In today’s complex and dynamic threat environment, military leaders must effectively employ limited resources to execute their country’s national security strategy. Proceedings asked sea-service commanders around the world: It is often said that a nation’s national defense decisions are ultimately derived from its own sovereign interests. Given this presumption, what are the global trends that most influence your national security decision making and how does your navy use its operating policies, alliances, and partnerships to address these trends?
Admiral Giuseppe de Giorgi
The 21st century has been defined as the maritime century. International focus is drifting toward the sea. The maritime domain accounts for 90 percent of total global commerce. Demographic growth, climate change, desertification, and a growing demand for water and energy are creating an extraordinary tide of social, cultural, religious, and political unrest, as well as migration flows of biblical proportion.
Italy is by all means a maritime nation: Its future depends on the sea. This is due to obvious geographical reasons, as the country is in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. It is also related to its processing economy and the need for imported energy. For these reasons, maritime security in what we call the “Wider Mediterranean,” which encompasses the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Guinea, the Gulf of Aden, and the western Indian Ocean, represents a vital interest for Italy. Therefore, the navy is, and will be even more pivotal for our security and prosperity.
As the U.S. Navy shifts its focus to Asia, the naval presence in the Mediterranean is significantly reduced. Coastal countries are confronted with increased responsibilities to prevent criminal organizations from exploiting the gaps in maritime vigilance. The Italian Navy, then, will have to play a vital role in contributing to the security of the region, which will require valuable assets.
We are developing an innovative family of ships that will be high-performing and more versatile, benefiting from an extensive use of the modularity concept. From the outset, these units will be designed with enhanced dual-use capabilities. They will be fitted with a modular hospital, antipollution devices, and the ability to provide electrical power/drinkable water ashore, and to carry containers.
Our new ships will have a smaller environmental footprint, as they will further reduce polluting emissions by adopting liquefied natural gas, biofuel, and fuel cells for propulsion purposes. While they will have a reduced crew requirement there will be accommodations for additional personnel.
Among these ships, the multipurpose offshore patrol vessel deserves a special mention for her very high speed, long endurance, resilience, and seaworthiness. She will be able to respond rapidly at long distances to a broad array of emergency situations, even in very adverse weather conditions. This new family of ships will become the backbone of our navy, which will be more agile, affordable, greener, and better suited to face the challenges of the maritime century.