community.

In recent years cooperation with new partners in a multinational context has demonstrated the value of basic maritime interoperability.

The Royal Norwegian Navy has over a very long period of time developed very close cooperation with a number of NATO navies, not least the U.S. Navy, which we regard as the "yard stick" in terms of interoperability—if our equipment is interoperable with the U.S. Navy, then we are interoperable with almost anyone. Accordingly we use the excellent services of the U.S. Navy Tactical Center for Systems Interoperability (NTCSI) for Link 11 interoperability certification, and we will soon use the newly formed Joint Interoperability Test Center (JITC) for radio interoperability certification for new surface ships.

Clearly there are emerging interoperability challenges in areas like extended air defense and expeditionary warfare, however my ambitions to develop any such capabilities in our Navy are limited.

Accordingly, I am confident that the Royal Norwegian Navy will maintain the necessary interoperability standards for communications, data links, and weapon systems for the key warfare areas of our Navy and be able to participate in multinational task forces in the future.

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Vice-Admiral C. van Duyvendijk, Royal Netherlands Navy —With an emphasis on considerations such as flexibility, mobility, combined, and joint, the Royal Netherlands Navy strives to maintain a balanced fleet with an expeditionary capability. In accordance with the ambitions of the Netherlands government, the ships of the Royal Netherlands Navy are designed for worldwide operations both in blue and brown water environments.

The eight recently commissioned Karel Doorman -class frigates already have shown their value during operations in the Persian Gulf. These ships were originally designed as multipurpose frigates with an emphasis on open-ocean antisubmarine warfare, using a critical angle towed-array system. Given the changing ASW scene, four of those ships in the near term will be equipped with an active towed-array system.

The four air defense and command frigates, now being built under the Trilateral Frigate Cooperation (TFC) with Germany and Spain, are designed to provide local and area air defense. These ships will have to cope with a projected air threat consisting of very low-flying, low-observable supersonic and subsonic sea-skimming missiles, and supersonic high-diving missiles. The German and Netherlands ships will be equipped with the same air-defense suite, based on a Mk 41 Vertical Launch System, that will allow them to fire both Evolved Sea Sparrow and Standard Missile (SM) 2 Block IIIa projectiles. To reduce reaction times and increase battle-space coverage, their integrated antiair warfare system comprises sensors such as a multifunction active phased-array radar (APAR) and a SMART-L long-range air-surveillance radar. Both navies recognize the threat posed by tactical ballistic missiles, and have conducted studies into the possibilities of merging SM-2 Block IVa with the antiair warfare system. A study conducted by the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, already has shown the technical feasibility of the concept.

The Netherlands and German Navies have determined their ships will be operating as part of an international task force for a significant part of their lifetime. For this reason, the ships will be equipped with command, control, computers, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) facilities that meet the latest NATO standards. These include, among others, the link- and communication-systems that are installed. For the future, a Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) is high on the list of priorities.

The new landing platform dock HNLMS Rotterdam was commissioned in 1998. This addition to the Netherlands fleet will provide the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps with its own amphibious lift capability. The ship, however, also will be used as a "purple" asset capable of carrying, for instance, Army Leopard 2 main battle tanks or Air Force Patriot air-defense units, The ship is designed to operate both in a national and international environment, but above all to form an integral part of the United Kingdom/Netherlands Amphibious Force and/or the NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic—underlining the growing expeditionary character of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The ship is provided with facilities to command Marine infantry units ashore and is amply stored to support the landing force for at least two weeks. The Netherlands Marines are trained together and have been integrated with the British Royal Marines for more than 25 years, together forming the UK/NL Landing Force.

With additional frigates and supply ships, the P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, Walrus -class submarines, mine countermeasures units—and looking forward to the planned replacement of the Lynx-maritime helicopters by NH-90 Naval Frigate Helicopters—the Royal Netherlands Navy will be ready to enter combined and joint operations worldwide in any theater where the Netherlands government wants to participate in showing military presence.

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Rear Admiral Michel Verhulst, Belgian Navy
—Within the Belgian Navy, cooperation with NATO partners is achieved by adhering to the different Allied Communications Publications (ACPs) and Standard Agreements (STANAGs) that implement procedures as well as standards (hardware, software, and training), and by closely monitoring the evolution on the international naval communications systems market in participating in a variety of NATO as well as non-NATO communication fora and work groups.

Communication systems in this case cover super-high-, ultra-high-, very-high-, high-, and low-frequency bands (including satellite communications) and handle internal as well as external communication channels.

Cooperation with non-NATO (Partners-for-Peace) nations is mainly achieved by personal computer (PC)-to-PC file transfer as described in PCP-1A (the Partnership for Peace Naval and Maritime Air Communication Instructions Publication) to avoid as much as possible the existing hardware incompatibilities.

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Rear Admiral Kristen H. Winther, Royal Danish Navy
—The Royal Danish Navy has regional roles in the Baltic Sea and Straits as well as blue-water roles outside of the region. During the Cold War, interoperability was mostly a matter for the blue-water navy. Since no outside allied navies were expected to join for battle in the Baltic, interoperability requirements for regional and mainly smaller units were limited to cooperation with the Federal German and the Norwegian navies.

That situation has changed over the last years, when also smaller units are being tasked outside of the region and when a growing number of foreign navies frequently deploy to the Baltic region. The interoperability requirement for combined operations has therefore become more general.

The ongoing fleet modernization program thus includes upgrading of national link systems in all units as well as upgrading of older Link 11 systems and Link 11 capability for the new classes of smaller units. This move has also been necessitated by weapons developments, since Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles are being installed in units as small as the 300-ton Flyvefisken class with the subsequent demand for those units to be able to join the air-defense networks.

As follow-on to Link 11, Denmark intends to join development of the NATO Link 22 system.

Since 1994, NATO's Maritime Command-and-Control Information System (MCCIS) has been a part of the Navy's command-and-control system. It is connected to the NATO Initial Data Transfer System (NIDTS), and is used between the North Sea and other navies to produce a combined recognized maritime picture. The headquarters command-and-control system is undergoing a major modernization, which will also use MCCIS as a key component.

MCCIS also will be installed in the Niels Juel -class corvettes and in the planned new classes of frigates and command/support ships.

These ships will also be fitted with military satellite communications NATO requirements are for ultra-high and super-high frequencies (UHF/SHF), but the age of the NATO satellites without current plans for replacement and subsequent uncertainty about future standards presents a problem with regard system choice for a small nation, which would then be dependent on other nations' satellite channels.

Denmark is supporting the planned introduction of "maritime networking" for wireless local- and wide-area networking in support of maritime operations.

The Royal Danish Navy also is pursuing a general modernization of its conventional communication systems, and plans are for the introduction of the "Broadcast, Maritime Rear Link and Ship-Shore-Ship System" known as BRASS.

In the Baltic Region, however, interoperability is not only about state-of-the-art connectivity with allies. In the region we enjoy increasing and fruitful cooperation with no less than seven Partnership-for-Peace navies with much different technical capabilities and standards, and it is vital that we develop and maintain interoperability with those partners.

This is not purely a matter of own equipment and standards. In some cases it is also necessary that we engage in more direct support in order to enable the Partners to cooperate with us. This must necessarily be via conventional means and much use is being made of the NATO-developed PC-Net.

A particular and very rewarding challenge has been to provide communications equipment as well as technical and training support for the Baltic Squadron, a combined Mine Countermeasures Squadron established by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

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