A new U.S. defense strategy unveiled in January calls for a resized, refocused military. Proceedings asked the leaders of the world’s sea services: In an era of austere defense budgets and rapidly increasing technologies, what are the strategic objectives for your naval force over the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
Rear Admiral Ante Urlic´
In a recession it is difficult to think about capital investments in the defense system, but on the other hand, threats neither know nor respect the term “recession.” Thus, the Croatian Navy currently is striving to maintain achieved capacities and is focused on training and education of its personnel with a view to their excellence. We are committed to a strengthening of cooperation with all national agencies engaged in the area of maritime security in the Adriatic, and with all security stakeholders in the region.
The navy is taking significant steps to improve technological achievements in creating a recognizable maritime picture in its area of responsibility (AOR) and managing information in real time. Thus, not only is maritime situational awareness enhanced, but targeted actions of naval forces (at call) are activated, which makes optimal use of operational resources. Additionally, the navy actively participates in international exchanges of collected data on thestatus of the maritime domain.
In the future our navy will maintain the basic capabilities for the implementation of traditional tasks and operations and continue to develop its capabilities for implementation of nontraditional tasks and responses to asymmetric threats. In that context we are preparing a ship to participate in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour and plan to start building patrol vessels for our coast guard, which is an integral part of the navy.
Throughout the next five years we expect to participate in international (United Nations-NATO-European Union) maritime operations in the Mediterranean. We plan to train and equip our mine-countermeasures diver unit so it can be ready to deploy and operate out of our AOR.
Our maritime-security capabilities will be enhanced significantly with the construction of coastal-patrol vessels over the next ten years. The navy also plans to develop a diving training center that we hope will earn regional recognition not only for training, but in the area of underwater technologies development and testing as well.
In the second decade, our capability to protect maritime security in the Adriatic will be even more enhanced with the planned introduction and deployment of offshore-patrol vessels, which will allow us to operate out of our primary AOR in the Mediterranean and its approach routes. The development vision for our navy is clear, but in the end, the realization of many goals and projects depends on the economy and the financial capabilities of the Republic of Croatia.