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?
From the Gulf of Guinea perspective, the national interests of the United States could be approximated to energy-supply security, political stability, and democratic tenets. Currently, those interests are increasingly threatened by unstable political and economic conditions. Likewise, many Gulf of Guinea states are challenged by the same threats, manifested in the form of socio-political contentions, piracy, poaching, pollution and various forms of illegal trafficking. In essence, effective maritime governance constitutes the nexus of interests and engagement strategies between the Unites States and Gulf of Guinea states. Therefore, within the perspective of naval engagement, the issue is achieving sustainable capacity for maritime security through cooperation.
In the past decade, U.S. security strategy has predictably shifted toward increased international cooperation, as emphasized by its evolving cooperative strategy and global partnership concept. Similarly, in Africa, cooperative efforts highlight important landmarks with which the United States has effectively aligned, such as the Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiative.
The next decade presents the possibility of enhanced competition among the growing Asian powers for a greater share of the Gulf of Guinea hydrocarbon resources. Increased maritime activities without commensurate regional capacity-building could pose a very real threat to the national interests of the United States, Asian powers, and local states. To achieve the expected security paradigm, then, cooperation and capacity-building, rather than competition, should be the watchwords for all stakeholders.
For Nigeria, and indeed the Nigerian Navy, past and current commitments to sub-regional peace and stability remain a consistent practical focus. Evidently, maritime security cooperation, promotion of peaceful exploitation, and conflict resolution characterize Nigeria’s relationship with her maritime neighbors. In realization of its lead role, the Nigerian Navy remains dedicated to cooperative initiatives at both interagency and inter-navy levels. In that regard, the U.S. Navy has in the past decade demonstrated its commitment through several partnership programs for capacity building with the Nigerian Navy. In the future, increased operational capacity through cooperative mechanisms such as maritime centers of excellence, information-sharing and common operating procedures are on the table with respect to the Nigerian Navy’s maritime policing functions.
The Nigerian Navy looks forward to increased partnership commitment with the U.S. Navy on capacity-building programs aimed at developing self-sustaining capabilities while also promoting a cooperative spirit among all stakeholders, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.