Admiral Edmundo González Robles—Chilean Navy
Globalization has introduced significant political, strategic, and economic changes, which are characterized by the increase of connectivity, uncertainty, and new types of risks, among others. Old threats persist and new ones arise influencing the stability of the international scene, which has also been affected by the global economic downturn.
Since our country essentially depends on its maritime trade, the above scenario has reinforced the strategic necessity of intensifying international collaboration, highlighting the protection of commercial shipping and other maritime activities at sea. Thus, the Chilean Navy has supported initiatives, such as maritime domain awareness, to encourage regional and defense cooperation among states.
In our case, having the Maritime Authority as an integral part of the Chilean Navy has proved to be a strength factor in dealing with new and more demanding global maritime security scenarios.
In spite of economic restrictions, thanks to an objective and strict management system, the Chilean Navy is focusing its training in home waters and is also considering the participation of some of its assets in international operations and combined exercises. Currently, we are involved in various UN peace missions and multinational exercises such as MINUSTAH, UNICYP, UNITAS, TEAMWORK SOUTH, PANAMAX, and RIMPAC.
These activities, together with our capability to integrate into a U.S. expeditionary group, are key examples of the commitment of the Chilean Navy, put into action, in the effort to maximize interoperability. These efforts are aimed at upgrading standard operating procedures and minimizing response times against threats. In addition, considering the budgetary constraints, the Chilean Navy has been working for more than ten years in improving the way we manage our force structure. We have developed capabilities that meet both naval and maritime needs. We need to do more with less.
Although a new shipbuilding program was the initial objective, buying second-hand frigates was a more cost-effective option to renew the core of our fleet. Now, as this process has been completed, we also find it necessary to improve the ability to exercise an effective surveillance in the South Pacific area. With this objective, we have built two offshore patrol vessels at the Asmar-Valparaiso yard and are also replacing our maritime patrol aircraft and light helicopters.
Therefore, despite the global economic downturn we are maintaining a force structure that embodies strategic capabilities relevant for today's and future scenarios. At the same time we are continuing to build on regional cooperation initiatives to assume greater peace-keeping responsibilities in a world that will continue to experience the need for an effective maritime security system.
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.