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?
Captain Jose Antonio Lemus Guzman
Since its founding, Guatemala’s navy has developed in an environment characterized by limited resources and high operational demands, which has put the focus of its modernization efforts on the development of human resources.
Over the next five years we will emphasize increased surface-vessel capabilities, aiming at improving their readiness to ensure greater presence and permanence in maritime areas that require greater oversight and control, complemented with an increased role for port authorities.
Our navy also will seek to integrate objectives, distribute costs and share responsibility with other institutions and forces—domestic and foreign—through strategic alliances and international funding opportunities. The overall aim here will be bolstered coastal security— through the integration of land-based aircraft, interceptor speedboats, and amphibious units at critical points—to deter threats from abroad that would affect internal security.
In the same period, the navy will work on strengthening law enforcement at sea, through the promotion of legislation to improve the control of maritime traffic, sharing the costs with maritime-sector traffic—both public and private.
Within the next ten years, the navy intends to transform its organizational and administrative infrastructure. Our goal is a smaller, more effective framework that achieves optimal alignment between our objectives and our financial resources, with the hoped-for end result of added operational resources, modernized surface units, and reduced expenditures. A specific item on the agenda for this time frame will be additional funding for integrating control of our coastal radar-system phones.
In the span of the next 20 years, the navy wants to develop its patrol capabilities under the concept of operational triad. This would include an ocean cruiser capable of operating with embarked helicopter/interceptor launch, which would replace existing surface units. As part of that overall effort, we envision the creation of an airborne maritime patrol squadron that deploys either unmanned aircraft or aircraft having broad capabilities and low operational costs, allowing greater surveillance of our maritime jurisdictions.