Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis
For Greece, the maritime dimension of national security has been broadened to include challenges recently added to the international-security agenda. These challenges, such as piracy, terrorism, illegal immigration, human trafficking, and environmental disasters constitute issues of international interest and are national, regional, and global in context. The nature of these challenges shows the need for enhanced international cooperation in the global and regional context and for an interagency approach in the national context.
Even though our operational posture is dictated by our main mission statement of defending the territorial integrity, sovereign rights, and national interests of the Hellenic Republic, we are also committed in our capabilities to support and participate in all efforts to mitigate maritime- security challenges in areas of national interest. The prospect of Greece joining the oil- or natural-gas producing states community, with the exploitation of the hydrocarbon deposits discovered in the Ionian Sea, combined with the recent developments in the eastern Mediterranean, have highlighted the applicability of the navy to ensure maritime and energy security on the high seas. These developments have changed the security parameters in our area of strategic interest and may call for a more intense presence of the Hellenic Navy.
The service meets its numerous and multifaceted operational commitments by maintaining its core naval capabilities and by seeking innovative ways to achieve its mission with fewer resources. In an era of significant geopolitical developments and economic austerity, it is critical to develop and implement the needed organizational changes effectively and efficiently to meet the existing requirements. In my view, quality prevails over quantity, although we have taken issues like “critical mass” and “sufficient reserves” into consideration in the national defense-planning process. Additionally, turning our human resources into a credible force multiplier remains one of our highest priorities.
The fragmentation of maritime regimes calls for holistic approaches: the development of synergies between military, law enforcement, and civilian institutions, and above all, the joint effort of allies and partners. In that context, we look forward to enhancing our cooperation with navies that may offer added value to the security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. Furthermore, the new maritime-security environment calls for the development of new instruments toward improved maritime situational awareness. In that context, Greece supports the development of all relevant NATO and EU initiatives.