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 Kosmas Christidis
Our navy operates in a complex strategic environment and fulfills missions in the Aegean Sea and, concurrently, in seas far from our shores. So, to remain relevant, we address the immediate concerns of today and at the same time track the challenges expected to arise in the mid- to long-term future.
My first and foremost strategic objective is to ensure that we retain the current deterrent capability and the ability to think and act adroitly with strategic effect. This will be done by focusing on how to best maintain and operate our assets and improve the training and education of our personnel. The ability to do more with the same or less is feasible, and the concept must permeate the entire chain of command. The question of “how much capability” is not quantitative but qualitative. At the same time, care will be taken in addressing international commitments, as directed by our political leaders. We must maintain our status as a dependable partner in promoting stability, and to that end, our navy is now bidding for taking command of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon Marine Operations.
Over the next 10–20 years, my main strategic goal is to set the foundation to operate a navy with the best-trained personnel and with sophisticated, agile, fully operational, and effective assets. We must stand ready to respond to a rapidly changing security environment and to issues regarding, among others, energy exploration and freedom of navigation. To achieve that, we must now invest wisely in both human and material resources. Making the correct choices today, with regard to the technologies that must be acquired and mastered in the next decade, is of vital importance and entails a multitude of decisions.
Further, an enduring goal remains being able to attract the right people and train them properly to maintain a highly capable and proficient naval force—a precondition for harvesting the fruits of peace and stability. We must make certain that the heavily burdened taxpayer believes that his contribution to our budget is providing the necessary returns.
Our navy has a storied heritage and has always been at the heart of Hellenic culture. Times may change, but values and principles remain. So, it is our sacred mission to ensure that we will maintain and deliver a naval force equivalent to its predecessors, projecting naval power and contining to be a major part of our national identity.