We also welcome the leaders of the world's navies to the pages of Proceedings once again to answer a question put to them by our staff. This year we wanted to know, "How has the global economic downturn affected your navy's strategy, operations, and force structure?" Among the responses we received were some first-time contributors such as Benin, Madagascar, and Malta.
This is a very complex exercise that starts long before we edit any copy. Letters go out to embassies and naval headquarters in the fall and responses trickle in over many months, often far past our stated target date, sometimes all the way to mere days before our deadline. It's not always easy to edit some of these responses with a short turnaround time, especially if English is the author's second language. The man responsible for this unenviable task every year is our senior editor Jim Caiella. We couldn't make this happen without his patience and cool professionalism in dealing with a host of bureaucracies spanning the globe. Bravo Zulu Jim!
While the CNOs' responses provide a glimpse into their worlds, it's easy for us to forget that Proceedings offers them a window into ours as well. In the crush of daily events, with two ongoing wars, a new QDR, debates over shipbuilding, and arguments over counterinsurgency vs. conventional warfare training, we run the risk of doing too much navel gazing (no pun intended) while not realizing that these issues can be as important to others around the world as they are to us. This was brought home to me in a letter I received from one of the CNOs along with his response. It read, in part, "I also take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation of your esteemed monthly which continues to . . . keep us informed of global news and events." I don't include this to blow our own horn at Proceedings but merely to illustrate the point that other nations, allies and potential rivals alike, are very interested in what you think, read, and write.
Our international coverage also includes Eric Wertheim's annual roundup of the latest developments in the world's navies. This is another time-intensive exercise but for Eric, the editor of Combat Fleets of the World , it's a labor of love.
Finally, in "Atalanta Rising," Lieutenant Commander Matthew M. Frick tells us about a new kid on the naval block: the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR). The force has deployed a number of vessels to the Horn of Africa over the past year to conduct anti-piracy patrols. The author explains that many nations that are members of both the European Union and NATO are choosing to devote their resources to EUNAVFOR operations. What effect this might have on future NATO missions, and on U.S. strategic planning, remains to be seen.