Commanders Respond

Maritime jurisdiction has undergone substantial changes in the last decades, most notably as a result of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. This grants our country rights over the living and non-living resources in an Exclusive Economic Zone, an area comparable in size to our entire continental region.

This maritime area comprises one of the most coveted fishing grounds of the planet and is the source of significant foreign revenue to Argentina—more so, in fact, than any of our other exports. The area draws fishing boats from around the world, many of them without the proper authorization.

Over the same period shipping has grown significantly, especially passenger ships and oil tankers.

Among the responsibilities assumed by the Argentine Republic for the international community is the commitment of ensuring human safety at sea from our shores to the central Atlantic Ocean and beyond. This implies helping seafarers in an area equivalent to six times the Argentine continental surface. It includes the Antarctic, where many ships and thousands of passengers visit Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world.

In our maritime area, the central naval activity is sea control. The Argentine Navy ensures this through the Shipping Naval Command, and it participates in similar activities with the navies of Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which belong to the South Atlantic Maritime Area.

This task of shipping protection has evolved from our experience gained in World War II. Argentine foreign trade depends on the maritime lines of communication to ensure the free trade and supply continuity in the event of crisis or war. To help the decision-making process, the Shipping Naval Command processes and integrates information about the positions of ships at sea, their departures, arrivals, and ships in ports, according to the present doctrine of Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping.

At the national level, information collected through patrolling and aerial surveillance is integrated with that provided by other national sources, such as the Argentine Coast Guard, the fishing undersecretariat, port authorities, business chambers from the shipping sector, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It also incorporates information received from the South Atlantic Maritime Area and other navies in accordance with established agreements.

Once the Common Surface Overview is generated, it is disseminated to the appropriate organizations, within and without the Argentine Navy. The shipping control system data are proprietary but can be exported to other platforms and formats pursuant to the users' demands.

In addition, the Argentine Navy recognizes the need to support the international maritime community. To that end, it actively participates in the International Maritime Organization's Long-Range Identification and Tracking of Ships system, and it contributes to the system's design with human and material means. Software engineering development was performed by a team of information experts from La Plata University and the Argentine Navy Information Technology area.

The operational maritime scene of the Argentine Navy is dynamic and demanding. That is why it strives on the one hand to meet its demands and on the other to follow the international outlines of collaboration to actively contribute to the peacekeeping and the international security of our maritime region.

Vice Admiral R. H. Crane

Chief of Navy, Australia

Australia is an island nation in one of the most maritime-intensive domains in the world. Our ability to use the sea is central to the protection of Australia's national interests. As a nation with no land borders, our dependence on the oceans, from both an economic and security perspective, has continued to develop. Our maritime-dominated strategic geography therefore presents us with unique challenges. We continue to rely on the maritime environment for economic prosperity, both for natural resources and as the fundamental highway for our trade. In economic terms, 99.7 percent of Australia's international trade by volume and 75 percent by value was transported by sea in 2008. Australia's continued reliance on the maritime environment will dominate our thinking.

One of the most significant maritime security challenges facing Australia is the strategic vulnerability of our maritime economic trade over extended sea lines of communication. The long distances over which Australia must secure its trade and raw resource base presents significant challenges to Australian naval forces in applying traditional concepts, such as sea control, in planning for any application of maritime power. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) seeks to secure our maritime trade base through application of both soft and hard power with our involvement in allied and regional naval engagement. This helps us develop understanding, transparency, and confidence building and, if required, gives us options to work with allies and friends in the considered and precise application of maritime power to exert sea control.

The RAN places a high priority on contributing to international efforts through active middle power diplomacy. One of the most important ways that we seek to promote mutual strategic interest is through a network of alliances. These alliances reinforce stable strategic frameworks in our immediate neighborhood as well as the wider Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and assist in reducing potential threats. Australia continues to develop a network of naval partnerships as an important foundation for navies to work together if and when required to ensure potential threats to our maritime trade are mitigated.

Assisting in our regional engagement endeavors is our overt joint force approach, which provisions and sustains a balanced fleet postured through a two-ocean basing policy. As part of a joint force, the RAN is structured to apply maritime power, when required, to maintain freedom of navigation thereby preserve the integrity of sea-lanes vital to Australia. This is enabled by a continued focus on the use of submarines and major surface combatants, and, in the future, our air-warfare destroyers. Operating in the amphibious environment with land forces with our soon-to-be-introduced amphibious assault ships will allow us to respond to any shore-based contingency when required.

Rear Admiral Jean-Paul Robyns

Commander, Belgian Maritime Component

Belgium is a maritime nation with a merchant fleet ranked 22nd in the world in tonnage and having 75 percent of its trade move by sea. This trade has grown exponentially in recent years, and it goes without saying that energy shortages will accentuate it. Safe sea lines of communication and ports, primarily Zeebruges and Antwerp, will become more than ever a key factors to our country's economic survival.

The rise of piracy and terrorism is a genuine threat to the freedom of the seas, making investment in maritime security paramount. I strongly believe that our navies in years to come will play a major role and maritime security operations will gain importance.

To prepare for this mission, my navy started a transformation by acquiring multi-purpose frigates, modernizing our minehunters, and investing in very-shallow-water tactics and materiel. The new frigates constitute a major step forward for the Belgian Navy. Compared to the former E71 class, these ships are of a higher technical standard, with far better sensors, improved weapon and self-defense systems, and most important, helicopter capacity. We will embark the new NH90 helicopter. The frigates are multi-role and can engage in every scenario, including maritime security operations. In 2009 the Leopold I will participate in UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with an embarked staff as we take command of the Maritime Task Force (MTF) from 1 March. The Louise-Marie will join Operation Atalanta in August, in the fight against piracy.

To improve our mine warfare capacity, we are engaged in a capability upkeep program—to be completed in mid-year—that includes a new command-and-control system, a self-propelled variable-depth sonar, a new hull-mounted sonar, and the Seafox mine disposal system. The first operational evaluations appear very promising. At sea, the hunters are supported by a command and support ship that will be replaced in 2015.

Furthermore, we are investing in a very-shallow-water antimine capacity with the Remus countermeasure system and divers. This system is under evaluation and should be augmented by other systems in the future.

Finally, we opened a new Maritime Information Centre at the Zeebruges Naval Base that focuses on all security aspects of our home waters. It is an interagency operation with colleagues from the police and Customs Department.

I believe that the Belgian Navy is taking adequate steps to counter the threat to our maritime security. This threat, combined with the drastically growing demand for energy and budgetary restraints, will make cooperation among navies a high priority. What we do together, we do better.

Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto

Commandant, Brazilian Navy

Brazil, a country of continental dimensions, has about 8,500 kilometers of coastline and 3.6 million square kilometers of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Based on an assessment of the Brazilian continental shelf, the nation requested that the United Nations' Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf expand the nation's protected area by approximately 950,000 square kilometers beyond the 200 nautical miles of the EEZ. The total protected area may reach about 4.5 million square kilometers—approximately half of the size of the Brazilian continental territory. We call this area the Blue Amazon.

While the South Atlantic has been up to now a region free of armed conflict and removed from areas of piracy and terrorism, some illicit acts in the Brazilian jurisdictional waters may be identified as threats to our maritime security and must be promptly stopped. These include drug, arms, and people trafficking; smuggling; illegal fishing; predatory exploitation of natural marine resources; and marine environmental pollution.

One must not forget that about 95 percent of Brazilian foreign trade passes across the sea, keeping more than 40 of our ports busy. The recent discovery of significant reserves of oil and natural gas within our EEZ may come to be coveted by others, which will oblige us to be prepared to provide proper vigilance and protection.

In this context, the Brazilian Navy has the Naval Patrol, which aims to implement and supervise compliance with the laws and regulations in Brazilian jurisdictional waters, on the continental shelf, and the high seas, respecting the treaties, conventions, and international acts ratified by Brazil.

Despite the physical presence of our ships in the patrol areas, the Brazilian Navy provides a link in the establishment of a mechanism—the Management System of the Blue Amazon. This will monitor shipping in Brazilian waters with remote sensors, including satellites, among other integrated sub-systems.

Finally, to confront the traditional threats to the country as well as maritime security, the Brazilian Navy prefers the strategy of dissuasion. It seeks to develop a properly equipped force with the ships, aircraft, men, and equipment to do the job.

The maintenance of this force, able to work promptly and efficiently, and the ability to deploy it quickly, will inhibit the actions of potential aggressors to maritime security. The National Defense Strategy, approved recently by the president, highlights this issue, and the Navy Re-Fitting Program, now in progress, prioritizes the acquisition of the means to act against such threats.

Vice Admiral Drew W. Robertson

Chief of Maritime Staff, Canadian Navy

This is an important question, but I would ask the Proceedings readership to reflect on the fact that most of the world's fleets at sea, solving today's operational problems, were conceived and built several decades ago. It follows, then, that our successes today are as much about the foresight of our predecessors as they are about our ability to adjust to today's realities.

From a force development viewpoint, navies, or more properly the governments they serve, are required to make 50-year decisions—basically the time it takes to conceive of a given class of warship and bring it into service, and eventually pay it off and replace it.

Our own Iroquois -class destroyers are a case in point. These ships were conceived in the 1960s and built in the early '70s, in the middle of the Cold War, and converted in the latter '80s and early '90s from their original antisubmarine escort role to an air-defense and flagship-command role at which they have since excelled. By the time they are eventually replaced in the mid-2010s, the Iroquois destroyers will be well into their fifth decade of service.

The people who designed and built those destroyers couldn't possibly have foreseen any of the dramatic changes that have occurred in our wider world since the keels for the Iroquois class were laid. Nor are we likely to today, in relation to our possible futures. What they achieved, however, was to position us for success by building agility and flexibility into the original hull, through generous design margins for growth in displacement and volume that permitted us to change the role and capabilities of the class and build the navy we could not otherwise have afforded.

There are major differences, of course, between building a warship and building a navy, but flexibility and adaptability are clearly required of both platforms and people. There is much we can do to prepare those who follow us, as long as we think as much about our possible futures as we do of our current challenges and remind ourselves and others that the world's dangers will not always look the way they do now.

Admiral Rodolfo Codina Diaz

Commander-in-Chief, Chilean Navy

The most significant threats in Chile's maritime zone are related to illegal fishing, drug trafficking, and smuggling, as well as marine pollution and aquatic environmental preservation, as in the Antarctic.

Nevertheless, threats to global maritime security and the free and open sea lines are also our concern. Chilean foreign policy and the Chilean Navy, as part of it, take into account the importance of developing and increasing the concept of cooperative security by creating linkages with the international community aimed at protecting common interests.

To face this, it is necessary to note Chile's maritime organization, wherein the National Maritime Authority belongs to the navy organization. This provides the Chilean Navy with the flexibility to tie in with our other material and human resources, providing the capacities needed to control a wide variety of maritime activities and lay out a quick response using, whenever necessary, the advantages of a navy with oceanic capabilities.

One of our main endeavors in maritime security has been to develop maritime domain awareness capabilities. We link that with the demands of regulations and national interest, integrating our operative assets and staff and deploying them among our four naval zones, allowing decentralized action.

To increase our effectiveness we are replacing our maritime patrol aircraft with the Casa-295, the first of which will arrive this year; constructing two offshore patrol vessels in our shipyards in Talcahuano, with one commissioned in 2008; procuring Dauphin light helicopters for search-and-rescue tasks; incorporating the automatic identification system and long-range identification and tracking systems; and purchasing Defender and Arc a ngel fast boats.

Finally, in regard to environmental protection, since 1998 we have been working together with Argentina in an Antarctic patrol, which has enabled us to efficiently respond to several emergencies there in 2007 and December 2008.

Almirante Guillermo Barrera Hurtado

Commander, Colombian Naval Forces

For Colombia, the greatest threat in the maritime scenario is drug trafficking, since it constitutes the main source of financial resources for terrorist organizations operating in our country. This illegal activity has moved on to neighboring countries, a circumstance that could eventually affect the region.

Narco-terrorist organizations employ national maritime spaces such as strategic mobility corridors for illegal drug traffic, especially for cocaine chlorhydrate, as well as marijuana and heroin. The drugs are sent to transfer countries in the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa and consuming countries, especially in North America and Europe. Likewise, the traffickers use the sea to sneak in chemicals, weapons, ammunition, and explosives and use them for terrorist purposes.

To counteract this threat, within the government's Consolidation Policy of Democratic Security, the Colombian Navy has implemented a strategy called "Closing Spaces." This seeks greater cooperation and the use of more effective and efficient naval resources to control not only national maritime spaces, but also waterways that may be used by terrorists to move their drugs out to sea or into neighboring countries.

Drug trafficking is a very dynamic threat because traffickers always find new means and methods of achieving their objectives. This compels the Navy to constantly adapt to these changes, using innovation in its doctrines and procedures, and going from interdiction of fishing vessels, ocean liners, Go-Fast speed boats, up to semisubmersibles.

With international cooperation, between 2002 and 2008 the Closing Spaces strategy has allowed the interdiction of several vessels and the confiscation of 526,000 kg of cocaine, with an estimated value of $13.1 billion. Likewise, within the last three years we have detected and neutralized 77 vessels, among them 20 semisubmersibles.

International cooperation is a determining factor for the elimination of this threat. Nowadays, the most important efforts must be focused on the adoption of legal standards to act more efficiently against drug trafficking and all of its manifestations. Operational cooperation among countries is paramount, especially with reference to the sharing of intelligence information, conducting surveillance and reconnaissance activities, as well as the adoption of a common doctrine for maritime interdiction that allows greater interoperability.

The maritime agreement existing between Colombia and the United States since 1997 is an excellent example of the importance of international cooperation.This has significantly increased operational results against drug traffickers in their transit area. The Colombian Navy has taken the initiative to create a new International Maritime Center Against Drug-Trafficking, which contributes to improvement of drug traffic interdiction and efforts against other illegal maritime and inland waterways trafficking. This center will be developing training activities for other countries in the region as well as fostering studies and operational analysis related to drug trafficking. This will enhance the decision-making process at a strategic level for countries in this hemisphere.

For the Colombian Navy, the threat of drug trafficking calls for its greatest operational effort to guarantee national security and contribute to regional security. Nonetheless, only through international cooperation can success be guaranteed.

Rear Admiral Ante Urlic

Commander, Croatian Navy

In the contemporary world, the sea and its spaciousness is among the most important resources for the economy and welfare of the country that has access to it. The sea as a natural and legal entity is wide open to influences and interactions in all aspects of life, and so is the sense of security. Croatia has a complex and demanding role in the preservation and protection of its interface with the Adriatic Sea, a major source of national income. The nation draws on its rich maritime tradition and cultural inheritance.

Modern society is ever more vulnerable and exposed to the dangerous activities of international organized crime and unpredictable asymmetric threats. In the global operating environment, military operations alone cannot provide maritime security, as that security encompasses factors including freedom of navigation, respect of international regulations and conventions, environmental protection, and law enforcement. Maritime security must not only include protection and safety of governmental and commercial operations, which are carried out under national sovereignty statutes, but also on the open sea where the country has no authority. Organized crime has become internationalized; it is ever more dangerous and violent, with impact felt far from the borders of the originating country. It should be prevented at its source.

Faced with these challenges, the Croatian Navy has analyzed its capabilities and defined the capacities to build and integrate them to successfully respond to future challenges with an acceptable risk level. To meet the challenges of the 21st century requires a broad range of activities, from diplomacy to the use of advanced technologies and, if needed, military force. The rapidly changing strategic environment influenced by globalization requires the restructuring and integration of all security institutions.

The cornerstone for maritime security within the Croatian Navy's area of responsibility is coherent civil-military cooperation. In response to this demand, the Republic of Croatia established the Central Coordination Agency, which integrates all national resources related to maritime safety. The agency is to determine the response to threats and security issues through the development and application of tactical, operational, and strategic solutions. Its operational body is headed by the commanding officer of the Croation Coast Guard, which is an integral part of the navy. The body coordinates the work of all agencies and their activities pertaining to the issues of maritime security and environmental protection at sea. It is also responsible for working out proposed plans and security measures for the agency's action.

The challenges, threats, and dynamics of maritime security present a daunting task for any individual country. Therefore, security guarantees are to be found in partnerships. Extended cooperation contributes to better regional, national, and global security and stability. The international security environment requires all states to build multifunctional structures within their national security systems. Therefore, I think that if synchronized, the activities of the Adriatic neighbors could significantly improve the efficiency of the system of illegal activities prevention. With this the plans of terrorist and criminal organizations that consider the Adriatic as an easy and safe passage would be cut off at the roots.

Rear Admiral Nils Christian Wang

Admiral, Danish Fleet

Denmark is heavily engaged in furthering peace and security across the world. We are ready to share responsibilities and risks, making international operations a prime task of the Danish armed forces. In addition, we are a significant maritime nation with strong regional, Arctic, and global interests and a very substantial merchant navy. Thus, the very complex, dynamic, diffuse, and unpredictable security environment, armed conflict, instability, transnational security issues, terrorism, piracy, access to and flow of resources, and climate change all pose threats, challenges, and risks with local, regional, or even global implications.

This can only be addressed through close multilateral cooperation, a dedicated effort, a wide-range of capabilities, and a comprehensive approach. The Royal Danish Navy has been heavily engaged across the full expanse of operations, most recently from Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, UN World Food Program, UNIFIL off Lebanon, to Task Force 150, where Commander Danish Task Group, from his flagship HDMS Absalon , took command from September 2008 to January 2009. This mission has clearly proven the Danish Task Group concept as well as the capacity of the multipurpose ships of the Absalon -class, with embarked armed helicopter and Special Forces with their rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

On numerous occasions HDMS Absalon —in cooperation with coalition forces—prevented pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, and on two specific occasions pirates were detained on board the Danish flagship. Piracy has serious implications on free trade and maritime security as such, and the lack of a legal framework for prosecuting pirates poses challenges. Furthermore, piracy and maritime crime should also be addressed ashore through capacity building and other long-term measures. Long-term solutions depend on the ability of all coastal nations to establish and maintain the necessary degree of maritime security in their own waters. This is why capacity building has to be an essential part of our common effort in furthering world maritime security. As a major seafaring nation, Denmark takes a specific interest in this area, and we are ready to do our part.

On a daily basis, the Royal Danish Navy is engaged in Arctic waters around Greenland, where climate change might have significant geostrategic, environmental, security, and safety implications; in Danish waters, where one of the busiest international chokepoints puts special attention on maritime domain awareness; and, when needed, in trouble spots around the globe, together with our allies and partners.

The navy is thus an important part of an active foreign and security policy, safeguarding our interests from the sea, if necessary by force. It requires a wide range of effective, flexible, deployable, well-equipped, and well-trained capabilities ready to deal with the threats and challenges where they emerge. With the Absalon -class multipurpose ships, our patrol frigates, and incoming high-end frigates as well as other assets, we are on the right track in being even more able to address the challenges, from humanitarian missions over capacity building and constabulary tasks to high-intensity operations.

Colonel Abdourahman Aden Cher

Commandant, Djibouti Navy

Since the opening of the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, with its connection to the Indian Ocean, has become a highly strategic zone because of the influx of commercial vessels that pass through each day. It remains an area of high tension, where different naval powers intersect to establish or maintain their influence.

During the Cold War, the world powers were present at ports in every part of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to protect world trade. Today their influence has grown stronger because of the fight against international terrorism and the growth of piracy in the area.

The Republic of Djibouti holds the most strategic position in the region, and has always been wooed by the great powers that sought to create bases, much like France during the colonial period, but also the United States after 2001. Moreover, the growing interest in protecting commercial fleets led several other European and Asian nations to take an interest in this maritime zone and to make use of Djibouti's harbor infrastructure.

Djibouti has made the most of its strategic position by transforming assets in the service of its economy. It now wishes to become a hub, to serve as a port of entry for trade in Africa in general and more particularly for the countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

In this context, what is the serious threat that our country faces in its maritime security, and what strategy are we adopting to fight it?

The Republic of Djibouti has no ambition to become a maritime power, but is aware of the threats it faces and must adapt its resources to protect those interests.

While the Horn of Africa has over the last three decades been a troubled zone where confrontations have multiplied on land—such as the conflicts between Ethiopia and Somalia, and Ethiopia and Eritrea—the region's maritime zone has been spared such conflict. The events of 9/11, however, and their consequences have transformed our maritime region into a zone in which dangers for ships in transit and international terrorist attacks have become possible. Consider the attack on the USS Cole (DDG-67) in Yemen, for example.

Further, the great increase in piracy in the Gulf of Aden and in Somali territorial waters is another serious threat, which can spread by contagion to our own territorial waters. Also, the frequency of maritime traffic made up in large part by oil tankers brings a risk of pollution, which endangers our very rich marine environment. Moreover, the wealth of marine life encourages unauthorized fishing and represents another serious threat that must be confronted.

Finally, the proliferation of all manner of trafficking (human, drug, and arms, among them) and the smuggling of goods between Yemen and Djibouti require special attention. The Republic of Djibouti is committed to protecting its vital interests, however, which are in large part dependent on maritime trade.

To this end, the main lines of Djibouti's maritime defense strategy can be summarized as: To organize a system of surveillance and permanent watch/lookout including gathering information about maritime activities; to have available active means of defense; and to rely on the cooperation of different national departments and institutions responsible for maritime affairs and on bilateral cooperative agreements.

Fundamental reforms have been instituted over the course of the last decade, and they have the appropriate means to strengthen their ability to act. Thus, in the area of maritime surveillance, in five years a signal network has been put in place covering the extent of territorial waters, financed jointly through the framework of Djiboutian-French cooperation. Moreover, surveillance posts are in place along the entire length of our coastline to reinforce this defense system.

To optimize these systems and make them more effective, a regional program of maritime awareness is being developed by the Djibouti Navy with the cooperation of the U.S. Navy and will be operational at the end of May 2009. This consists of establishing a national center of maritime operation and inspection with regional authority and the installation of a radar system using advanced transmission protocols.

The Navy, through its coast guard, the national gendarmerie, and its maritime brigade, has been strengthened with new naval equipment (patrol boats and high-speed launches) to make possible a permanent presence on the sea. These resources are a product of bilateral cooperation with France, the United States, and Italy and became operational between 2001 and 2008.

With our ports of Djibouti, Doral e TC, and Doral e P e trolier conforming to the norms of international security combined with high quality service, the maritime role of Djibouti, spared until now from danger thanks to the systems of security and defense it has adopted, today represents the safest zone in the region.

Vice Admiral Julio Cesar Ventura Bayonet

Commander-in-Chief, Dominican Republic Navy

The Dominican Republic Navy ( Marina de Guerra ) is a component of the country's armed forces that is responsibile for safeguarding the maritime interests of the nation. About four decades ago our navy operated combatant units including destroyers, frigates, and corvettes, which went out of service because of system obsolescence. Today, we operate only patrol vessels that are limited to coast guard duties.

The most significant maritime threat facing our nation is illegal sea traffic. This violation of our state's maritime sovereignty mainly involves drug and human trafficking.

A significant quantity of drugs transits from South to North America using the Dominican Republic as a bridge, with traffickers using everything from containers to go-fast boats and airplanes. Human trafficking generally occurs on our east coast through the 60 - nautical mile-wide Mona Passage that separates the coast of the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico. The most troubling situation is the possibility that terrorist elements will adopt the tactics and techniques used by these traffickers to smuggle weapons of mass destruction or to commit a terrorist attack that would devastate not only the Dominican Republic but also the Caribbean region.

The Dominican Republic Navy confronts illegal maritime traffic in different ways. At the highest level we have signed bilateral agreements to join efforts with other Caribbean states to combat this illicit traffic. These agreements include exchange of information, but also actions that facilitate the conduct of multinational maritime operations. We have signed agreements with the United States, the Republic of Colombia, and—as a member of the Conference of the Armed Forces of Central America—with Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In addition, Dominican naval units have participated in PANAMAX, TRADEWINS, and UNITAS exercises.

Other important measures include the upgrade of maritime domain awareness capabilities, command and control, and the reorganization of our operational forces.

Our navy has incorporated new technology based on the automatic identification system, as well as secure communication systems. In the near future we will integrate those systems with coastal radars and other sensors to provide a full coastal surveillance system.

With respect to our surface patrol forces, the Dominican Republic Navy has maintained an operative flotilla of 15 patrol vessels for coast guard duties. We have created a new flotilla of nine high-speed interceptors, including four Enduring Friendship boats supplied by the U.S. government. These units operate as a quick-reaction force against high-speed targets.

The most important asset our nation has in facing maritime threats are the highly trained men and women of the Dominican Navy, always ready to defend, protect, and serve the best interests of our country.

Rear Admiral Aland Molestina Malta

Chief of Staff, Ecuadoran Navy

Ecuador's greatest challenge, not only for our Navy, but for the entire country, is definitely the protection of our maritime interests.

As a country that faces the ocean with expectations from that environment, the navy is concerned with its tasks, such as the protection of the Galapagos Islands and keeping the oceans free for commercial use.

We are committed to environmental protection, using our coast guard, Oceanographic Institute, and the subordinate department of aquatic spaces. The Ecuadoran Navy is constantly guarding our sea and rivers, with presence in the Galapagos and scientific investigation in Antarctica.

To do all of this, our coast guard is being enhanced with the acquisition of interceptor boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and is changing its operational concept, to ensure its presence. 

Lieutenant Commander J. J. Fox

Commander, Fiji Navy

For Fiji, the most significant threat would be any attacks on the small economy of our country. In our situation, this would particularly be illegal fishing. This would also be the most significant threat for any of the other small island nations in the Pacific like Fiji. Our nation does not have much in the way of mineral resources or industry and is dependent on fisheries for a large proportion of foreign exchange. There are other threats such as drugs and contraband, but this is of such a low level as to be almost non-existent.

The biggest difficulty that the Fiji Navy faces is adequately policing the large sea area (1.3 million square kilometers) with our current resources. The number of ships, limited aerial surveillance, and budgetary constraints mean that there are large gaps in the coverage of our waters. More than any other tangible threat, this is the most significant issue facing the Fiji Navy.

To address this challenge we have entered into a regional approach, working with our neighbors through area agencies such as the Forum Fisheries Agency. The agency supports projects including the Vessel Monitoring System, which is part of the licensing conditions to fish in the South West Pacific Region. It employs a transponder that updates the positions of all fishing vessels in the region. Work is also being undertaken for the creation of a regional aerial surveillance program also through FFA. In this regard our larger neighbors, Australia and New Zealand, along with France and the United States, have contributed in conducting aerial surveillance

Admiral Pierre-François Forissier

Chief of Staff, French Navy

Today the focus of maritime security is on Somalia and piracy; at the other end of the spectrum, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, a nuclear Iran, and the Middle East crisis are ongoing concerns. Where is, therefore, the most significant threat to our nation?

There is no threat to a nation that is not related to its vulnerabilities. In that case, our dependence on maritime shipping, the consequence of a globalized world where consumption areas are farther away from production areas, on fossil fuels, and on limited but strategic maritime choke points, are to be considered as our main and predictable weaknesses.

Piracy is at first a local problem. Most of its factors are enduring and can persist for centuries. Although it can be very destructive to the local economy, for a long time it has remained a limited and circumscribed risk for maritime shipping. The latest developments, however, have shown a new determination, a sophisticated organization, while frequency and violence have reached a new level, which requires a global response to what has become a significant threat.

Piracy itself should not be considered or overstated as the maritime threat facing our nation. But it has thrust into the limelight a danger posed to the maritime trade in a particular strategic region. Actually, piracy is more a symptom that must be assessed within a wider array of the emerging challenges combining both security matters and geopolitical issues.

Piracy and maritime terrorism should not be confused. Objectives, geographical areas, and tactics are not the same, and no links have yet been established, even though vigilance is required. But they are the two principal aspects of maritime security challenges.

Those challenges encompass a combination of diverse and complex risks—shortages of energy, food and water, radical climate changes, or global pandemics—that could stress an interdependent system and contribute to the chaos of already weakened states. They could produce newly failed states turning into additional havens for pirates or extremists, favorable to new asymmetric conflicts. Piracy—if not eradicated—could result in a number of related maritime disorders taking root and growing and enable criminal organizations to seize partial control of the seas.

Because of this, and aware that piracy cannot be suppressed without a comprehensive approach, France has taken several initiatives that have led to the European Union - led Operation Atalanta. Its main purpose is to send a strong signal to both the maritime shipping community and pirates. Under this initiative, navies fulfill their traditional role even if the international environment, and especially its legal aspects, have significantly changed.

The French Navy had anticipated the problem by installing a national naval voluntary control system in the northern Indian Ocean. Another of our goals is also to help coastal states fulfill their responsibilities in enforcing the law of the sea.

We are aware that our mission is less about fighting this enemy—interventions ashore are already considered as the only solution, but they are difficult to implement and present a high probability of adding more disturbances to an already dramatic situation—than deterring its action by our presence. Furthermore, even if we don't have the resources for a permanent escort, we can concentrate our protection on the most vulnerable ships, as implemented with those of the World Food Program.

The implication of all navies in fighting piracy and the ensuing developments leading to important changes in international and domestic rules is a major first step toward the full-range cooperation— i nternational/regional and military/interagency—for maritime security that navies have requested for many years. 

Vice Admiral Wolfgang E. Nolting

Chief of the German Navy Staff

Ninety percent of European foreign trade and even 40 percent of the trade among the 27 European Union countries is conducted by sea. Germany, with approximately 380 shipping companies operating 3,100 merchant ships, has the world ' s third-largest merchant fleet. This includes 1,400 container ships with 36 percent of the worldwide tonnage.

Germany's security will increasingly be affected by international terrorism, organized crime, piracy, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their means of delivery, as well as the consequences of traditional military regional crises and conflicts worldwide. Although Germany has so far been spared from terrorist attacks from the sea, a variety of international and national traffic routes and critical maritime infrastructure exist, which could become targets. The list of national inshore vulnerabilities includes the Kiel Canal, the often narrow approaches to our ports, as well as installations near the coast and the growing network of pipelines on the seabed.

Traditionally, navies are focused and well prepared to counter military security threats. To counter the new types of threats, navies not only need special means and training, they need information, partners, networks, and legal authorization that differs fundamentally from those that are required in full-scale wars between nation-state navies. The German Navy has therefore adopted a two-way approach: on the one hand, we are to intensify combined and multinational cooperation with our international partners. On the other, we need to find solutions for better coordination at the national level between respective German federal agencies and the agencies of the federal states.

Currently, the German Navy contributes to various international operations. To counter the terrorist threat, we are continuously engaged in Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean and Operation Enduring Freedom in the area around the Horn of Africa. Furthermore, the German Navy is sailing under the EU flag in Operation Atalanta, which is primarily to protect humanitarian shipping and trade against piracy. The fourth operation with permanent German participation is UNIFIL, which is not only aimed at the terrorist threat but is to support the stabilization of Lebanon. By preventing the misuse of the sea for arms smuggling and through training as well as equipping of local maritime forces, UNIFIL aims at enabling the local authorities to reduce regional threats at sea and ashore.

In sum, I consider the 21st century to be a maritime century. Increasing energy flows, exchange of raw materials and goods, and therefore the growing need for transport will lead to a growing dependency on the safe and lawful use of our global maritime commons. The threats arising from these dependencies can neither be dealt with by a single agency nor a single nation. Thus the German Navy is already contributing to multinational operations, regional information-sharing networks, and an enhanced cooperation with other national agencies. The resulting beneficial interdependencies require further adjustments of our organizational and legal framework. Once realized, they will have an impact on our traditional competencies and therefore force us to considerably change our operational and procedural way of acting for which we need to be prepared well in advance.

Vice Admiral Georgios Karamalikis

Commander-in-Chief, Hellenic Navy

The Hellenic Navy's primary mission is the deterrence of any military threat and, if that fails, contribution to the Hellenic armed forces' effort to safeguard Greece's territorial integrity. Apart from the purely national defense obligations, the Hellenic Navy contributes as fully as possible to allied, European Union, and international efforts to fulfill our nation's commitments as a dedicated ally and member of NATO, the EU, the UN, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Subsequently, the challenges that confront us may be placed in two broad categories: traditional (conventional) threats, and those that have emerged during the last two decades, mainly a result of the rapidly changing security environment that forces us to deal with piracy, international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the like.

I would like to focus on the contemporary and significant threat that piracy constitutes in relation to the magnitude and importance of the Hellenic merchant fleet. To cope with the threat, the Hellenic Navy actively contributes to allied and EU antipiracy missions and operations. Specifically, a Hellenic Navy frigate was among the ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 operating around the Horn of Africa and in the Arabian Sea, responding to piracy acts by escorting merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid to Somalia. We are also actively involved in the EU's Operation Atalanta in the same region with not only a frigate and personnel assigned to the operational and forward headquarters and logistics site, but also by providing the force commander for the initial four months of the operation.

Notwithstanding our constant commitment to and support of international efforts, such as NATO's antiterrorism Operation Active Endeavour, the primary maritime security challenge that Greece faces is the necessity to deter and confront any potential aggressor against the security and territorial integrity of our country. In response to these challenges, the Hellenic Navy has embarked on a continual effort to improve its operational performance, having undertaken action in a number of areas.

We have acquired newly constructed vessels, equipped with state-of-the-art technology, capable of complying with rapid changes in contemporary operational requirements. We are updating existing naval units with a midlife modernization program, which enhances their operational capabilities. And we are purchasing upgraded versions of existing weapon systems to increase their effectiveness, precision, and reliability.

Greece is further developing its surveillance system with upgraded information networks and transforming its command, control, and communication structure to be more agile, flexible, and responsive. And we are improving naval education and training to provide our personnel with sufficient knowledge and background at tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

Last but not least, because Hellenic Navy personnel are our most significant asset and the booster of all our efforts, improvement of their well-being is one of our major concerns.

Admiral Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno

Chief of Staff, Indonesian Navy

Indonesia is an archipelagic nation wedged between the continents of Asia and Australia and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with two-thirds of our nation's territory water. Indonesia is at the crossroads of sea routes that have made our waters among the most important transportation lanes in the world. More than 100,000 vessels are estimated to pass through our territorial waters each year, with the straits of Malacca, Sunda, Lombok, and Ombai handling the most traffic.

This situation poses significant threats in the form of territorial violations, forceful actions, and navigational transgressions. The major violations are those against territorial law and include: fishing, smuggling of illegal logs, immigration, drug trafficking, exploration and exploitation of natural resources, weapon smuggling, polluting the ecosystem and sea environment, and disposing toxic waste. Next in significance are criminal violations such as robbery and hijacking of ships at sea. Third among violations are those relating to navigation.

To deal with these threats and dangers, the Indonesian government designated government offices to act under the coordinating leadership of the Bakorkamla ( Badan Koordinasi Keamanan Laut ), or the Indonesian Maritime Security Coordinating Board. The offices include the Indonesian Navy, the National Police, the Ministry of Transportation, the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, the Directorate General of Immigration, the Ministry of Forestry, and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. The board is directly responsible to the president for the execution of its duties and assignments.

The Indonesian Navy is required by law to perform those duties and assignments of the Armed Forces, as related to the Naval Forces; uphold the law and safeguard the territorial waters of the nation's jurisdiction in accordance with the domestic and international laws as ratified and in force; perform naval diplomacy tasks as assigned to the Navy in support of the nation's foreign policy that has been established by the government; perform those assignments and duties of the Armed Forces related to building and developing the naval forces; and perform the empowerment of the sea defense area.

To those ends, the Indonesian Navy is conducting routine patrols on the seas and waters within the national jurisdiction of Indonesia and jointly coordinating sea patrols with its neighboring countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. It is also coordinating with other offices and departments within the Bakorkamla , sharing intelligence information with nations bordering its national sea territories, and working with other friendly and allied countries, including the United States, in building the Integrated Maritime Surveillance System.

In principle, Indonesia offers an opportunity to all those nations using the sea lanes within the entire jurisdictional waters of Indonesia to cooperate and work together for our mutual benefit.

Admiral Paolo La Rosa

Chief of the Italian Navy General Staff

The Italian Navy is a frontline maritime force operating a wide range of maritime security activities. Our primary focus is the Wider Mediterranean, a geopolitical concept centered on the Mediterranean and Black Sea region. It is enlarged both westward and eastward, respective to the Atlantic approaches of North Africa, down to the Gulf of Guinea, and to the western portion of the Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, and Persian Gulf. This is a crucial area for world trade and European Union economies, crossed by important oil and gas pipelines, at the intersection of the main sea line of communication connecting Asia and Europe.

The relevance of the Wider Mediterranean is fostered by the presence of five strategic chokepoints—Gibraltar, Bosphorus, Suez, Bab-el-Mandeb, and Hormuz—and by hot spots for global stability and peace such as the Gaza Strip. This is a typical littoral environment perfectly suited for peace operations from the sea. In this complex scenario, the Italian Navy is constantly facing various illegalities and countering threats to maritime security.

Among them, piracy is today identified as the most significant to Italy, with its maritime cluster contributing around 3 percent to the GDP and €400 billion worth of import-export flowing by sea. Indeed, the Italian economy is heavily dependent on maritime trade and on its merchant fleet—the world's 14th largest—exposed to this resurging criminal activity off Somalia, in the Gulf of Guinea, and in Southeast Asia.

Modern pirates show increased operational capabilities, especially with their ability to conduct attacks more than 400 miles off the coast and for their adoption of low-cost technologies and arms, including global positioning devices, night-vision goggles, machine guns, and rockets. Combined with their potential association with criminal organizations, this situation requires an international cooperative effort that the Italian Navy is currently addressing within both NATO and the EU.

Our destroyer ITS Durand de la Penne recently operated as flagship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, deployed in Operation Allied Provider for the protection of maritime traffic around the Horn of Africa. Several pirate attacks were countered or deterred, and numerous merchant ships were escorted for the safe delivery of nearly 30,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Somalia.

The Italian Navy's NATO commitments for maritime security also encompass Operation Active Endeavour, mainly focused on counterterrorism in the maritime environment. In the EU framework, an Italian frigate is about to join EUNAVFOR, the maritime task group conducting the antipiracy Operation Atalanta around the Horn of Africa.

At the national level, besides providing coast guard training and technical assistance to countries in critical areas, such as Yemen, we conduct MEDAL, an annual cooperation and anti-piracy campaign normally run along the Arabian peninsula, with particular focus on the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin, where more than 75 percent of the 200 worldwide-reported pirate attacks occurred in 2008.

To support this effort, the Italian Navy experimented with the tactical use of the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center, an Internet-based network employed by 29 navies to monitor merchant traffic, and today spawning trans-regional applications in a Global Maritime Trusted Information Network. Indeed, information dominance, coupled with significant presence of naval assets at sea, are fundamental to improving maritime security, as agreed by the heads of 37 navies and international organizations during the 2008 Regional Seapower Symposium in Venice.

In line with my strategic vision, epitomized by "acting nationally, focusing regionally, envisioning globally," the Italian Navy is today involved in an intense interagency and cooperative effort to defend our national interests and to support the international community. To execute our strategy we focus on the Wider Mediterranean, ready to project our action, from regional to global, through interaction with pertinent international organizations and the maritime community, thereby affirming our navy's central role in maritime security.

Admiral Keiji Akahoshi

Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

Japan, a maritime nation completely surrounded by the sea, has the world's third-longest coastline and the sixth-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We rely on the seas for many of our economic activities. Energy resources, provisions, and industrial products essential to our survival and prosperity are brought through the sea lines of communication (SLOCs), which connect to the rest of the world. Japan, therefore, has great interest in the security and safety of major routes, such as the energy line from the Middle East, and the stable use of maritime resources in the EEZ. The major threats to these interests are ambiguity and rapidity of naval build-up by other coastal nations in the region, maritime terrorism and piracy, and natural disasters, such as tsunamis and typhoons.

In light of these challenges, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) places special emphasis on cooperation activities. Freedom of the seas, stable use of SLOCs, and the development of undersea resources and fisheries must be ensured during peacetime. The JMSDF has endeavored to maintain freedom of the seas through a series of individual efforts and cooperative maritime activities, such as surveillance of surrounding waters, bilateral exercises with the U.S. Navy, defense exchanges and multilateral exercises with other like-minded nations, and active participation in multilateral cooperation activities for maritime security.

In addition, to contribute to the stability of the international security environment and efforts against transnational challenges, the JMSDF has provided assets to humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief operations, proliferation security initiative exercises, and replenishment support in the Indian Ocean for antiterrorism activities over the past eight years. In fact, as of last August, 14 JMSDF capital ships were engaged in these overseas activities.

Therefore, the key word to address 21st-century challenges to maritime security is "cooperation." In the wave of globalization, it is essential for sea services around the world to actively engage with each other against threats to maritime security. Sea services, by their very nature, can easily adapt to multinational-cooperation and mission-sharing activities. The Western Pacific Naval Symposium is but one example of effort in this direction. As Japan desires to occupy an honorable place in international society, the JMSDF intends to continue its contributions to international maritime security through cooperative peace-time activities with the U.S. Navy and other regional sea services.

Major General Dari Al Zaben

Commander, Royal Jordanian Naval Force

Jordan, a country at the crossroads of the three continents of the ancient world, plays a pivotal role in international peace and security. The Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) contribute greatly to peacekeeping operations all around the globe and are strongly committed to any measures adopted by the international community to enhance world peace and ease the suffering of those people unfortunate enough to be caught in the middle of conflicts.

The Gulf of Aqaba and the North Red Sea are of great importance to Jordan both economically and militarily, because without Aqaba, Jordan would be landlocked. The Royal Jordanian Naval Force (RJNF) is tasked with keeping the gulf trouble free and safeguarding the political and economic interests of Jordan within this turbulent region. Elements pertaining to security in the maritime realm within the gulf are placed in the hands of the RJNF and are the centerpiece of its overall naval doctrine.

The security challenges faced in the Middle East region are massive and very dynamic, and thus our armed forces in general and our navy in particular must have a flexible doctrine and develop sound policy and strategies as well as being well-equipped and ready to face such challenges.

Maritime security is a complex subject involving many military and non-military issues ranging from nation-to-nation naval threats to environmental issues.

The hard non-military issues of terrorism, piracy, and arms trafficking are most common in the Middle East region. Current trends in transnational and national terrorism have suggested that non-state actors pose a serious threat to maritime security in the region as well as everywhere in the world. It is believed that international terrorism is funded by narcotics, which are often shipped by sea, accounting for the profound relationship that exists between the two crimes.

In the Royal Jordanian Navy, we have implemented a variety of measures to counter these threats, which is part of the overall JAF strategy. Within the territorial waters of Jordan, a daily 24-hour patrol is carried out, and fast-response teams are employed to conduct maritime interdiction operations with great precision and professionalism. Further measures include 24-hour observation posts outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained personnel all along the coast, as well as coastal stations with fast-response teams.

The success rate for our efforts to keep the gulf unsoiled with terrorism and arms and drug trafficking is impressive. This is because of the hard work by our officers and sailors who pledge to keep our waterways clear and our sea lines of communication open for international navigation and the flow of goods and commerce in and out of our country.

Information sharing and cooperation with regional navies and allies are important factors in limiting maritime threats. The Jordanian Royal Navy is a member of the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center in Rome. This leads to harmonizing our efforts with other navies to counteract the common enemies of today. After all, no single navy can carry out such tasks alone.

Captain Aleksandrs Pavlovics

Commander-in-Chief, Latvian Naval Forces

There have been three phases in the development of Latvian Naval Forces since 1992.

The first, from 1992 to 1998, saw the establishment of the Latvian Navy with great support from Western European nations. The navy had to be built from scratch. The clear aim and objective was to establish the Latvian Naval Forces as part of the country's national security system.

The second phase, from 1998 to 2004, was directed to improve the quality of assets and procedures within the navy to prove our ability to participate in almost all NATO Partnership for Peace exercises in the Baltic region. Latvia's defense strategy was based on territorial defense principles, which provided a clear understanding of required capabilities and composition of forces.

Since 2004 we've begun a transformation of the Latvian Naval Forces, which is our real challenge. The territorial-defense strategy was replaced by collective-defense principles. Participation by Latvian naval units in NATO-led activities is the highest priority as a duty of NATO partnership and part of our collective defense. With defense budgets cut for almost all NATO members, the impact of the global financial crisis will affect in some manner these defense capabilities. Latvia's geographical environment precludes the use of large assets, which means a focus on specific planning and tactics to meet our national defense policy, strategy, and operational requirements.

With our navy focused on littoral warfare capabilities, we will be able to provide significant flexibility with our assets and command structure

 

 
 

Conferences and Events

2014 U.S. Naval Institute History Conference

Wed, 2014-10-01

The 2014 Naval History Conference is hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute and the U.S. Naval Academywith support from The William M...

Defense Forum Washington 2014

Newseum - Knight Conference Center

2015 WEST Conference

View All

From the Press

Meet the Author & Book Signing

Sat, 2014-08-30

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 135 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership