Admiral Luis Manuel Fourneaux Macieira Fragoso
Portugal faces both new and old challenges that impact global, regional, and local security. We also belong to a coalition that is maritime in nature. The main threat to a maritime coalition, which provides its members—all heavily dependent on maritime trade—global influence, is the denial of their use of the sea. Nothing contributes more to this than submarines and mines. Despite trends after the end of the Cold War, the Portuguese Navy did not downsize its antisubmarine-warfare capabilities. Now, we foresee the need to improve the training and capabilities of our undersea force.
At the onset of the 21st century, there are also new challenges related to the spread of Islamic terrorism, piracy, and large-scale transnational criminal activities. These disrupt states and maritime transportation and create great instability for the global economy and security. To avoid extremists’ and criminals’ exploitation of the sea, we need to improve our maritime situational-awareness capabilities, as well as our skills to fight asymmetric warfare at sea and other illicit maritime activities. Consequently, we consider the role coast guards play important, and for small countries such as Portugal they must be strongly tied to the navy, not only because of the natural synergies that result in effective missions but also for economic reasons. Furthermore, due to the archipelagic nature of our country (Continental Portugal, the Azores, and Madeira) and the large extension of Portuguese communities abroad in unstable areas, we predict the need for a national and independent sealift capability.
Partnering with other navies is essential in the international arena because it is the only way to face global challenges, which require sea control over large maritime areas and over different types of threats. Partnership must include information sharing, high levels of coordination, and training to perform as a team. For this to occur, there is a need to boost confidence levels between countries, maritime organizations, and command-and-control structures. We therefore see the need to engage deeply in naval diplomacy.
Combine this reality with cultural and historical links and we consider it crucial to continue to help the Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa develop their own navies and coast guards so they may fulfill their responsibilities in the maritime-safety and security environment.