For the Republic of Angola, the sea assumes a fundamental importance as the activities carried out there are the backbone of the entire economy. It is in the sea that the greater part of energy resources are being exploited (more than 50 percent of the gross national product), and it is by sea that more than 90 percent of external commerce takes place.
But the sea also has been and continues to be the means for conflict, for actions of oppression, drug trafficking, illegal immigration, smuggling, and other illegal actions that can represent risk to national security.
In the international environment, resources—especially energy—are ever more scarce and coveted. So-called new threats are emerging, particularly in the area of transnational and environmental crimes and international terrorism, which is being carried out in increasingly sophisticated forms with weapon systems becoming more accessible and proliferating in more sophisticated forms. It is apparent that threats either coming from the sea or being directed at it are growing.
Accordingly, the need for reflection of a strategic nature on these facts becomes more pressing. Under the 1982 Jamaica Convention, international navigation in the EEZ is unrestricted, a provision that makes possible the operation of foreign naval forces in areas adjacent to oil-drilling platforms, fishing activities, and so on. Merchant ships, oil rigs, and other marine structures are especially vulnerable to terrorist acts.
In our judgment, no state is viable which cannot protect and defend its seafaring interests, safeguard human life, and protect the marine environment.
There is no discernable option other than the creation of a potential deterrent—the navy—however modest, but adequately equipped and trained so as to prevent crises in the maritime theater, the costs of which would be incommensurably higher than such an investment.
When certain voices are raised against this investment in the navy, alleging it to be onerous, we put the question this way: What is the price of resources squandered because of the inability to exercise control over them? What would be the price of a crisis that brought about the collapse of maritime economic activities or that rendered their exercise unfeasible?
Vice Admiral R. E. Shalders
Chief of Navy, Australia
That such a question needs to be canvassed in this forum goes straight to the heart of an issue which has long been of concern. For too long, navies have been known as the silent service. Our activities take place largely out of the public eye and many of the effects generated, although powerful, are cumulative over a long period of time. Naval operations rarely have the big-bang effect that makes them newsworthy, and consequently many of the ongoing tasks of a navy are not well understood by the public. In Australia, the Sea Power Centre ( www.navy.gov.au/spc  ), part of my headquarters, has been established to help rectify this lack of public awareness by providing commentary, research, and advice on naval affairs for government, academic, media, and public audiences. We are making progress, but much more needs to be done.
To respond to the specifics of this year's question, I've taken a three-pronged view:
Geography means that any significant deployment of the Australian Defence Force will require use of the sea. As is the case with all other navies, the Royal Australian Navy is ideally placed to respond quickly and decisively. Ships can deploy and operate without any other nation's approval and have the reach, poise, and persistence to operate independently wherever they are needed. They have the flexibility and adaptability to swing quickly across the full spectrum of operations from diplomatic and constabulary support through to high-end combat. This versatility and capability provides a sound return on investment for our civilian stakeholders.
As an island, Australia's economic prosperity and security is intimately linked to the sea. We are a trading nation and must work with other nations to keep global trade moving and promote good order at sea; an issue not just for Australia, but also for the entire world community. Protection of the movement of goods across the oceans can be done more effectively by navies. If the basis of 21st-century economic development—globalized industrial economic activity—is to be sustained, then naval forces are essential to the task.
Political, social, and economic changes since the end of the Cold War have generated additional security threats that are more complex, more unpredictable, and which can emerge with little warning. The global balance of power is changing, and nowhere more so than in the Asia-Pacific region where there are a number of potential flashpoints—all significantly maritime in nature. We must work to avoid such conflicts, but equally be ready to respond if necessary. Navies are vital should conflict erupt, but are equally as useful in diplomacy, international engagement, resource and trade protection, and for humanitarian operations and disaster relief. They are unique instruments of government policy, and they provide return on equity for our shareholders.
We just need to ensure our citizens have a better understanding of the cost/benefit equation.
Vice Admiral Sarwar Jahan Nizam
Chief of the Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy
The conventional and ancient concept of national security tends to concentrate on external military threats, mainly territorial in nature, and fails to capture the large variety of security concerns faced by nations specially endowed with a maritime geography. Many facets of national security of the developing countries, mainly socio-economic and ecological in nature, emanate from maritime fronts.
Bangladesh is an Indian Ocean littoral state washed by the Bay of Bengal on its 700-km-long southern shores. As a maritime nation, it is heavily dependent on the sea for international trade and commerce, sea resources in the form of fish and rare marine life, and valuable minerals including offshore oil and gas reserves. With an increasing burden of population and consequent pressure on the land resources, the sea is going to assume far greater importance in the near future. In fact our EEZ in the Bay of Bengal, vibrant with economic and marine activities, is about equal to our land area.
The great common on which about 90 percent of our international trade flows is our principal gateway to the world communities except India and Myanmar. Some 165 ships, including Bangladesh-flag vessels, arrive monthly in the ports of Chittagong and Mongla. Marine and inland fisheries provide 12- to 13-million jobs and contribute about 5 percent of our total export earnings. In the internal water routes, watercraft move almost double the cargoes carried by road and railway combined. Out of 21 gas/oil exploration blocks, ten are either at sea or have coastal extensions. With the discovery of gas and oil resources in our country and in the offshore area a bright prospect of economic progress looms large on our horizon. Together, these describe high economic potentials for maritime, littoral, and riverine Bangladesh. A halt in these activities, whether in peace or war, is likely to strangle Bangladesh economically. Thus, given our geography, the need for a capable navy to respond to the diverse maritime threats of both a conventional and non-conventional nature can only be ignored at our peril.
As with many other maritime states around the globe, we are increasingly faced with threats, which are mainly non-military and transnational in nature. In addition a growing trend in terrorism worldwide has raised concern and turned the attention of the international community to the maritime regime. Although for Bangladesh there had been no report of maritime terrorism in the past, to be prepared is the order of the day; we cannot afford to be complacent. Our navy is the key ingredient in the national drive for maritime security and consequent partner of national progress and prosperity.
The Bangladesh Navy had been actively pursuing peacetime roles for the last 36 years to make our water safe for authorized users. It had been in the forefront with our sister services in disaster-relief operations and in aid to civil power earning accolades from the local and international community. By participating in UN peacekeeping operations with men, material, and naval craft, we are contributing greatly to the causes of the international peace and security.
As the Bangladesh economy grows, so will the nation's maritime interests expand and the need for their security. It is in our national interest that within the resource constraints the Bangladesh Navy be developed in a balanced manner.
Rear Admiral Jean-Paul Robyns
Commander of the Belgian Naval Component
In 2008 the Belgian Navy will continue its transformation that started last year. To bolster our escort capability, the first multipurpose frigate, Leopold I , arrived in April 2007 and started its work-up period, followed by a maiden trip to East Africa. The second ship, the Louise-Marie , follows in April this year. She will be fitted for the NH90 helicopter. The primary mission for these ships will be maritime security operations, with the Leopold scheduled for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon in the second half of 2008.
Belgium led the Mine Countermeasures Group 1 with BNS Godetia as staff vessel, and the Belgian-Netherlands Minewarfare School became a center of excellence. The minehunters capability upgrade is in full progress and will be finished by the beginning of 2009. All vessels will be fitted with a new command and control system, propelled variable-depth sonar, and the SeaFox mine disposal system. Godetia has undergone a major refit and will continue as mine countermeasures support command ship until replacement in 2015. The navy acquired the Remus system to improve our very-shallow capacity. The system will be at full operational capability in 2008 and, after evaluation, be followed by others.
The three older ready-duty ships serving coast guard functions will be retired and replaced by new patrol vessels. In November 2007 we opened the Maritime Information Centre at the naval base in Zeebruges. This inter-agency center, where naval personnel work together with the customs service and police, deals with maritime security and illegal practices at sea, such as narcotics and weapon traffic, illegal immigration, terrorism and piracy. It will closely liaise with the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre. That center is linked to the Maritime Component Command headquarters at Northwood, UK, and is making efficient working arrangements with the coast guard centers of our neighbors.
This year we will be deepening and expanding our Admiral BeNeLux agreement. Since the acquisition of the M-class frigates and the modernization of our minehunters together with those of the Dutch Navy, we have signed a bi-national technical agreement that will allow both countries to gain efficiency and ease training in our bi-national schools.
Transformation, as we all know, is a demanding job for the personnel. But the first low-hanging fruits are ready to be picked, and one more year of effort will result in a Belgian Navy ready to meet the challenges of the future.
Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto
Commandant of the Brazilian Navy
The history of Brazil since its discovery by Europeans in 1500 clearly demonstrates the relevance of the sea to our development. The interest awakened by Brazil's riches led the French and the Dutch to invade the nation by sea. Battles that consolidated our independence and maintained our territorial integrity were also waged by sea. Brazilian naval units participated in the two World Wars, ensuring the security of sea-lanes and rivers of interest to Brazil and the Allies. Moreover, given Brazil's geographic position in the South Atlantic, the size of its coastline and of its river basins, as well as its dependence on maritime communication lines and resources located in waters under Brazil's jurisdiction, it is not hard to conclude that Brazil should be strong on the seas.
Although admittedly there is at present a low probability of a traditional military conflict involving Brazil, the reality is that a political-strategic crisis, or even the carrying out of what are today known as new threats, can arise unexpectedly. We must, therefore, stay prepared because the defensive capabilities of a country, essential for its survival, do not come about all at once. It is therefore critical that the naval power resources are of sufficient scale and fully ready, inspiring confidence that it is able to deter any threat.
Recently, with the objective of making the public more aware of its duties, the Brazilian Navy redefined its vision for the future and its mission, conscious of the fact that activities pursued by the naval forces take place far from the eyes of its citizens. Accordingly, we have highlighted in our dialogue with the public those activities we carry out near the coast in addition to our obligations on the high seas. Concomitantly, we have decentralized public relations functions for the commands of naval districts, placing emphasis on the importance of carrying out interviews with the press; of offering lectures in schools, centers of higher education, and research institutions; of keeping the federal and state legislatures informed; and of establishing partnerships with defense industries and business organizations. Through these words and actions, the Brazilian Navy seeks to stay in touch with the Brazilian public and, consequently, make it aware that possessing a navy adapted to national interests and fit to defend national sovereignty in the South Atlantic—theater of priority to the Brazilian naval power—is well worth the cost.
Vice Admiral Minko Slavov Kavaldzhiev
Commander-in-Chief Bulgarian Navy
Over the past few years the Bulgarian Navy has strived to improve the international prestige of our country and to prove its role as a reliable partner. These efforts are implemented in practice through participation in multinational missions and operations essential for maritime security, maintaining a high level of inter-agency cooperation in providing the maritime sovereignty of the country as well as participation in search and rescue operations, safety of life at sea, etc. The navy's leadership has been successful so far in convincing the government and society of the need to have a navy and allocate adequate funds in order to maintain and renovate it.
Since the conscript service was terminated under the ongoing modernization process, the Navy has demonstrated a high level of professionalism and proficiency during NATO-led operations and UN missions, thus gaining undeniable prestige. Keeping the government continuously informed of the participation in such missions, as well as of the results of different maritime and naval meetings, further strengthens the navy's position within the state.
With the onset of democratic change in Bulgaria, cooperation between the navy and the state and local authorities has been constantly improving. In addition, the navy has a strongly felt presence and participation in various social events, thus becoming an essential part of the life and tradition of naval garrisons.
The most substantial argument for our navy is the growing strategic importance of the Black Sea region as an eastern border of the European Union and a link to the Caspian region and Asia. The navy has become an important factor for improvement of the national and regional maritime security through fighting terrorism and illegal trafficking of people, goods, and weapons of mass destruction.
The Bulgarian Navy has operational capabilities that support the national economy, provide for search and rescue operations, and protect the national maritime spaces and EEZ, both by its own means and through active interagency cooperation with state institutions and non-governmental organizations.
The process of adequate renovation and modernization of the navy goes hand in hand with the withdrawal of obsolete equipment, allocation of substantial short-term financial resources, and strong political will.
To realize its role in achieving the national potential, efforts have been taken to satisfy its needs while seeking compromise in challenges. Our naval forces' recent participation in multinational operations under the auspices of NATO and the UN has made for less skepticism in governmental and public circles about the navy's cost. The results of the changed attitude are the finalization of plans for launching a national shipbuilding program, acquisition of new helicopters, upgrading of communication equipment, acquisition of a maritime domain awareness system—in a long-term project—and the forthcoming 2008 delivery of NATO-interoperable ships.
I would like to underline that defending the prestige and defining the need for the Bulgarian Navy's existence is not only a matter of responsibility of the navy's leadership, it is a team effort of all service men and women.
Vice Admiral Drew Robertson
Chief of the Maritime Staff, Canadian Navy
In a period during which Afghanistan and Iraq have tended naturally to dominate public discourse of defense and security issues in Canada and the United States respectively, it can be a challenge to make the case for investment in naval forces. Not that it has ever been easy, as seapower is as much about preventing conflict as prevailing in combat. Nonetheless, I find that there are a number of messages that resonate strongly with Canadians' concerns for their economic well-being, their strong sense of national identity, and their desire to play a leading role in the wider world.
Ensuring the security of the world's oceans is navy business because maritime security is vital to Canadians' way of life. This message has a visible impact with every audience with whom I have met. It takes little more than to ask them to consider the tremendous variety of goods from around the world Canadians enjoy as consumers. Most are genuinely surprised to learn that 90 percent of global commerce travels by sea, just as they are disquieted by how vulnerable this commerce is to potential disruption, whether by acts of lawlessness or through the actions of states whose interests do not align with our own. At the same time, they are sobered by the challenges we share in securing the approaches to North America. When it is demonstrated to Canadians that their economic prosperity depends so clearly on a stable maritime order, they accept readily that maritime security is important navy business, both at home and abroad.
We are the nation's custodians of sovereignty at sea. Canadians have always identified strongly with their geography, as much for its immense grandeur and sheer beauty as for the unique challenges it has posed. It is natural that these national sentiments have come to encompass our maritime estate, with Canada's emergence as one of the world's great coastal states. In this regard, the constabulary functions we fulfill are of singular importance to Canadians. This permits me, on the one hand, to claim legitimately that we act as the nation's custodians of sovereignty at sea; I am careful to remind them, on the other hand, that this custodianship resides in our ability to control events at sea, through the actual or latent use of force.
A navy provides returns on investment over decades of service. Canadian lawmakers traditionally have been disposed toward early collective action in the face of aggression, but the relatively high capital cost of maritime forces can be daunting to those responsible for so many other public priorities. For the latter, I have found it very useful to describe the history of our Iroquois-class destroyers. Conceived and approved in the 1960s, these fine ships will enter their fifth decade of service before they are eventually retired. Their designers neither could have foreseen how the international security environment would unfold, nor how these ships would be employed over subsequent decades. But they built the ships exceptionally well, and the class has provided to governments ever since a broad range of options in furthering Canadian policy objectives, including the capacity to exercise international leadership at sea.
Admiral Rodolfo Codina
Commander in Chief of the Chilean Navy
Because of Chile's geographic situation, its population has a good understanding of the sea as an enabler for development, mainly as the conduit for almost 86 percent of all trade coming in and out of the country, and because of the immense resources available in it.
To better understand the commitment of our people to the navy, we must note that the Chilean Navy is responsible for the marines, coast guard, and all naval assets. While the navy's military and diplomatic roles may be somewhat distant to the common person, it is highly visible on a daily basis in its constabulary role, as it tends to maritime safety, security, law enforcement, and environmental issues at sea. The Chilean citizens have great regard for these factors that provide stability to their emotional, social, and economic well-being.
Conflict between nation-states remains a reality, but new threats of an entirely unique sort have arisen, where non-state actors who do not respect national borders and are not necessarily of a military nature, have appeared. Today and tomorrow's forces will have to deal not only with warfighting and crisis prevention, but also with the emerging transnational threats and management of its consequences. In short, new scenarios will be characterized by complexity, uncertainty, surprise, quick change, and highly mobile threats. These facts became ever more clear to our people after the regrettable attacks on U.S. soil on 9/11.
In the past, the world could be viewed from a distant perspective. Security challenges were seen as somebody else's problem with expectations they would be met swiftly and effectively by that someone else. Today, given the depth of globalization, distant regional troubles threaten the global economic system and world prosperity, to which our welfare is firmly linked. International security is now everyone's responsibility. With the downsizing of forces common across the globe, emphasis is on the need for cooperation to maintain international peace and security—the mandatory condition in the pursuit of development.
We realize that to be able to have a say in matters that affect our interests and advance our transition to a well-developed country, the government must participate proportionally in its responsibility for global security. It therefore needs a naval force with the capability to provide a wide range of relevant options, with immediate response capability across a continuum of domestic and international contingencies. The envisioned force is to be used not only as an instrument in a state of war but as one of peace, designed to allow smooth cooperation with joint and multinational like-minded partners.
Admiral Guillermo Barrera Hurtado
Commander, Colombian Naval Forces
The Colombian Navy is necessary within the ensemble of our nation's armed forces because it is the only service with the means and capabilities to provide vigilance, security, and control for our population, resources, and sea spaces, which represent more than 48 percent of our national territory. Colombia is the only South American nation with shores on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. For our country to fulfill its responsibilities and satisfy the internal and international needs and requirements that such an extensive littoral and maritime extension generate, Colombia must maintain a sufficient naval presence on both coasts. That naval force is commensurate to the political, strategic, operational, and social needs that exist at any given time.
The Colombian Navy, through its naval, coast guard, riverine, and marine infantry components, is responsible for five principal functions, all of which are intended to serve the Colombian people: the defense and security of our population, our physical territory, and resources; maritime security; maritime development and research; protection of the marine environment; and support of Colombia's international policies. In each area, the navy seeks to support national policies intended to improve our population's security and well-being.
The Colombian Navy participates actively within a framework of shared international responsibility in the war against narco-terrorist organizations and their financial networks. Fully 90 percent of the illegal drug trade our nation confronts travels by sea. By executing a naval strategy against the drug traffic—which also includes international efforts—the navy prevents very large amounts of cocaine from ever reaching international markets. To continue to execute that strategy, which is of vital importance for Colombia and the international community, and to eliminate the sea-based drug trade, the navy of Colombia must maintain and broaden its maritime and riverine operational capabilities.
In addition, as a member of the international community, Colombia has other sea-related obligations. To fulfill these, our nation requires a navy that is capable in terms of human and material resources. Increasing globalization requires every independent state to exercise control over its own territorial waters. This is necessary to prevent acts of piracy, trafficking of human beings, and illegal-weapons trade of all sorts, and to protect the sea environment. Likewise, our country must protect its sea-based resources to keep them from being exploited illegally or unreasonably, and to ensure their preservation. Only the navy can carry out these tasks.
The expenses incurred in fulfilling these functions are minor when compared to the economic and social benefits gained from the security guarantees the Colombian Navy provides for the development of our nation's maritime activities.
Rear Admiral Ante Urlic
Commander of the Croatian Navy
Globalization, and economical, technological, and trade development, as much as they bring us closer together, are also fostering a new source of threats and challenges for world security. The Republic of Croatia, as a maritime nation, depends on the Adriatic Sea for our economic prosperity. The importance of the sea as a source of precious resources, on one hand, and numerous potential threats, on the other, imposes the need for quality protection. To protect national interests on the Croatian part of the Adriatic and at the same time contribute to the system of regional and collective security, we need a navy of balanced capabilities. Besides its regular tasks of surveillance and protection of the territorial sea and the protected ecological-fishery zone, the Croatian Navy, including the Coast Guard, participates in the battle against all forms of asymmetric threats, ensures freedom of navigation on the Adriatic, provides search and rescue capabilities, provides support of the host nation to Allied forces, and assists the civilian population and other ministries and organizations connected with the sea.
The Croatian Navy as the traditional sea force and the oldest maritime organization in Croatia must become aware of its leading role in maritime safety and security, which means additional responsibility. Therefore, it needs to possess sufficient capabilities for surveillance and operations to be able to protect its own sovereignty and sovereign rights in sea exploitation. With efficient control of our own maritime zone, we confirm our sovereignty; on the other hand possibilities of abusing the sea are opened up by unwanted subjects. The Croatian Navy always operates in conformity with government interests: safety of the people, security of the nation, and defense of the territory. How the interests of the Republic of Croatia at sea will be defended, what risks will be assumed, what weaknesses will be accepted, depends on the navy we are building.
The best response to actual threats is the existence of balanced naval forces with capabilities for responding to a wide variety of threats or intervening when and where it is necessary to protect national interests on the Adriatic Sea. Our maritime safety and security and the overall maritime economy will depend on these capabilities. Our nation has to ensure that the navy is able to respond to challenges of the 21st century with regard to defense and security. Therefore, investment in the navy and its capabilities is investment in one's own future.
Rear Admiral Nils Christian Wang
Admiral Danish Fleet
With more than 7,300 kilometers of coastline, more than 400 islands (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), and no Dane living more than about 50 kilometers from the sea, Denmark is by nature a maritime nation—the sea is part of our history and our character. Nevertheless, the navy needs to continuously prove its worth to its citizens and government.The Danish Navy safeguards our nation's interests from the sea, by military force, if necessary. This is our mission. To our parliament and citizens, protecting Danish interests justifies the money spent on the navy. Our focus is twofold: To enforce sovereignty inside the Kingdom of Denmark, including territorial waters, the EEZ; and to tackle related coast guard tasks. The external focus is aimed at international operations ranging from humanitarian missions over constabulary tasks to high-intensity conflict.
A good example of a successful attempt to create ties between the public and the navy is the national campaign launched by the Danish Navy in 2006. Its purpose was first and foremost to improve the protection of the sea environment. This is accomplished through the timely detection of oil spills for our environmental response ships to prevent the oil from reaching the Danish shoreline. The public—primarily yachtsmen—was encouraged to join as observers for the navy and, so far, more than 6,000 citizens have volunteered as oil watchers. This cooperation between the Danish people and the navy has improved the overall monitoring of the sea environment and improved relations.
In a more general perspective, maritime security in its broadest sense and definition is a constructive and understandable framework for discussion when the raison d'être of naval (and coast guard) forces is on the agenda. Maritime security is quintessential to the physical part of globalization; most navies have a common interest with the shipping industry when it comes to informing the public, politicians, and other decision makers about the connection between prosperity, maritime transport, and naval forces to secure the sea lanes of communication (SLOCs).
Some might argue that you do not need high-tech frigates and destroyers to fight maritime crime, but securing SLOCs could ultimately mean creating stability in a coastal region through the use of joint forces and warfighting capabilities.
Of course every country is unique, and I don't think there is a general recipe. However, it is my experience that the navy needs partners in order to maintain focus on the important functions it fulfills. Securing national interests and strong ties with the shipping industry is paramount.
Rear Admiral Aland Molestina Malta
Naval Chief of Staff, Ecuadoran Navy
The armed forces of Ecuador exist to fulfill two constitutional mandates: the conservation of national sovereignty, defense of the integrity and independence of the state, and the guaranty of its judicial ordaining; and support for the social and economic development of the country. Ecuador is a maritime nation, although the full realization and importance of this term is still evolving. It is evident that the sea will be even more important in the future.
More than 800 km off the continent, the Colon Archipelago is a precious treasure that Ecuador has to preserve, protect, and utilize. The maritime space that surrounds this region represents a significant portion of the total territorial sea that belongs to the nation. Without a navy, Ecuador's armed forces could not fulfill their constitutional role to either the insular region or the national maritime and coastal spaces. The country needs its navy, an armed force that is particularly applicable to the maritime and coastal spaces.
Our constitutional mission as one of the nation's armed forces is to provide internal and external security for the country. While it is important for the army to have sufficient military power to provide an appropriate and effective defense, Ecuador, as a maritime nation with an enormous territorial sea and an important insular region, needs a navy with similar capacity. This is fundamental. The service has to define, develop, and produce tangible and beneficial results for the country from its maritime interests. This is in fact the case because the Ecuadorian Navy has been the leader with proposals defining and quantifying the nation's maritime interests.
No state's existence is guaranteed. For that reason, we have to develop all the strengths that are needed to secure our independence as a free and sovereign state. Ecuador cannot trust nor depend on others for its security, whether they behave as tutors or godfathers. Ecuador should be strong in itself and what it needs. That is the value of the armed forces and among them, obviously, the navy.
For many years, more than 90 percent of Ecuador's external trade has traveled by sea. For this, it is important to maintain open and secure lines of maritime communication and permanently operate the country's maritime port system. This is indispensable for Ecuador and in that, the role of the navy is critical. With its unique presence and power, it largely contributes to this purpose.
Admiral Pierre-François Forissier
Chief of Staff of the French Navy
Globalization, with its impact on the economy and the strategic environment, is the core fact of the 21st century. It provides new opportunities or undermines people's lives, depending on how one views it. It leads, however, to the development of a world without borders in which the self-sufficiency of nations is gradually challenged by transnational economic and technological trends. As a consequence, the new frontiers for our security are global, covering all oceans.
Globalization also makes the world absolutely dependent on the free flow of trade, which travels largely by sea. "Every household depends on commerce simply to survive," as Alan Greenspan said. Regarding its ever-changing dynamics, based on "just enough, just on time," the defense of the free flow has to be proactive and constant.
In this context, sea power is the key to this globalization process and provides opportunities and challenges as well as vulnerabilities. Therefore, there is a direct link between naval forces and the preservation of our prosperity and our way of life, not only to defend our territory but also to preserve our national interests regarding new stakes and new threats, and to support our economic competitiveness.
This is not a question of being a decisive force around the globe, of sea supremacy, or sea control. It is about securing the sea and making it secure for everyone for legal and free use. Smugglers, drug traffickers, even pirates are perfectly aware of all the benefits that freedom of the seas provides.
This means that it is no longer a matter of national power but a problem we have to share with all nations, including landlocked countries. Securing the sea is a matter of international governance. It compels us to reconsider our international involvement in a way where cooperation is stronger than the selfishness trend resulting from scarcity of resources.
Defending the system requires a wider range of naval tasks that covers the whole spectrum of conflicts—high-intensity combat, humanitarian relief operations, naval diplomacy, and political influence—which translates into the capability to prevent conflicts by showing our military intentions, by carrying out stabilization as well as fishery and biodiversity protection missions.
Our citizens expect security and safety to contribute to our development and prosperity. Globalization has intensified the interdependence between prosperity, security of supply networks, access to strategic resources, and our capacity to directly influence other states or economies. This is the rationale to convince our citizens of the need to invest in their navy for their own welfare and security.
Colonel Koba Gurtskaia
Commander of the Georgian Navy
After restoration of the independence of Georgia, the government created the armed forces in 1992. With a 215-km coastline on the Black Sea, it was necessary to create the Georgian Navy. It became clear that a maritime defense policy was needed, and that the objectives of the navy should be defined. Georgia had no tradition of a modern navy. When civil war erupted with ethnic conflicts in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia withdrew all vessels that belonged to Georgia, which hobbled the creation of the Georgian Navy.
Soon after the civil war and combat operations in Abkhazia were over, the process of building Georgian Navy renewed in 1994 despite a difficult economic situation.
With the assistance of friendly countries, our navy began with ships transferred from Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria, as well as with the purchase of Russian vessels from Ukraine.
In 1997, the Georgian Navy became involved in NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Later, in 2001, the Black Sea Countries Maritime Cooperation agreement—BLACKSEAFOR—was signed, with joint international training sessions conducted annually. Since 2003, our navy participates in all activities conducted in the spirit of enhancing trust and security in the Black Sea area.
The navy's building progress is dynamic, with its main objective establishing itself among the navies of the Black Sea and Mediterranean countries by adopting European values and contributing to regional security. To attain this goal, it is necessary to create an effective and strong navy according to NATO standards to participate in international counter-terrorist and peacekeeping operations. Our plans to modernize Georgian Navy vessels and improve infrastructure will guarantee fulfillment of any national interests and operational regime on the sea.
Our strategic partners provide assistance and training to our personnel to raise our levels of expertise. Integration with European and NATO political, economic, and security systems is the will of the Georgian people. By joining NATO, Georgia will contribute to the security and stability not only of Europe but also, and especially, of the Black Sea region.
Vice Admiral Wolfgang E. Nolting
Chief of German Navy Staff
During the last two decades the mission of the German armed forces has changed from defense against an imminent threat to crisis response and peace support operations. The German Navy has participated in a number of such operations. It has proven to be a most valuable tool, especially for very sensitive missions such as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Active Endeavor. With the navy, our country was able to assist restoring security in a highly dangerous conflict in the Middle East region.
The fact that the navy is conducting these missions so smoothly and at sea, however, leads to a lack of visibility. Maritime missions are least known by the German public, while land and air operations normally draw much more media attention.
As a consequence, and in fact inspired by the U.S. Navy's "Conversations with the Country," we are starting an initiative for an intensified dialogue with our nation. We want to make this special contribution the navy is offering to the country better understood. The key message we send to audiences throughout Germany is the economic importance of maritime security. Germany is highly dependent on the import of raw materials such as crude oil, coal, and ore and also many other overseas products. At the same time it is the leading export nation in the world. That means many jobs in Germany are directly related to our ability to ship our products not only to European partners but also across the Atlantic and into the Asia-Pacific region. German companies control the largest number of container vessels in the world and rank third with regard to the number of merchant vessels.
We are especially addressing an audience in the central and southern parts of our country to explain that their jobs and prosperity are equally concerned as in coastal regions. We also tell them that money spent for naval ships does not only go to shipyards along the coast. The major costs in modern ships are for combat and weapon systems produced in different regions of the country.
So, the general message is that the navy is an indispensable investment in prosperity and security for the benefit of the whole nation.
Admiral Sureesh Mehta
Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy
India is a maritime nation, and activities in the maritime domain have a significant impact on the security and well-being of the nation. India, through the ages, was plundered and ravaged several times, but invaders who came across land borders either went back or were assimilated into the country. History is witness to the fact that India lost its independence only after it lost command of the sea and conquerors who came from the seas ruled over the sub-continent as alien masters for more than two centuries. Neglect of sea power is a strategic error that India can never afford to repeat. Fortunately, the nation is rediscovering its maritime outlook as opposed to the distinct continental preoccupations of the past.
Our primary national interest as derived from our constitution is to ensure a secure and stable environment which will enable continued economic development and social elevation of our masses. This, for the Indian Navy, translates into providing insulation from external interference and ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment in which economic and developmental activities can progress unhindered.
As much as 90 percent of India's foreign trade by volume and 77 percent by value transits over the sea. Our maritime interests also include security of the world's trade and energy flow, keeping vital sea lanes and chokepoints open, protecting coastal and offshore assets, maintaining good order in our maritime zones, safeguarding ocean resources, providing humanitarian assistance, constructively engaging regional and extra-regional navies in collaborative efforts, and showing presence overseas and in far-flung areas of our interest in support of the nation's foreign policy. Our EEZ is set to increase from 2.02 million sq. km to 2.54 million sq. km by the end of this decade, after delimitation of the continental shelf. We have been accorded pioneer investor status in a deep-sea mining area of 1.5 million sq. km, situated more than 1,600 km from the southernmost tip of our landmass. India also maintains two permanent research stations in Antarctica.
The primary area of India's maritime interest ranges from the Persian Gulf in the north to Antarctica in the south; and from the Cape of Good Hope and the east coast of Africa in the west to the Strait of Malacca and beyond in the east. Our international engagements beyond these areas and energy investments in Sakhalin, Sudan, Nigeria, and Venezuela are gradually defining a much larger secondary area of interest. India's military maritime strategy is therefore underpinned on the freedom to use the seas for our national purposes, under all circumstances.
The Indian Navy operates in a fragile neighborhood, with a wide range of possibilities for conflict. Additionally, the Indian Ocean region is the site of 70 percent of the world's natural disasters; therefore, crisis response in peacetime is necessary with almost predictable regularity. To respond to such a range of possibilities, a capability-dominant, mission-based approach would drive our force development. Growth and development cannot be sustained without an umbrella of security, and the Indian Navy is mandated to provide this protection in the maritime areas of India's interest. Every investment made to provide the desired capabilities to the Indian Navy is in our national interest.
Admiral Paolo La Rosa
Chief of Italian Navy General Staff
I deem it appropriate for Italy to spend around 3.2 billion euros to afford a balanced and modern navy that, with its organic coast guard, provides security and safety to a wide-range of commercial, industrial, and trading activities linked to the sea. These contribute around 50 billion euros to the GDP and protect national sea trade accounting for approximately 400 billion euros per year.
Besides these direct and measurable contributions, maritime forces generate a host of other benefits to the country's military, economic, social, and political systems that, although hard to measure, significantly increase the above figures—further justifying the funding to ensure combat readiness, equipment maintenance, and long-term development to our maritime forces. These benefits stem from the traditional and strategic naval diplomacy role in support of the country's foreign policy, industrial promotion, and international cooperation. They are also derived from the intrinsic projection function that allows maritime forces—with their inherent jointness, mobility, readiness and self-sustainability—to act as the only credible strategic enabler to effectively play the early entry role in crisis-response situations. Italy did just this in Lebanon in 2006, with the dual use of military assets for the projection of non-military capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Additional benefits are generated by the navy's interagency cooperation with others connected to maritime security within the scope of the traditional surveillance and constabulary role, increasingly important to enforce international law and to establish collaborations at both national and international levels. The Italian Navy is promoting two landmark projects to improve information sharing for security in the maritime environment—the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Centre (V-RMTC) in the international dimension and the System for Interagency Integrated Maritime Surveillance (SIIMS) at the national level. Both bolster the navy's visibility as a key player for the nation's benefit. In 2008 this process will gain momentum with the 7th Regional Seapower Symposium of the Navies of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, scheduled in Venice for 14—17 October.
I am, therefore, involved in making the political decision-makers and the public aware of the impending needs to devote adequate funding to the navy to avoid financial gaps that might otherwise hamper the efficiency and readiness of our assets and personnel. To do so, we are conducting a strong team effort to exploit every possible chance to emphasize our achieved results and to increase our visibility through news, TV shows, press articles, and conferences within institutional and informal contexts that bolster the country-wide awareness of our commitment.
Military organizations represent a financial burden that countries have to sustain if they want to maintain reliable capabilities to defend themselves and to play a credible role in the international arena. Maritime forces are expensive given the high development and maintenance costs of their assets and the demanding preparation and training at sea and on land. There is great evidence, however, to justify the raison d'être of a balanced navy for a medium regional military power that, like Italy, has 8,000 kilometers of coastline, represents the 13th-largest merchant fleet worldwide, has an economy deeply dependant on the maritime environment, and has a proactive role granting maritime security, stability, and peace for the international community.
Admiral Eiji Yoshikawa
Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Japan is an island nation with the world's third-largest coastline, which exceeds 30,000 km, and the sixth-largest EEZ. Japan is a typical maritime nation, relying heavily on the sea lanes of communication to import materials and export products essential to the nation's survival. These are indisputable facts. Were the SLOCs to be disrupted, the effect on more than 130 million citizens would be extremely severe. In that sense, Japan, perhaps more than any other nation in the world needs her navy, known to her countrymen as the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Given these factors, one might assume the JMSDF would never be asked to justify its existence. However, fellow citizens are not fully aware of Japan's unique statistical position on the globe. As such, the JMSDF, in the face of severe budget constraints and the pacifist nature of its population, must routinely clarify and rationalize the necessity of a modern operational naval service.
The question before us is: How does the JMSDF reconcile the security needs of the nation with the perspective of its citizens? I believe such reconciliation is possible if the following two perspectives are taken into account.
JMSDF is one of Japan's most effective tools toward a stable regional and international security environment. This tenet is a cornerstone of the Japanese national security policy. Given its flexible and mobile character, the JMSDF has the capacity to cooperate with fellow navies in the fight against international terrorism and in response to natural disasters. Operations such as logistical support for Operation Enduring Freedom and disaster relief following the Indonesia tsunami are but two examples. Additionally, by fostering defense exchanges, JMSDF contributes to regional stability and friendship. For example, a Chinese Navy ship visited Japan in November 2007 for the first time in history. The JMSDF will reciprocate with a goodwill visit later this year. These also serve to reinforce long-standing international policy regarding freedom of the seas.
Second, the JMSDF is Japan's forerunner for contingency response to unforeseen threats and security issues. Given the likelihood of seaborne threats, it is critical that Japan sustain naval superiority. To this end, the backbone of the Japan-U.S. alliance is both countries' navies. To illustrate, the recent successful SM-3 antimissile firing test in Hawaii provided Japan with new ballistic-missile defense capability. Not only did the test prove reliability against potential threats, it also developed a stronger Japan-U.S. alliance.
We believe the JMSDF is Japan's most effective armed service to meet national needs and expectations of our government and live up to the peaceful cooperative character of our fellow citizens. Our challenge is to bring the vast ocean of mystery which surrounds our service into the public eye so that all Japanese people can also come to this mindset with us.
Vice Admiral Sergio Enrique Henaro Galan
Chief of Staff, Mexican Navy
To justify the need and the cost of a navy is a challenge which almost every contemporary democracy with maritime interests faces. It seems that defense of the territory and the national merchant marine before a foreign aggression does not justify a navy's existence. In the case of Mexico, although the fundamental mission of the navy continues to be the maritime defense of the country to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the national legislation gives the navy responsibility for law enforcement in Mexico's marine zones and coasts. The latter is done by exercising maritime police functions and assisting other federal agencies with maritime environment responsibilities.
Mexico, with its more than 11,000 km of coastline with the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea, has the 13th largest littoral region in the world. The nation is among the top 20 world-wide in fishery production, drawing from its more than 3 million sq. km of EEZ and territorial sea—approximately half again as large as our continental territory.
The income from beach tourism and aquatic sports represents a very important percentage of the total rendered by tourism, which has become the third primary source of foreign currency generation. At the global level, Mexico is eighth in the number of international tourists per year and is considered one of the main beach destinations in the world for cruise liners.
Approximately 80 percent of oil extraction, the main source of foreign currency for Mexico, is carried out in maritime zones. Although the seabed has not been exploited to its full potential, in contains enormous mineral deposits that are part of the strategic reserves for our future.
As for port activity, approximately 35 percent of all the cargo moved in our country passes through Mexican ports and the trend is increasing.
On the other hand, drug traffickers use maritime routes more frequently on their way to the United States through our country. The sea is also used for the illegal trafficking of persons and weapons, and for other criminal activities. The presence of the Mexican Navy denies the use of the sea to organized crime and, therefore, prevents the proliferation of such activities.
Additionally, because of its geographic location, year after year our country is impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms that mainly affect costal populations and those who look for their sustenance to the sea. The Mexican Navy, as one of the country's armed forces, is part of the backbone of our Civil Protection National Plan in the execution of search, rescue, and population support activities.
These points are but a portion of the benefits that the sea and the activities developed in it provide for the economic development and well-being of Mexicans. It is a brief summary of the sea's strategic importance and therefore of the necessity of providing an effective protection to our national maritime interests. In matters of security and protection, the Mexican Navy is the only institution of the state with a permanent presence in the seas and with the resources to maintain it. All of this, plus keeping permanently vigilant to support the population when necessary, broadly justifies to our government and fellow citizens the existence of our national navy and what is invested in it.
Lieutenant General Rob Zuiderwijk, Royal Netherlands Marine Corps
Commander Naval Forces
We must foster more ocean awareness.
The Netherlands has always been a seafaring merchant nation, with a great dependence on the oceans for our prosperity and wealth. Reminding politicians and the public of the importance of maritime trade is an easy first step to the second, more difficult one: convincing the public that naval forces are indispensable for keeping those seas, and thus our trade, safe, and that we contribute to safety ashore with naval assets. A nation bordering the North Sea—the busiest sea in the world—and having Rotterdam, the third-largest port in the world, serving major parts of the European hinterland, cannot depend on other nations to keep sea lanes of communication open. I support initiatives, both by us and by stakeholders in the Dutch maritime and trade sector, to evolve public opinion from "sea blindness" to "ocean awareness."
Geo-strategic developments confirm the validity of our choice to invest in capabilities to enhance security both on the high seas and on our shores. It is an investment that combines well with capabilities in disaster relief and humanitarian operations from the sea. We see a further concentration of the world population and economic activities in coastal areas of the world, which also enhances the dangers of significant conflicts in those areas. Given the dependence of our economy on sea transport, such conflicts will directly affect our society.
The 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall saw cutbacks in ships and troops, consuming the so-called peace dividend to the fullest extent. Fortunately, the notion remains with both the Dutch public and politicians that we have a job to do on the oceans and in littoral areas—provide safety and stability on the sea and contribute to these elements on land. Our navy has participated in the Indian Ocean in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and with the UN in the Mediterranean off the Lebanese coast and in the Liberian littorals. The Royal Netherlands Navy will be engaged in coalition-type expeditionary joint operations, and it is crucial that we show our politicians and public that we as a maritime nation benefit directly from our operations. Our nation's naval budget should not be considered as cost, but investment.
This message must be repeated over and over again, because naval awareness is the cornerstone of our navy's relevance. We are one of the oldest navies in the world, but now and in the future we have an important role to play for our public, our government, and our nation.
Rear Admiral David Ledson
Chief of Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy
In considering this year's question I find myself in the embarrassing position of not finding an answer of any substance.
The principal reason is that the context in which it is placed can lead to the question being interpreted as "How do you lobby the government and people to get funding for the navy?" And, I think, too, implicit in it is that the funding is to invest in force structure—ships and planes. Associated with this of course is the associated qualifier "at the expense of the other services."
The challenge for the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) is in making sure that the narrow line—and the line around which there is considerable sensitivity—between "informing" and "lobbying" is not crossed. It would be unacceptable in New Zealand's political traditions and culture for the navy to lobby.
Defining that line is becoming even more complex—and the discussion somewhat constrained—with the focus on jointness and force structure contemplations focusing on capability and not platforms. Much of the debate and conversations around these two concepts has, in my view, more intellectual than practical merit. I think, too, it ignores historical—just look at the Pacific campaign in World War II to see jointness in action—and current military realties.
In any event, for the RNZN the question is less important than one which is along similar lines but asks "How do you explain to your sailors and potential sailors why your navy is worth joining—and worth sticking with?" Ultimately, this is about making the navy relevant today and demonstrating that it will continue to be relevant.
This question is really important because the critical factor now in sustaining the navy is not the funding the government gives us. After all, at the end of this year we will have had six new ships join the fleet, so the government is investing in us.
The critical factor for the RNZN—and a number of similar navies—in determining whether or not we have a navy is whether we have the numbers of sailors we need and whether we can get the right people in the right numbers knocking on the front door.
This requires us to not only tell the story about what we do. In many ways it is more important that we can also tell the story about what we are, what our culture and values are, and what our people are like.
Our focus right now is not solely on the government and citizens saying you do a good job so we think it's worth giving you some money. We are paying closer attention to getting our sailors to say, "The navy is a great organization I want to stay," and young New Zealanders to say, "I hear the navy is a great organization and I want to be part of it."
Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir
Chief of the Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy
In the new millennium, the concept of interdependency has gained impetus because of the cumulative impact of globalization, depleting energy resources, and the asymmetric dimension of security concerns. In the economic context, sea trade and sea-based energy resources have gained exponential significance in recent decades. The world's nations are exploring new energy resources beyond their regions to meet their energy requirements. On the other hand, post-9/11 events have brought a paradigm shift in the global security calculus and painted the 21st century's threat canvas. Unlike the past, nations are confronted with issues such as transnational terrorism, insurgencies, and asymmetrically organized crimes. Therefore, roles and functions of navies the world over have gained prominence, and their force structures continue to undergo readjustments to deal with emerging challenges and threats.
Pakistan is no exception, and the Pakistan Navy is adequately structured to pursue our foreign policy objectives, safeguard maritime interests, and tackle the prevailing security challenges. The compulsions for Pakistan to maintain an effective navy—which is worth its cost—can be gauged from these factors:
- Pakistan's economy heavily depends on sea trade. Its strategic location provides direct access to nearly two-thirds of the world's oil reserves and one-third of the gas resources in the Persian Gulf region. Nearly all our oil imports are from the Gulf; therefore, continuous flow of our trade is absolutely essential for sustenance of our economy.
- Pakistan's location makes it a bridge between the land-locked central-Asian states and rest of the world. The newly developed port of Gwadar would offer the most economical outlet for that region with the potential of becoming a supply hub for a regional market of more than 250 million people.
- Pakistan has an opening to the Indian Ocean with its 540-nm coast. It is blessed with an EEZ of 240,000-square kilometers, with abundant natural resources.
- The post-9/11 security situation has focused the world's attention on the Indian Ocean region. Emerging asymmetric threats and new dimensions of illegal activities at sea have forced an evolution in the doctrine of collaborative maritime security. The near-permanent presence of multinational naval forces in the Indian Ocean is a manifestation of this. Regional countries s