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?
Vice Admiral Axel Schimpf
Undoubtedly, decreasing budgets and new technologies will have a wide impact on future developments. However, with the end of conscription in 2011 and the current demographic picture, the German armed forces face a great challenge as far as personnel retention and recruitment are concerned. Therefore, the navy must make every effort to recruit suitable candidates and to retain well-qualified personnel in the navy. So, despite smaller defense budgets, my primary focus will be making the naval service an attractive option and keeping our personnel motivated.
The German Navy will continue to contribute to a common defense within the NATO framework, at the boundaries of NATO, and even beyond. That goes along with our two basic principles: protect and project. The former is the task of contributing to the security of our sea lanes of communication and being prepared to defend NATO territory. To project is to take part in expeditionary operations and use the sea for the support of joint operations.
That said, however, we see international conflict prevention and crisis management as the likely operations in the future. In that regard, participation with multinational forces will continue, and in the area of maritime security I believe that increased multinational tasking and conduct of operations will be an absolute necessity.
The German Navy will remain capable of providing a broad profile while further reducing its organizational overhead in the next five years. New multiple-crew concepts, new intensive-use platforms, enhanced mission modularity, as well as our new home-base training concept, will ensure more flexibility to meet upcoming challenges. Once the new F-125 frigates, the multi-role combat ship, and the joint support ship have joined our fleet, we will have upgraded our maritime capabilities significantly.
With our conceptual setup and our broad array of capabilities we will be able to offer a wide variety of options for the response to current and future to risks and threats. In an era of austere defense budgets I see the will for bi- and multi-lateral cooperation increasing to provide security for the common goals of prosperity and freedom of the seas.