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?
Global engagement of the U.S. Navy as a military power-projection factor is a most important lever of global stability for the United States and for NATO and partner countries. Global stability in the maritime domain and beyond has significant implications for the stability of certain regions. On the other hand, the stability of every particular region makes part of a global stability mosaic, accordingly global and regional stability are closely correlated.
For Croatia, the protection of its sovereignty and interests on the Adriatic Sea is a national interest of the highest priority. Croatia is aware of its responsibilities in protecting the maritime safety and security as well as the importance of a favorable maritime environment to the security of the wider international community.
In terms of reduced financial resources the Croatian Navy is making significant efforts to control its area of responsibility with the aim of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, trafficking in drugs, arms, and human life, illegal migration, piracy, terrorism, and other criminal activities.
Reduced global engagement of the U.S. Navy would result in a significant increase in threats of this type on the Adriatic Sea, and demand an increased involvement of all Croatian agencies concerned with maritime safety and security, including the Croatian Navy. Furthermore, it would require increased efforts of other navies to maintain the achieved level of safety of sea lines of communication and trade.
Even without such a scenario, the Croatian Navy is committed to the principles of cooperation with all national agencies related to the sea, and all international security actors in the region. Permanent collection of data, real-time information exchange, and participation in internationally sponsored regional maritime projects are just some of the ways to improve the effectiveness of responses to the evolving threat. Participation in the ADRION project, an integral part of the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, is one of the many multilateral and bilateral activities, through which the Croatian Navy builds trust and cooperation with partner navies in the region.
The Croatian Navy is in the process of preparing to participate in the NATO-led operation Active Endeavour. In the coming period, in line with state financial capabilities, we plan to build a new class of inshore patrol boats for the coast guard of the Republic of Croatia. In my opinion, the achievement of desired navy capabilities as well as introduction of broader tasks and responsibilities in the protection of maritime security in the Adriatic, and in the future in the Mediterranean Sea and its approaches, would be hastened through military cooperation with partners.