America's military faces reductions in force and spending that could have a ripple effect. Proceedings asked the leaders of the world's sea services: Some see U.S. global naval engagement diminishing and the world's power structure realigning itself over the coming decade. In what ways would this affect your navy?
In terms of size, power projection, and global reach, the U.S. Navy has no match. Therefore, when assessing whether any new deployment strategy will have an impact on global maritime security, the Portuguese Navy’s perception is that the U.S. Navy will continue to be globally engaged and that no relevant void will be left unattended, notwithstanding the cutbacks announced by Admiral Gary Roughead.
Terrorism, illegal immigration, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and, more recently, piracy, affect all countries alike, and there has long been an international effort, either within NATO, the European Union or through multilateral initiatives, to counter such threats. The Portuguese Navy is already involved in those efforts and will continue in that role, as the increasingly transnational nature of threats will require greater cooperation between nations, improved maritime situational awareness, and increased effort on maritime capability building.
Though presence is by itself an unquestionable deterrent, effective and proper reactions need a much deeper approach. The ability to swiftly act against threats relies primarily on a sound surveillance setup and the prompt analysis and exchange of information, which in turn can trigger the proper alerts to bring about a timely and suitable response.
Thus, a change in overall asset availability can be seen as an opportunity to develop, or refine, concepts, procedures, and methods toward more cost-effective solutions. In that scope, it will be important to improve information-sharing which, in turn, calls for greater cooperation among intelligence communities. Additionally, it stands as an opportunity to enhance interoperability and to improve dialogue between maritime operational centers.
Another side of global security is confidence, which can be forged through capacity-building. In this realm we see the Portuguese Navy as particularly useful, given the strong ties to countries that lie within troubled areas, especially in Africa, where Portugal maintains standing military cooperation programs. In addition, one can exploit the dual role nature of the Portuguese Navy in both military defense and constabulary-like tasks. That unique feature allows for the establishment of special capability packages that can be offered to provide international maritime cooperation a broader range. When weighing different approaches to balance the overall decrease in naval assets, there is an opportunity for the Portuguese Navy to enhance its participation in multilateral endeavors focusing on maritime security.
Our navy therefore remains committed to closer international cooperation, and we will regard any change in U.S. naval strategy as a chance to better merge countries’ know-how and capabilities to improve overall maritime security.