Maritime forces continued to play a vital role this past year in diplomatic and military events around the globe. In every corner of the world navies and coast guards could be seen operating together, often as part of international coalitions formed to face down dictators, stand tall against pirates and criminals, and offer relief to those in distress. As many of those same countries lay claim to contested reefs, islands, and waterways, however, the world was also reminded that a primary purpose of navies is not only to cooperate, but also to protect sovereign national interests.
This review of international navies presents a snapshot of activities and developments during the past year. It is arranged by region, with nations discussed alphabetically under each subheading.
Australia has several warship programs nearing completion, but the government hopes to ensure shipyards remain active until the next round of ship-and-submarine construction commences.