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?
The Bahamas is a small country with very limited means of defending itself against major threats.
An archipelago, threaded with challenging sandy banks and reef-rife shallows, the Bahamas’ territorial waters span nearly 100,000 square miles of sea and its geography encompasses some 2,500 islands, rocks, and cays.
The country is poised like a mediator between the temptingly welcoming borders of North America, the land of opportunity whose naval supremacy up until the turn of the century was unquestioned; and South America, a mass drug-producing continent; and a reasonably close proximity to Haiti and Cuba, islands that experience socio-political and socio-economic deficiencies.
Therefore, we maintain that the Bahamas’ position is uniquely valuable to the United States, based on Patrick M. Cronin’s assertion in a National Defense University paper in 2009 that “. . . if its [the United States’] nearest neighbors are not secure and stable, then the United States will be less secure.”
In short, the presence of transnational threats, the Bahamas’ geographical location, and the extent of worldwide alternative governance structures (authoritarian) presents a formidable threat to U.S. national security interests, and therefore bodes well for the Bahamas as a country.
Should the United States be replaced as a naval superpower, therein lies a possibility that its support and willingness to assist others in various capacities may be reduced, but probably not discontinued outright.
The Bahamas and United States have a longstanding, mutual relationship bonded by various bilateral agreements. Of these, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force benefits tremendously from overseas and mobile training opportunities; technical assistance; security assistance against transnational threats via Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Shiprider and Enduring Friendship Programs; maritime law enforcement training; and humanitarian assistance/disaster relief training through annual exercises.
Nevertheless, regional organizations such as the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security have been created to reduce the level of dependency on the United States for security assistance. That notwithstanding, decentralization of our own defense force operations through the establishment of fully equipped bases in strategic areas is also under way. This is all entirely significant as our allegiance must remain with protecting our territorial integrity and guarding our sovereignty, even as the United States’ hegemonic status is threatened.