The world economic crisis has had an impact on virtually everyone. Proceedings asked the commanders of the world's navies: The global economic downturn is obviously affecting the United States and its Navy. How is it affecting your navy's maritime strategy, operation, and force structure?
Vice Admiral Georgios Karamalikis—Hellenic Navy
It is an indisputable fact that economic recessions always affect societies and states in profound ways. As an economy shrinks and social demands multiply, reduced state funding seeks to stimulate activities and services that will once again put the economy back on track. In that context, the Hellenic Navy (HN) has thoroughly re-evaluated its 2010 budget structure by revisiting priorities and reallocating funds in the spirit of minimizing consumer expenditures and thus support vital programs concerning personnel and maintenance. With the current contracted public spending, the Hellenic Navy has decided not to deviate from its maritime strategy regarding challenges in the national and international domains while maintaining a high level of operational readiness, and continue with all major procurement programs already in progress. At the same time, cost cuts in administrative expenses are in place, while there is a systematic endeavor to reduce maintenance costs by making the best use of its navy yards' work force and capabilities.
The Hellenic Navy has no alternative but to continue addressing challenges to national and allied interests. In that context, homeland force deployments are expected to retain their present status, while our commitments to NATO operations, standing naval forces, and European Union (EU) missions will be fully satisfied.
Subsequently, the Hellenic Navy will continue to support antipiracy operations off the Horn of Africa, both in the context of NATO and EU operations. Additionally, the participating Hellenic forces will continue to provide support to the UN's World Food Program in Somalia, which is highly appreciated for its humanitarian efforts. The HN will also continue to support allied antiterrorism operations in the Mediterranean through Operation Active Endeavour and UNIFIL. In the operational training field, our navy will continue to work on realizing its vision of making the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center in Souda Bay, Crete, a recognized expert on all issues related to maritime interdiction. The center will continue to pursue operational proficiency of its trainees, encouraging the participation of not only allied navies, but also those from Partnership for Peace, Mediterranean Dialogue, and Istanbul Cooperative Initiative nations.
Finally, planning and implementation of the Hellenic Navy's force structure has been based on internationally recognized variables, such as current and emerging threats and the operational environment, which all seem unaffected by the economic downturn. In that context, the HN will continue seeking the realization of all procurement programs, which are deemed necessary to strengthen our navy's capabilities.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Click on the "Google Translate" button under the photo box and choose the language into which you would like the section translated.