Admiral General Manuel Rebollo Garcia—Spanish Navy
Certainly, the international economic situation is also affecting the Spanish Navy, and we have had to take measures to relieve its effects on our capabilities. Budgetary cuts do not allow us to undertake all the force maintenance and upgrading that we had planned if we are to continue with all our operational activity and maintain corresponding readiness levels.
In this regard, at the beginning of 2009 I ordered the implementation of the Global Austerity Plan. Its most remarkable measures are the early decommissioning of 20 small patrol boats that are in their last third of their life cycle, and the deferral or cancellation of minor materiel procurement programs. Simultaneously, we aim for efficient training and maintenance of operational units. In subsequent years we will continue with this austerity plan, updating it as the situation evolves.
We are reviewing unit readiness levels to accurately adapt them to their mission requirements. We focus training and maintenance on intended operational activities and the most likely contingency scenarios. This forces us to accept a more limited readiness in lower-priority areas.
This, which we call "readiness adapted to mission," represents a real shift in our old concept of having a very high readiness for the complete range of missions of the naval force. In this sense, we will give particular attention to maritime security operations such as Atalanta in the Indian Ocean, as well as our commitments to our allies.
Budgetary cuts have forced us to postpone the modernization of some units and to cancel some minor materiel procurement programs, while we keep the major units and programs on schedule as planned. Thus, the new multi-role ship Juan Carlos I and the combat logistic support ship Cantabria will be commissioned in 2010, and construction of our fifth Aegis frigate, the S-80-series submarines, and the new maritime action ships are also under way.
From an organizational viewpoint, steps have been taken to attain higher efficiency and effectiveness, along with subsequent cost reduction. Thus, in December 2009 the three components of the Spanish Navy—the Maritime Action Force, Naval Action Force, and Marine Corps—have integrated into a single structure: the fleet. This new organization is also intended to optimize assets devoted to readiness, training, evaluation, and certification of units and commands.
Therefore, these aspects—efficient maintenance and training, selective upgrading, and optimized organization—are the main points on which we have focused our efforts to face today's economic situation.
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