With shortfalls facing the U.S. Navy and sea services across the globe, all will need to find ways of making do with less. One way to do so is by to partnering and cooperating with friendly and allied navies. Rear Admiral Michael E. Smith, Director, Strategy and Policy Division, N51, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, sees many advantages to this. In fact, strategic cooperation, he says, may be the salvation of those navies that face dire budget consequences in the near future. By improving information sharing and avoiding duplication of effort, the savings in time and cost to each of them could be substantial.
One area in which navies have cooperated successfully in the past (and can do so in the future) is counterpiracy. Piracy seems to have been put on the news media’s back burner of late, but Dr. Martin N. Murphy reminds us it has not gone away—and in fact is thriving anew on the western side of Africa. Oil-rich Nigeria—where corruption and criminal enterprises also are abundant—is like a “leaking wound,” he warns: Spreading tumult there threatens stability in the Gulf of Guinea—an area attracting increased attention from the United States, Russia, and China, among others.
As part of this issue’s international coverage, we take a closer look at the latest developments in the world’s navies. Long-time friend of the Naval Institute, retired Royal Australian Navy Rear Admiral James Goldrick, a keen watcher and analyst of maritime affairs in south Asia, follows the twists and turns of India’s quest for expeditionary capability and concludes that if the military budgetary stars align for funding that county’s amphibious force, in the future it could be a formidable one, indeed.
And as he does every March, Eric Wertheim offers his thorough and illuminating roundup of navies large and small. This year brings a particularly special edition of Eric’s always-anticipated article, for it heralds the arrival later this spring of the 16th edition of the Naval Institute Press’s Combat Fleets of the World, of which he is the editor. It’s an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the maritime domain. Reserve your copy now!
Finally, in the tangled jungle of lingering economic woes, we can’t afford to lose sight of the timeless essentials of warfare. The global hot spots where tomorrow’s potential conflicts could arise offer a variety of challenges, requiring flexibility and versatility on the Navy’s part. In no operational aspect is that need for flexibility more axiomatic than in the all-important realm of logistics. Although it is sometimes lost amid debates over shiny new weapon systems and capabilities, Navy Captain David C. Meyers reminds us that “warfighting and logistics are inexorably linked. Focusing on one at the expense of the other is a fool’s gamble.”