As the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to require large numbers of U.S. and allied ground forces, aging naval assets across the globe face ever greater burdens while they hold the line, deterring belligerent nations and conventional threats, taking on terrorists, and facing down pirates across the open oceans and coastlines of the world. Military and defense leaders must remain aware that in many regions of the world, tomorrow's conflicts will increasingly be naval affairs. Indeed, though the United States, and many of its allies are short of cash to spend on modernizing their fleets, petrodollars and economic growth are fueling massive naval and military buildups across many regions of the globe.
This review of the world's navies sheds light on such threats and presents a snapshot of naval activities during the past year. It is arranged by region, with maritime nations discussed alphabetically under each subheading.