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?
Ever since modern navies moved onto the world stage to showcase their exceptional utility, the very essence of their nature has always mandated tangible interactions with other maritime nations. That has turned out to be especially true in the evolving strategic context of the 21st century, in which international maritime transportation has become ever more vulnerable to disruption—whereas exploration and exploitation activities at sea are at unprecedented levels. Reflecting on that, one then recognizes that the maintenance of a safe and secure maritime environment necessitates more than ever the promotion of cooperative security.
Thus, in such an interdependent maritime domain, a supposed decrease of U.S. global engagement would first and foremost increase the need for greatly improved cooperation among nations. The significant gap that would emerge without U.S. naval contributions would have to be compensated for with an increase in assets allotted by others to overall security. In line with that scenario, a consequent realignment of the power structure would have to occur to ensure a seamless transition and sustain existing contributions in global maritime security.
In view of such a prospective new security environment, however, both the challenges and the means to cope with them would be similar: Maritime security could still be achieved not only with the neutralization of conventional threats, but also through cooperative efforts against asymmetric risks and threats—including but not limited to cyber attacks, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and all forms of illicit trafficking and piracy. More important, however, all other nations would be required to redouble their efforts toward enhanced cooperative security, because no single nation alone could deal with such difficulties.
The Turkish Navy in recent years has launched and participated in several cooperative multinational initiatives in its region. As part of any realignment in the maritime power structure it would expect to see an increase in its role as a leader as well as in supporting capacities.
Regardless of the level of U.S. global engagement, however, the Turkish Navy will remain committed to being a positive influence in and around Turkey’s surrounding seas and wherever it is deemed to be part of its primary mission: Safeguarding Turkey’s maritime interests while contributing to global efforts for a safe and secure maritime environment through regional initiatives.
In order to align its capabilities with the requirements of such an evolving security environment and its national interests, the Turkish Navy will continue to refine its force-planning processes, training activities, and cooperative engagements, bearing always in mind that only with effective, well-trained and interoperable forces can a desired valuable contribution to regional as well as global peace and security be achieved.