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 Carlos Tejada Mera
There are a variety of factors that influence decision making in national security. If we had to choose which trends have particularily affected the recent naval policy of Peru, we would point to the catastrophic impact of natural disasters in coastal areas, which require immediate and effective response; the current leading role of the Pacific Rim in the economy and world trade; and the inevitable request of states to contribute to world peace.
Natural disasters remind the world of its vulnerability to the forces of nature. Although prediction is not always possible, preventing the negative effects of these phenomena is a responsibility that lies with states. Peru is no stranger to this reality and is fully aware of the exposure that it has as a maritime country in the so-called “Ring of Fire of the Pacific,” placing the country directly in the core of the destructive effects of special phenomena. The Peruvian Navy (PN) plays a major role preventing and mitigating such events and providing HA/DR when they do occur. In this regard, in addition to strengthening the system of alerts and oceanographic studies, our shipbuilding program includes the building two landing platform docks, which are specially designed to respond to and provide HA/DR.
Many call this century the Pacific century, and the undeniable truth is this region has an increasingly important role in the global economy. In this sense, navies fulfill what is perhaps the oldest of their roles: to keep the lines of communication open and safe from at-sea criminal activities. Again, this need is reflected in our naval construction plan, which is focused in providing platforms of greater endurance. The PN has planned to build three 1,800-ton offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Coast Guard in order to improve its maritime surveillance and control capabilities. While the construction of these three units takes place, the PN has decided to transfer two Lupo-class frigates from the surface force to the Coast Guard (these frigates have been refitted as OPVs) and to build ten medium endurance patrol vessel (MEPVs) within the next few months.
Also, the PN continues to work with others navies to develop common procedures. Our participation in multinational exercises like RIMPAC, Unitas, Silent Force Exercise (SIFOREX), DESI (Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative), and Panamax, as well as our contribution in U.N. peacekeeping operations reinforce our commitment to global security. We have a strong relationship with the US. Navy, which is supported not only by exchanges of instruction and liaison officers but also through an increase in antisubmarine warfare as a result of the development of the DESI program and SIFOREX, which is conducted biannually off the coast of Peru. Since 2012 the PN has been a full member of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, allowing us not only to strengthen and improve our relationships but also to make significant bilateral agreements in order to increase our interoperability.
Peru is committed to stability and freedom of maritime trade; we are well aware that any disruption will have a huge impact on the global economy. Our location in the Pacific Basin requires the navy to be active in order to contribute to the safety of world trade and protection of the marine environment.