Events of the past year in Crimea, East Asia, and elsewhere have forced nations to reexamine their defense commitments and preparedness. Many major navies may be underinvested in high-end warfighting capabilities as a result of strategies that often emphasized low-threat environments. Maritime law enforcement, humanitarian assistance, and coastal security will remain important for fleets of all sizes, but larger militaries have now been reminded that they must also be prepared for high-threat contingencies if called into action.
This review of the world’s navies presents a snapshot of activities and developments during the past year. It is arranged by region, with nations discussed alphabetically under each subheading.