As economies across the globe continue to contract, navies, armies, and air forces are being told, if not, “do more with less” to at least “do the same with less.” Proceedings thus asked sea-service commanders around the world: What innovative efficiencies and economies are you implementing, or considering implementing, to improve force readiness?
Vice Admiral Kosmas Christidis
The economic recession in Greece has affected all sectors of society in a profound way, and the Hellenic Navy is determined to respond accordingly. At the same time, because it is an instrument of defense, security, and foreign policy, the navy is equally determined to preserve all its core capabilities.
That said, we also understand that in times of austerity, particular naval capabilities may seem too costly to be preserved. But there is a fine line between shrinking defense budgets and losing core capabilities. If a capability is completely lost from a Navy’s inventory, the financial burden of re-introducing it after a long period, in terms of training and infrastructure, would be disproportionately grave.
Thus we are continuously revising the navy’s budget structure, examining priorities and reallocating funds as needed to minimize expenditures, thereby supporting vital personnel and fleet maintenance programs. Reductions in administrative expenses already have been implemented, as has a systematic effort to bring greater fiscal efficiency to maintenance procedures.
While the budget shrinks, our operational commitments remain the same, or increase, so we seek innovative ways to maintain existing capabilities and readiness—namely a “ready-to-fight” fleet—with fewer resources. To that end, we are encouraging the design, development, and fielding of innovative technologies in cooperation with educational, research, and scientific institutions in the public and private sector..
Operational excellence is closely intertwined with the quality of our personnel. We are implementing human-resource policies based on the triptych of meritocracy, professionalism, and education, because we consider our personnel to be our primary force multiplier.
The safety and security of the maritime environment is a high priority for us as well. Consequently, to fulfill our mission we currently are focusing on cost-effective ways to improve maritime surveillance, command-and-control, the implementation of network-centric operations, and capabilities for search and rescue at sea. Additionally we enhance maritime-security awareness in our region through bilateral agreements with neighbors and being part of NATO and EU initiatives.
In sum, we improve force readiness by preparing our personnel to cope with old and new challenges through high standards in education and training, by investing in quality versus quantity, and last but not least, by acquiring capabilities rather than just platforms.