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?
Admiral E. Murat Bilgel
The complex and volatile nature of today’s security environment continuously expands our missions, increases operational tempo, and demands faster reaction times.
High operational tempo—something faced by almost all navies—could have detrimental consequences if ships are not properly maintained and their crews lack sufficient training. Such needs, considering today’s budget constraints, dictate innovative efficiencies and smarter use of resources to improve force readiness.
To meet that challenge the Turkish Navy uses analytical tools continuously to collect and analyze data regarding fundamental tenets of force readiness, to identify upward or downward trends, and to support decision-makers in taking timely precautionary measures.
A primary component of this process is the indigenously designed Organizational Strategic Analysis System, which monitors the current status of personnel, equipment, supply, training, and ordnance, then systematically analyzes the resultant statistics in support of manpower, training, logistics, and financial management. It allows the creation of alternative planning scenarios and evaluation of the consequent outputs, while also providing direct input into the planning, programming, and budgeting process—optimizing the balance between current and future readiness.
In search of an economically sustaining current-readiness level, then, we:
• Deploy an increasing number of maritime aircraft and submarines to replace surface platforms on a variety of missions.
• Strive to combine unit- and group-level training.
• Deploy assets near potential-risk areas for rapid reaction, with afloat-logistics units nearby to avoid long transits.
• Use simulators wherever possible.
• Are investigating the possibilities of biodiesel fuel.
• Participate in multinational exercises and operations in sharing burdens.
In the meantime, to efficiently exploit funding toward future readiness we use capability-based planning in an effort to meet all anticipated tasks by designing platforms requiring less manning and reduced fuel consumption. We also are prioritizing the use of unmanned air and underwater vehicles while developing maritime situational awareness capabilities to limit the use of platforms just for patrolling. As far as platforms go, we also will design and construct multipurpose platforms, collaborating closely with indigenous private shipyards to minimize cost and dependence on critical technologies.
Believing that well-trained and motivated people are the main driver of force readiness, we have improved the career pipeline to facilitate a correlation of manpower requirements with individual choices.
Readiness strategies are not limited to the navy, which means closer cooperation with other military services in being able to operate as part of a joint force, as well as promotion of multinational cooperation to benefit from pooling and sharing of resources. Additionally, the Turkish Navy recently established the Multinational Maritime Security Center of Excellence in the context of NATO’s “Smart Defence” initiative to fill gaps in maritime security.