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 end of the Cold War gave us an international power structure featuring one superpower and a number of “multi-powers.” The United States was the superpower and “multi-powers” usually referred to the European Union, Japan, China, and Russia. However, that structure is undergoing subtle change. The United States continues to be a superpower in all respects, but its comprehensive strength is believed to have declined, largely impaired by the Iraq War, its global anti-terrorism campaign in collaboration with several countries, and the economic recession in the United States.
Concurrently there has been a perceived notion of a steadily diminishing U.S. global naval engagement on one hand and indications of steadily growing naval strength in China, India, and Singapore.
By most accounts it is likely that for the next few years there will be a continued decline in U.S. naval presence or engagement worldwide as it pursues a downsizing of its naval forces. That is expected despite calls for U.S. Navy leadership to advocate a fleet sufficiently sized to support U.S. engagement strategy—which is a navy large enough to shape world events in a way favorable to U.S. interests and to respond to emerging threats to the national security of the United States and it allies.
Furthermore, some believe there also will be a likely gravitation to China in the wake of its emerging economic strength and an apparent military expansion worldwide.
For the Philippine Navy, that likely forthcoming scenario is not expected to completely alter its current strategic partnership with the United States, which to date remains strong and solid. The United States continues to be a constant and steady source of logistics for the Philippine Navy as well as a good provider of training and other capability-building activities. Nonetheless, adjustments have to be made in terms of the likelihood of a cut in military aid to the PN in terms of arms and logistics and a reduction in training exercises and similar activities.
While that initially would have a significant effect on the PN’s own effort to modernize its capabilities, the PN would have to be realistic and look beyond its ties with the U.S. Navy and explore increased engagement with other navies.
Whatever occurs, all steps taken will have as their primary focus the PN’s ongoing efforts to build a capable fleet to address the maritime concerns of the Philippines, and to meet the myriad challenges brought about by a fast-changing and dynamic security environment.