Protect means safeguarding German citizens and interests worldwide, while Project comprises global deployment of an expeditionary force. Besides multinational operations, which have been the bread-and-butter of the German Navy during the last decades, we will increase our focus toward joint operations in forthcoming years.
Currently, the German Navy contributes to a number of international operations. To counter the terrorist threat, we have been continuously engaged in Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean and Operation Enduring Freedom in the area around the Horn of Africa. In the same region the German Navy contributes to the European Union's Naval Force Atalanta to protect humanitarian shipping and trade against piracy. The fourth operation with continuous German participation is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which is not only aimed at the terrorist threat but also supports further stabilization in Lebanon. Despite the global economic downturn, the German Navy will continue to share this burden with our friends and allies.
In recent years, the force structure of the German Navy has consistently been streamlined and downsized. Our aim was to become more efficient, cost-effective, and operations-oriented. This, so far, has been successful. However, we constantly monitor conditions and trends in our operations and the requirements of our forces. We will take further steps to improve our force structure when it is deemed necessary. Currently, we are investigating innovative measures such as alternative crew and low-maintenance concepts for our ships.
To sum up and be consistent with the question set in this year's International Navies issue of Proceedings, I would like to state that the global economic downturn is not yet affecting the German Navy's strategy, operations, and force structure. Our intention is—and will be in future—to stick to our operational commitments in the multinational environment.
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