Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, Chief of the Royal Australian Navy
Australia is responsible for the third largest maritime area in the world—one that is twice the size of its landmass. The challenges to our region’s maritime security are complex and evolving. However, we must embrace these inherent challenges while adapting to an environment that is enjoying steady growth and change.
In recent years, global events have underlined the enduring importance of upholding a rules-based global order, a responsibility in which all nations must play their part. This responsibility is no more evident than in the Indo-Pacific region. The prosperity of our region is based on the actions our nations have taken and continue to take to promote and defend good order at and from the sea. Safeguarding the stability and cooperation among nations that created the conditions for this prosperity requires concerted effort.
To enable Australia to continue to play a constructive leadership role in our region’s maritime security, we are modernizing our Navy through the acquisition of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels, the next generation Supply-class replenishment ships, the Hunter-class frigates, and the Attack-class submarines. A continuous process of design and construction will ensure our future capabilities remain current, relevant, and lethal. In addition, we recently accepted into service the landing helicopter dock ships HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra, 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, our first unmanned aircraft systems squadron, and the guided-missile destroyers HMAS Hobart and HMAS Brisbane.
We continue to strengthen our regional and global relationships by participating in a wide variety of international exercises. In 2019, the Indo-Pacific Endeavour deployment will see us exercise with and visit regional partners India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam—all nations that rely on the world’s oceans as part of their economies and ways of life.
As nations continue to find and define value in the maritime environment, there will be an increasing need for capable and professional naval and maritime forces to promote and foster good order at sea and cooperation among all who operate on, under, and above the sea. It will be important that actions by all mariners meet international maritime law standards and the collective aspirations of all who rely on access to, and resources from, our world’s oceans.
Rear Admiral Wim Robberecht, Commander of the Belgian Navy
The future is always uncertain. This uncertainty becomes even more significant as we witness the rapidly increasing complexity of the world, caused by exponential changes in the fields of sociology, economy, politics, environment, and technology. This intertwined complexity is determining the position the Belgian Defense Force wants to take in the global security environment—a flexible and adaptive mind-set. Moreover, Belgium will promote a Europe with a more predominant role as security provider rather than security consumer.
The stability of NATO’s southern flank is expected to remain under pressure in the coming years, and the position of Russia on the eastern periphery will determine, for many years, Europe’s security and military position. NATO clearly has answered these instabilities by focusing on the collective defense issues while Europe keeps its focus outside the military dimension. The roles of NATO and Europe are particularly complementary in reinforcing the integrity of East European member states against Russian interference.
The Belgian ports and seaward approaches are essential for the effectiveness of NATO’s collective defense and therefore must be kept free of mines at all times. The current minehunter fleet will be replaced in the 2021–30 timeframe. Six new naval mine countermeasures (MCM) vessels with modular toolboxes will be built, allowing for conceptual flexibility and adaptability to emerging technologies throughout their service lives. The Navy will keep a strong MCM capability for which it has an expertise recognized worldwide that will remain relevant in the future.
Surface combatant capability is important to protect sea lines of communication. It is our intention to improve in the short term the antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability of our two multipurpose frigates with the integration of the already acquired NATO frigate helicopter (NH90-NFH). In the next decade, these frigates will be replaced by two new ships as part of a Belgian-Dutch procurement program to become the spearheads of our contribution to NATO’s collective defense. The new surface combatants with dedicated ASW capability are essential to the protection of supply routes so vital for the Belgian and European economies.
Civilian and military ships are the most vulnerable when alongside the pier. The Belgian Navy will therefore develop a harbor-protection capability to counter pierside threats. The Navy will be able to engage this capability in an expeditious manner.
Admiral Ilques Barbosa Júnior, Commandant of the Brazilian Navy
There is growing worldwide concern about maritime and riverine security and the preservation of those ecological environments, mostly because of the increase in transnational crime, illegal fishing, armed robbery, piracy, and water pollution. Therefore, the Brazilian Navy has sought to increase its security operations in Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters (BJW) as well as in the international arena, especially in the south Atlantic Ocean. Other concerns include the need to emphasize the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Naval patrols have been intensified, aimed at protecting the maritime traffic responsible for 95 percent of Brazilian trade and guaranteeing the exploration of oil and gas resources.
The need to remain vigilant and able to confront all naval threats is indisputable. Even though no major naval conflict has occurred in the South American region, challenges are tough. International criminal networks make use of the maritime domain, and illegal and unregulated fishing remains an issue affecting Brazilian maritime interests as it depletes stocks of some species, either in the BJW or beyond.
To overcome forecasted budgetary constraints, the Brazilian Navy is investing in innovative solutions, such as establishing the Center for Integrated Maritime Security in 2018. This organization will contribute to better cooperation with regional navies and maritime situational awareness.
Regarding Brazilian Navy personnel, sailors and marines have been trained to deal with these threats through the implementation of extensive training programs in Brazil and a wide exchange program with friendly navies.
The Brazilian Navy also is seeking to modernize its fleet. The launching of the submarine Riachuelo by the Submarine Development Program in December 2018 is a good example of this modernization effort. She is the first in a series of four conventional submarines. The program also includes a nuclear-powered submarine to be commissioned in the next decade.
Surface force modernization will include the construction of four Tamandaré-class corvettes. Moreover, the Navy recently made acquisitions such as its new flagship, the multipurpose helicopter carrier Atlântico, in 2018, the Amazonas-class offshore patrol vessels in 2012–13, and the Mearim-class oceanic support ships in 2017–18.
Finally, future projects, such as the nuclear-powered submarine program, show the Brazilian Navy’s willingness to continuously progress and invest in science, technology, and personnel.
Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
The international security environment is characterized by great power rivalries and a shifting balance of power. It will continue to be predictably complex. Rapid technological change and increasing exploitation of the world’s oceans for trade, communications, food, and natural resources present a myriad of challenges. The importance of the maritime domain will continue to grow in what some academics refer to as the “maritime century.”
With three coastlines, Canada is not immune to any of these developments. To remain an effective instrument of national policy, as called for in the government of Canada’s defense policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” a modern, combat-effective navy, able to act decisively across the range of operations, with a willingness to adapt and innovate is needed. Currently, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is adapting approaches to recruiting, enterprise management, and crewing. New plans for employing existing and future platforms also are under consideration. Recently, we deployed one submarine each to the Asia-Pacific and Mediterranean regions, their most distant operations yet, demonstrating their global reach.
Looking to the future, the RCN is in the midst of a major fleet recapitalization, with plans to deliver warships each year over the next two decades that incorporate new and innovative technologies and systems. Responding to the challenge of an increasingly accessible Arctic, the first Arctic and offshore patrol vessel is now in the water, with five more ships due in coming years. Acquisition of two joint support ships is being advanced, while the project to acquire a new major surface combatant recently reached an important milestone. Once completed, these plans will have restored the RCN’s capacity to deploy and sustain two highly capable naval task groups.
Incorporating new technologies and systems aims to ensure the RCN’s ships and submarines can maintain presence and contribute to maritime domain awareness in Canada’s national waters and exclusive economic zone, be interoperable with key allies, and contribute to international missions for whatever purpose. We cannot know for certain what the future holds, but the RCN is guided by the belief that a technologically innovative and adaptable, agile, and globally deployable navy is essential in anticipating and responding to global developments.
Admiral Julio Leiva, Commander-in-Chief, Chilean Navy
For Chile, both defending the maritime domain and ensuring the control and security of its maritime interests falls to the Navy, which fulfills both tasks through its naval power and a specialized Coast Guard service. When necessary, Navy and Coast Guard tasks overlap because of the amount of space to be protected and an increasingly complex environment to control in the Chilean exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 1.6 million square miles, plus the offshore islands in the Pacific and our interests in Antarctica.
This integration, adopted since the Navy’s founding 200 years ago, has been beneficial to Chile, allowing us to use in an efficient way our material and human resources in fulfilling these two objectives. The country’s naval power not only supports the maritime services when and where necessary, but also allows them to perform their duties because of the overall security and protection it provides to Chilean maritime interests.
The Navy’s most significant security challenges in recent years have been generated by the government’s designation of protected maritime areas, which currently cover almost 43 percent of the nation’s EEZ. These areas must be protected from illegal and unregulated fishing, as they are generally very rich in biodiversity.
From our point of view, the response to these challenges cannot be based only on surveillance from electronic means such as satellites or global positioning systems. It also requires a real maritime control capacity, which will require a gradual increase in the presence of naval and/or civil maritime units able to operate for a longer duration, supported by aircraft and sometimes submarines, to patrol sectors where the sea state often demands large units, such as frigates. All of the above must be performed while still meeting regular training and international commitments.
Another aspect that has been enhanced is interagency coordination, since these new challenges not only involve maritime control tasks but also require the support of customs, immigration, fishing, and environmental authorities, with the Navy playing a leading role.
The most significant future challenge will undoubtedly be the human factor needed to operate in this complex environment that mixes civil maritime and naval aspects, but also the need to keep the oceans of the world open for trade. Chile is vitally dependent on the global maritime system because 95 percent of its exports and imports go by sea.
Rear Admiral Darwin Jarrín Cisneros, Commander-in-Chief of the Ecuadorian Navy
Ecuador by its nature is a maritime state. Its land area is approximately 175,000 square miles, whereas the maritime extension reaches 683,000 square miles. If by 2022 it becomes possible to extend the continental shelf by 160,000 square miles, the ratio of maritime territory to land will be 5.3 to 1. Also, knowing that more than 90 percent of international trade depends on shipping, it is right to emphasize the maritime nature of Ecuador. Therefore, the main elements of the Ecuadorian Navy are used to guarantee maritime security, in particular the fight against transnational threats (drug, fuel, and arms trafficking; theft of outboard motors; and illegal fishing) in our jurisdictional and nonjurisdictional waters.
Having an extended maritime domain in accordance with the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea makes it necessary to increase naval operations, especially in the jurisdictional spaces that surround the Galápagos Islands and international maritime spaces of interest for Ecuador. Unfortunately, the Navy’s budget for maintenance and support is not enough to ensure full control and surveillance of the maritime domain. This forces Ecuador to turn to interoperability with regional navies to fight common threats in the South Pacific region.
Technology and satellite platforms are becoming new support tools for efficient and effective execution of maritime tasks, which enable the Ecuadorian Navy to find more timely solutions in carrying out its main mission.
However, in implementing operational plans, Ecuador must face the illegal activities related to drug trafficking and fishing fleets in our jurisdictional waters. In 2017, illegal foreign fishing in the South Pacific was occurring at a high rate—there were approximately 300 foreign-flagged vessels (fishing, factory, tankers, and support vessels, among others) detected. In 2018, there were approximately 190 vessels detected, and this year the same problem continues on a smaller scale.
Looking to the future, our Navy will be prepared to provide humanitarian relief to nearby countries, given the increasing seismic activity along the Ring of Fire, where the seabed plates converge to cause subduction zones and natural disasters such as the earthquake that happened in Ecuador in 2016.
Finally, international cooperation under a legal framework is fundamental to deny the use of oceans to organized criminal networks, impede the indiscriminate exploitation of maritime resources, and help nations affected by natural disasters.
Commodore Jori Harju, Commander of the Finnish Navy
The 2014 outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine has generated chain reactions around Europe, mainly in increasing defense budgets and shifting focus toward more operational armed forces, as well as demanding increased readiness of military forces in the region.
The Baltic Sea region is a stable but confined area. However, an increase in military activity and presence there is a fact. Even though this increased activity is directly related to a growing number of exercises, it is still a development one would choose to avoid in one’s own backyard.
Increased military activity in the region is not only the result of an increased Russian military presence. Finland hosted the Northern Coasts 18 exercise during the latter part of 2018, which brought many Western navies to the region. Roughly 40 vessels and 30 aircraft and more than 1,000 troops attended the exercise, which can be considered a great success.
The Finnish Navy has been in a good situation regarding manning and operations in recent years. We are not suffering from any recruitment problems, and thanks to our conscript training system we also have a large enough pool of citizens from which to recruit. Thanks to the territorial defense doctrine, we have had the opportunity to concentrate on our main task in our own area of operations, even though the security environment has changed.
The Finnish Navy has not suffered from budgetary constraints since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine. In fact, we have received increased financing for our acquisitions in the coming years. Squadron 2020 is the next significant acquisition for the Finnish Navy. It will consist of four corvettes that will meet the anticipated operational scenario in the coming decades. The vessels are equipped to respond to different present and future threat scenarios. The capabilities at sea and in the archipelago are complemented by coastal troops who are key players in littoral warfare—an area which is waxing in influence and expanding in complexity and operational depth, as standoff distances between naval assets are increasing.
The Finnish Navy will maintain a credible deterrence capability in the ever-changing security environment, now and into the future.
Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, Chief of the German Navy
The developments in recent years have shown the fragility and volatility of the political and security landscape around Europe. This is reflected in the German government’s 2016 defense white paper, which balances collective and national defense with the tasks of international crisis management. Germany’s spheres of interest in the maritime domain are defined in it as well. They range from the northern flank—the North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Baltic Sea—down to the Mediterranean and extend into the wider Indian Ocean region.
While the North Atlantic and North Sea, as well as the Baltic Sea region, are of particular interest with regard to our national and collective defense obligations as part of NATO and the European Union, safe and secure sea lines of communication are of vital interest to Germany as a nation engaged in worldwide maritime trade. At the same time, the German Navy must continue its commitment to international crisis management operations. This requires a German fleet capable of providing both brown- and blue-water capabilities simultaneously.
Following the white paper, the “Capability Profile of the Armed Forces” was released in September 2018. This classified paper defines the capabilities and main adaptations for the German armed forces until 2031 and identifies the need for increased defense expenditures to realize it.
Thus, the defense budget for 2019 grows to 1.34 percent of GDP—or $49.2 billion (a 12 percent increase from 2018). It is the German government’s declared intention to further expand defense expenditures to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2025 and remain a major troop contributor within NATO.
The “Capability Profile” notes that the German Navy will—inter alia—add at least one surface or subsurface combatant to the fleet per year until 2030.
To foster NATO’s command-and-control capabilities, the German Navy stood up the German Maritime Forces Staff earlier this year, providing the nucleus for the Baltic Maritime Component Command (BMCC). It is planned that starting in 2025 the BMCC will be added to NATO’s long-term rotation plan as a maritime headquarters focused on, but not limited to, the northern flank.
The German Navy is on its way to face current and future security challenges with a closer focus on the wider Baltic area and the northern flank, but also with a 360-degree readiness. Germany and the German Navy are willing to take on more responsibility and are ready for the challenges ahead.
Vice Admiral Nikolaos Tsounis, Chief of the Hellenic Navy Staff
The change in the global security environment and its effects in the maritime domain have had an impact on the traditional tasks navies worldwide are assigned. This trend has forced the Hellenic Navy to adopt a more holistic approach to serve multiple tasks, while remaining capable of fully responding to its primary mission of protecting national sovereignty and interests. Closer collaboration with the Army and Air Force by sharing mutual capabilities and developing joint procurement programs has mitigated the increased costs associated with taking on additional tasks. Moreover, an orchestrated exploitation of all our capabilities (surveillance, detection, and interception) and interagency synergies has enhanced our deterrence capacity. Our efforts have focused on identifying opportunities emerging from this situation to do more with less, without compromising safety.
The Hellenic Coast Guard, operating in the same environment with the Navy as a key maritime safety enabler, amplified its footprint in the Aegean Sea, operating new and more capable units. The optimization of available resources has drastically improved Navy-Coast Guard collaboration.
Regional bilateral and/or multilateral synergies and initiatives aiming to operationalize maritime awareness information are ongoing and multifaceted endeavors in which the Hellenic Navy actively participates. Moreover, through our defense diplomacy we build collaborative networks with Mediterranean partners by drafting security agreements to exchange information in the maritime domain.
The change in the maritime security environment did not affect our personnel recruitment or the ability to retain and motivate the right people. Our personnel are our primary force multiplier, and all recruitment and career processes are based on merit, professionalism, and high-level education and training.
The severe budget cuts stemming from the financial crisis forced tough choices but also inspired new thinking toward innovative solutions. Drafting a future vision takes into account all keystone technological developments that will allow the Navy to tackle current and future challenges. Procurement and modernization programs are under way to implement this vision and are focused on hybrid and asymmetric threats, antisubmarine warfare, and mine countermeasures, all in line with NATO’s areas of interest.
For many years the Hellenic Navy has been a cornerstone of regional security and prosperity, while our national mission is to protect our country and preserve our strategic interests. We learn and adapt, always improving, striving to the limits of performance. We depend on our creativity, our entrepreneurism, our professionalism, and our multifaceted military diplomacy.
The Hellenic Navy deters aggression and enables peaceful resolution of crises according to our national policy and international law. However, if deterrence fails, we stand ready to conduct decisive combat operations to defeat any adversary.
Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Indian Naval Staff
The maritime security environment in India’s areas of interest is best described as a complex intertwining of opportunities and threats. With the rapidly growing geoeconomic—and consequently geopolitical—profile of several Indo-Pacific nations, it is widely acknowledged that the future trajectory of global growth will be defined by this region. Large youthful populations, significant untapped resources, and growing domestic markets provide the ingredients for exponential growth in Indo-Pacific nations.
At the same time, a deepening strategic uncertainty in international relations and the rise of competition among various powers have raised the threat of conflict among states. Ongoing conflicts and widespread instability in west Asia remain a cause for concern, in terms of both energy security and the safety of the millions of Indians who reside in that region. Furthermore, particularly in India’s neighborhood, continued use of extremist proxies has deepened the trust deficit and undermined regional security.
Nontraditional threats such as transnational crime, maritime piracy, and illegal fishing have necessitated effective response. Reports of a growing nexus between criminal and terrorist organizations have made these threats even graver. Finally, natural disasters have continued to impact human security in the neighborhood with unfortunate regularity.
The Indian Navy has implemented a number of initiatives, both unilaterally and in coordination with our partners, to ensure a safe, secure, and positive environment in our extended maritime region. Our forces maintain a near-continuous presence in critical areas, providing a high degree of situational awareness and mission readiness to effectively respond to a number of contingencies.
We also have expanded our cooperative engagement across the region and now undertake more than 20 bilateral and multilateral exercises each year. These foster a high degree of mutual trust and interoperability, enabling optimal coordination in pursuit of common objectives. Through a large number of white shipping information exchange arrangements and the operationalization of the Information Fusion Center for the Indian Ocean region, we have enhanced maritime domain awareness for all partners in the region. In addition, we continue to support multilateral initiatives, such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, to enable cooperative solutions to the region’s security challenges.
The Indian Navy continues to grow in step with India’s expanding interest in the maritime domain. Our plans envision consolidating our capabilities to evolve as a balanced, multidimensional force capable of meeting our future objectives.
Admiral Siwi Sukma Adji, Chief of Naval Staff of the Indonesian Navy
Amid a dynamic maritime security environment in the region, the Indonesian Navy has adapted and shifted the main focus of its naval posture. In recent years, we have been improving our capability by modernizing the fleet, focusing on ensuring a minimum essential force (MEF). The Navy needs some improvements and significant changes to do this. Therefore, when first promoted to Chief of the Indonesian Navy I declared my vision—to ensure Indonesia has a professional and modern Navy that is a regional projection naval force with a global commitment. Updating the capabilities of naval defense, sea transport, force projection, and naval assets is a commitment that must accommodate a balance among national end states, economic development, and national defense.
Currently, the Navy’s capabilities have been directed to tackle any maritime security issue and a series of natural disasters. Endeavoring to reverse the Navy’s capability gap, the government increased the budget to replace aging platforms, weapons, and sensors to focus on sea control and amphibious power projection, especially for noncombat and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. The government also renewed its National Maritime Doctrine to aim Indonesia forward to becoming a global maritime fulcrum.
Organized into three fleets and three marine forces, the Indonesian Navy is structured according to four missions: strike, force projection, maritime patrolling, and logistical support. This organization is expected to ensure the Navy is more capable and adaptive in dealing with maritime events and challenges, notably natural disasters, piracy, and sea crime, as well as strengthening joint patrols, joint exercises, and operations with U.N. forces. The Navy is designed to conduct sea control, deterrence, and power projection in all national maritime jurisdictions, to deploy in response to natural disasters in the region, and to contribute globally to peace operations under the U.N. flag.
In addition, the Navy must improve in areas of intelligence, integrated logistic support, special warfare (such as cyber, information, electronic, and counterterrorism, and nuclear, biological, and chemical response), hydrographic mapping, and maritime support.
To support naval and defense development, indigenous defense industries are still the top priority for defense procurements. This includes the immediate construction of frigates, landing ships, hospital ships, submarines, fast-attack patrol craft, aircraft, and amphibious vessels. The Navy also will have a growing inventory of weapons, ships, and persistent surveillance capabilities.
In addition to cutting-edge technologies, the Navy requires highly educated, trained, and professional naval personnel. Meeting this need will require more comprehensive analysis on the best strategies to develop its people.
While making these improvements, the Navy is not missing a step in carrying out its core military missions, such as maritime diplomacy and security patrols.
Vice Admiral Eliyahu Sharvit, Commander-in-Chief of the Israeli Navy
On 14 July 2006, the Sa’ar 5-class corvette INS Hanit was hit by a Hezbollah-launched C-802 antiship cruise missile, resulting in the deaths of four combat soldiers and substantial damage to the ship and its systems. This incident is a case where assumptions are undermined by an event that can be characterized as a surprise. How, as a Navy, do we handle the need to operate in a new reality of uncertainty? How do we use the incident for long-term force buildup, growth, and trust within the organization? In retrospect, this incident attests to a gradual change the enemy was undergoing, one the Israeli Navy failed to recognize. A decade later, the Navy is going through a structural and perceptual transformation unlike anything it has gone through since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. An examination of enemy transformation along with new vectors in the maritime operational arena have led the Navy to become better equipped for future challenges.
One of the main changes is that the Navy now shoulders the strategic task of protecting Israel’s energy independence. Israel’s energy market is currently based almost entirely on the natural gas found and produced at sea, making it vulnerable. One attack on a natural gas rig can cause devastating strategic damage.
Lebanese Hezbollah also is targeting the maritime arena and has been at work building a significant offensive missile force. Not long ago, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nassrallah, announced this missile force threatens Israel’s natural gas resources and can in effect create a naval blockade. As Israel’s import and export capabilities rely almost entirely on the sea, such a blockade would be destructive to the Israeli economy. The Navy was suddenly operating in an arena where its enemy’s missiles threatened Israel’s territorial and economic waters, and the Navy lacked the necessary tools to achieve naval superiority.
This demanded a new set of innovative and creative solutions. Three years ago the Navy began regaining naval superiority through a force buildup. In addition, the Navy began to implement changes in the decision-making process by transforming the operational command structure, building its team as a lighthouse—a tower that possesses the knowledge and intelligence needed to make well-informed and calculated decisions in one unified space. In this new structure, all components—operations, intelligence, command and control—necessary to make real-time decisions are under one umbrella, with the resources to maintain close communication with the force at sea.
Simultaneously, the Navy is steering its technological teams toward the new generation of threats and is investing in understanding and developing the necessary responses.
The Navy also is expanding its capabilities through cooperation and exercises with partners and allies around the globe, working together on areas of common interest.
Organizational change is a complicated task and even more so when the organization is operational and must maintain constant readiness. These changes cut at the beating heart of the Navy’s operational capabilities, demanding courage and perseverance. Yet the Israeli Navy is already seeing improved operational outcomes through exercises and the various processes led by the new operational command.
Admiral Valter Girardelli, Chief of the Italian Navy
In the past few years, some nations’ disregard of international law to gain commercial and military advantage has largely hampered the maritime domain. The Chinese “nine-dash line” doctrine being imposed in the South China Sea and Russia’s very recent naval blockade of the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea are examples of a new form of “maritime lawfare” that has security implications worldwide.
Notwithstanding the increased trend of maritime clashes and frictions, too often public opinion is deeply concerned only about issues related to other global commons such as cyber and space, underestimating the overarching value of the sea for their economic well-being.
Moreover, unconventional and hybrid threats to maritime security, such as international terrorism at sea, unregulated fishing, illegal migration by sea, natural disasters, maritime pollution, and unfair exploitation of seabed resources, have toxic reverberations in our societies.
The Italian Navy is actively engaged to face those multidimensional and multidisciplinary issues and accomplish its missions and tasks through four functional areas, tightly connected:
- National defense and maritime security through our assets at sea, supporting national commitments or operating within NATO, the European Union, or coalition operations
- Capacity development to build a modern, flexible, and versatile fleet—multipurpose by design and able to cover the full range of operations from high to low end; and to create a proper national maritime culture, working with think tanks, universities, and other government agencies
- International engagement that embraces a broad range of activities, from traditional naval diplomacy to maritime capacity building by organizing and participating in international symposia and events on maritime issues
- Support to the “countrywide system” by promoting Italian industries and products worldwide and by ensuring the Navy has the skills and training to assist government agencies if disaster relief and humanitarian assistance are needed.
The main goal of these efforts is to enrich national resilience to cope with all threats and challenges coming from the sea—to make the country safer and stronger.
Finally, in times of shrinking budgets and personnel reductions, it is of utmost importance that there is a mind-set change toward a more robust maritime culture in our society and within international organizations.
In the coming years, the Italian Navy—through seamless action carried out at sea and staff work in the headquarters—will direct its efforts to fight
seablindedness in our societies, because safer seas mean greater progress and prosperity for our country and for the whole world.
Admiral Yutaka Murakawa, Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Japan is a maritime nation surrounded by seas and enjoys peace and stability thanks to the benefits of an open and stable ocean. The security environment surrounding Japan has become more challenging than expected, however, because of the military buildup and activities of neighboring nations with strong military power.
As the security environment changes, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) is diversifying its operations. For example, it is undertaking intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations, counterpiracy operations, capacity-building assistance, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Meanwhile, as our capabilities in the space, cyber, and electromagnetic domains must adapt to the future operational environment, the JMSDF’s posture should be reformed. And given our nation’s declining population and aging society, recruiting top-quality members is a pressing issue.
Given this situation, the National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-Term Defense Program were revised for the first time in five years so we can overcome present and future challenges and acquire sustainable and robust capabilities.
The JMSDF will strengthen our personnel and operational foundation. We will enhance the availability and operational rate of our assets, giving us the ability to deal flexibly and strategically with incidents at all levels.
In addition to our own capability development, we recognize the necessity of cooperating with other nations for the peace and stability of a vast ocean area. The JMSDF will continue contributing to maritime order by further promoting multilateral security cooperation, with the Japan-U.S. alliance at its center, in line with the “free and open Indo-Pacific” vision.
In particular, the JMSDF will promote multifaceted and multilayered bilateral and multilateral cooperation through ISR operations against illegal ship-to-ship transfers, Indo-Pacific deployments, joint exercises, and personnel interactions such as high-level dialogue.
I am convinced these activities will lead to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and even to increased prosperity in the international community.
Republic of Korea
Admiral Sim Seung-seob, Chief of Naval Operations, Republic of Korea
The security environment of the Korean Peninsula faced a historic transition point in 2018, and there are both opportunities and challenges ahead. Recently, tensions have been high on the Korean Peninsula because of North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations. Despite the strong warnings and pressures imposed by the international community, North Korea continued to elevate tension in 2017 not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the international community through numerous strategic provocations such as nuclear and long-range missile tests.
However, the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics served as an opportunity to restore peace on the Korean Peninsula, and we were able to shape a new security environment through three inter-Korean summits and the June 2018 U.S.-North Korea summit. The Republic of Korea (ROK) and North Korea have been building trust since November 2018 in accordance with the “September 19 Inter-Korean Military Agreement.” Furthermore, various measures have been taken to ease military tensions on the peninsula, such as establishing a buffer zone near the Northern Limit Line in the East and West Seas. While we are working step-by-step to open “a new era of peace and prosperity,” the North Korean nuclear issue remains the biggest challenge to the ROK.
The relationships among nations in the region are a potential challenge for the ROK Navy. There are numerous potential factors for conflict near Korean Peninsula waters. Northeast Asian countries are prioritizing large, strong navies to protect their own interests, such as territorial disputes. As a result, volatility and instability in the maritime security environment is higher than ever before. Nevertheless, if the ROK can overcome these challenges, this can be a chance for us to become a bridge to connect surrounding nations.
The ROK Navy will continue to enhance its maritime operational capabilities to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction threats until complete denuclearization and permanent peace are restored. We will maintain a strong readiness posture to respond to conventional threats. The ROK Navy will make its utmost effort to manage the situation to prevent conflict while adhering to the Inter-Korean Military Agreement. The ROK Navy also will maintain a rapid-response posture based on real-time intelligence sharing between the ROK and the United States to respond to potential military and nonmilitary threats.
The ROK Ministry of National Defense is actively pursuing “National Defense Reform 2.0” to independently and completely respond to current and potential North Korean military and nonmilitary threats. The 2019 national defense budget will be $41.2 billion, an 8 percent increase from last year, to support such a policy and secure necessary requirements.
As part of National Defense Reform 2.0, the ROK Navy is reforming its units to respond effectively to multifaceted threats and working to build forces with the latest cutting-edge technologies. Manning will be focused primarily on operational units to ensure effective and elite forces in a future where our population will decrease.
The ROK Navy will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2045. We will continue our work to become a true blue-water navy. We will commit ourselves to respond flexibly to an ever-changing maritime security environment and play a major role in ensuring peace, prosperity, and stability on the Korean Peninsula and at sea.
Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán, Secretary of the Navy of Mexico
The strategic relevance of Mexico derives both from its proximity to the United States, with whom it shares the second longest border in the world, and from being considered a hinge country that is both part of the North American bloc and a Latin American country that adjoins the South with Central America and the Caribbean.
In the Mexican maritime space, national sovereignty, human life at sea, communication lines by sea, ports, and renewable and nonrenewable natural resources encompass national maritime interests that Mexico protects against any risk or threat.
In this regard, the Mexican Navy is responsible for guaranteeing such security, performing the functions of a navy, coast guard, and national maritime authority. These translate into multiple tasks, including the maritime defense of the territory, maintenance of the rule of law, safeguarding of human life at sea, and even marine pollution research so that Mexico contributes to regional and global security with free, clean, and secure seas.
In recent years, accelerated technological change poses a challenge to maritime security, because new and innovative modes of communication are used by transnational criminal organizations, who also have faster speed boats, better navigation systems, more accurate detection systems, increasing global interconnectivity, semisubmersibles, and even submarines and buoys for marking out caches of illicit cargo.
The Mexican Navy’s diverse tasks demand the optimal use of its budget, through greater precision in naval intelligence and maritime domain awareness and stronger information networks to increase interoperability. This requires greater professionalism and quality training for the naval personnel.
At the same time, the Mexican Navy has strengthened strategic partnerships with navies and coast guards of other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Colombia, with whom there are permanent academic and information exchanges, as well as maritime cooperation operations against illicit maritime traffic.
The Mexican Navy will seek to grow stronger by improving its precision and interconnectivity and its interoperability with friendly countries for local, regional, and global maritime security.
Vice Admiral Rob Kramer, Commander, Royal Netherlands Navy
The mission of the Royal Netherlands Navy is to provide safety and security at and from the sea. Our Navy-Marine Corps team must operate globally, cross-domain, and throughout the entire range of conflict. In this uncertain and unstable world, it is important to have a clear course that also guarantees the continuity and relevance of the Navy in the long term. The nation’s maritime security environment has changed, leading to a renewed focus on the North Atlantic. The Navy is changing its course as laid down in my Sail Plan 2030. This plan focuses on five lines of development: continuity, governance, operations, personnel, and materiel. Each has a clear target for the year 2030, with accompanying strategic objectives and activities to achieve those objectives.
Our people remain our greatest asset and the source of our combat power. A balanced annual plan for operations must provide pause and predictability, and must contribute to the retention and recruitment of personnel. From now on, high-end warfare will be given top priority in preparing the fleet and marines for combat.
Our commitment to NATO remains strong, and the Navy continually has been contributing to NATO’s missions and standing naval forces. In 2020, the Netherlands will lead the Amphibious Task Group of the NATO Response Force, which will incorporate Belgian, British, and German units.
In March 2018, the Netherlands published its latest defense white paper, entitled “Investing in Our People, Capabilities and Visibility.” The focus of capability replacement, modernization, and sustainment will be on high-end warfare—antisubmarine, antiair (including missile defense), amphibious, and mine warfare operations. Parliament has approved replacement (from 2027 onward) of our four Walrus-class submarines with new state-of-the-art diesel-electric submarines. Replacement of the mine countermeasures (MCM) capacity and M-class frigates is being done in cooperation with our strategic partner Belgium, with whom the Navy is fully integrated. The new MCM platforms will support a shift to standoff MCM capability using a full suite of unmanned and autonomous vehicles.
The replacement for the M-class frigates will once again focus on antisubmarine warfare. The ships will be equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, and NH-90 helicopters and will have further-reduced manning. To meet the white paper’s requirements for improved sustainability at sea, a combat support ship will be procured quickly (delivery expected in 2023). In cooperation with knowledge institutes and industrial partners, we will continue to develop the ballistic-missile-defense capability of our air defense frigates. The marines also are developing new concepts for operations in the littorals with new connectors and other equipment. The new ships and developments will enable the Royal Netherlands Navy to fulfill its missions now and in the future.
Rear Admiral David Proctor, Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy
As a small independent trading nation, New Zealand encounters a maritime security environment challenged by stresses on the rules-based international order, compounded by a range of complex disruptors including climate change, new technologies, extremist ideologies, and transnational organized crime.
New Zealand recognizes climate change as one of its greatest security challenges. The impacts will require more humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, stability operations, and search-and-rescue missions. Climate change refugees risk destabilizing areas with weak governance, magnifying traditional security challenges. As part of an integrated defense force, our Navy must be at its best when things are at their worst. Climate change will demand greater resilience in seakeeping of our ships and sailors, even as sea-level rise threatens our bases.
The changes create tensions in a small defense force, blurring the lines between discretionary and nondiscretionary challenges. The Royal New Zealand Navy must maintain its regional power-projection capability, credibly contribute to coalition task forces, conduct constabulary operations from the equator to the Southern Ocean, and connect regional maritime forces to larger coalition task forces—while remaining combat-capable and credible.
New Zealand’s “Pacific Reset” emphasizes greater coordination of effort by all stakeholders with an interest in the Pacific. For its part, the Navy is increasingly active in the region, responding to security challenges and natural disasters, and assisting Pacific Island partners with enforcement of their laws within their exclusive economic zones.
Increased interest and activity in Antarctica create a requirement for New Zealand to understand what is happening in southern regions and to maintain a regular presence unconstrained by weather and sea conditions.
Piracy remains a threat to the international trading system, but thanks to the efforts of the international community has been reduced to manageable levels. This does not mean piracy is less of a hazard, but success at curbing it enables a refocus to higher priority areas.
The Navy’s response to these challenges is to exploit synergies from the integrated defense force and increase the fleet—if not in numbers, certainly in tonnage, capability, and lethal force. Our combat ships, the Anzac-class frigates, are having their weapons, sensors, and self-defense systems upgraded. HMNZS Endeavour, at 7,300 tons, will be replaced by the maritime sustainment capability Aotearoa (24,000 tons). The dive tender HMNZS Manawanui (900 tonnes) will be replaced by a dive hydro vessel (5,500 tons). But it is not just about ships. We have refreshed our maritime doctrine and assessed what sort of organization the Navy will need to be from 2025 into the future.
These larger, more capable ships require larger, more skilled crews and also will have other significant through-life costs to be managed. A defense capability plan review is currently under way in which the government is considering how to prioritize competing defense requirements over the coming decades. It will determine how government best can manage its ongoing investment in our defense force, including both the capital and operating costs of capabilities, ensuring New Zealand is able to continue responding to an increasingly challenging strategic environment.
By 2025, New Zealand’s Navy will be more modern, active, lethal and better able to advance our interests from the sea. By cooperating with like-minded navies, we will maximize our enhanced combat capability and play a credible role in maintaining the rules-based international order.
Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of Naval Staff, Nigerian Navy
Nigeria’s maritime environment is a vast sea area endowed with abundant deposits of hydrocarbons. It is also home to a substantial biodiversity of marine resources and provides a cost-effective medium for movement of goods and services. The connectedness of the maritime domain, particularly within the Gulf of Guinea, indicates that developments in distant maritime areas could have an immediate and direct impact on Nigeria’s prosperity and security. For these reasons, the Nigerian Navy has over the years focused on improving its capacity to underwrite maritime security within Nigeria’s immediate waters and across the Gulf of Guinea. This has enabled the Navy to achieve a sharper focus in capacity development, budgeting, and operational approaches to meet the changing security demands within its maritime area of interest.
Recent security developments within Nigeria’s maritime environment stem largely from nonmilitary causes such as socioeconomic agitations, rising populations, unemployment in coastal communities, and the illicit activities of local and foreign collaborators. The manifestations include attacks on shipping, sabotage of the hydrocarbon infrastructure, maritime-resource theft, diverse forms of illicit trafficking, and marine pollution. The increasing mutation and migratory tendencies of these challenges across national borders expose systemic limitations to maritime presence and law enforcement at sea.
Fortunately, recent efforts by Nigeria, in concert with its neighbors and partner nations, have proven useful in containing the associated threats. For instance, the 2013 Yaounde Declaration between members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and members of the Economic Community of Central African States led to the adoption of an interregional code of conduct to facilitate inter-navy cooperation. Under the ECOWAS Integrated Maritime Strategy, the Nigerian Navy—along with ECOWAS Zone E navies and the gendarmerie of the Niger Republic—also recently endorsed a memorandum of understanding for joint patrols of their common maritime domain. Internally, drawing from its Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy, the Nigerian Navy has sustained the operational concept of “maritime trinity of action” comprising surveillance capabilities, response initiatives, and law enforcement to combat maritime crime.
Consistent funding in the past three years has positively impacted the
Navy’s surveillance and maritime domain awareness infrastructure. The Navy has acquired offshore patrol vessels, seaward defense boats, and more than 200 inshore patrol craft, while a concurrent effort has been made to encourage operational training and indigenous shipbuilding capacity. Naval security stations also have been established at strategic locations along the coast as part of a “choke-point concept” to check illicit activities. The Navy, in conjunction with maritime law-enforcement agencies, has articulated a harmonized procedure to enhance the synergy among stakeholders in the arrest and prosecution of maritime offenders.
The totality of the aforementioned efforts has increased regional collaboration, resulting in more vectored patrols and increased efficiency in naval operations. Considering the security gains thus far, the Nigerian Navy intends to consolidate current collaborative efforts, sustain fleet renewal and expand its maritime domain awareness infrastructure. Additional effort also will be made to expand operational and technical training, and to introduce various healthcare and welfare initiatives. Finally, the Navy will continue its indigenous shipbuilding initiatives, training in special operations, and manpower development for a more robust force in the future.
Rear Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes, Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy
A rapidly changing security landscape characterized by highly capable forces, long-range precision weapons, and use of hybrid-warfare tactics means more maritime instability, complexity, and uncertainty. This has led to an increased operational tempo for the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) and growing demand for naval presence and security in our region. The Coast Guard is an integral part of the RNoN. In addition to security threats, environmental changes affect fishing and maritime transportation routes in the high north, increasing demand for law-enforcement assets. Both the Navy and Coast Guard have seen budget increases.
The current government white paper prioritizes situational awareness, improved readiness levels, combat power, and survivability. Through Coast Guard operations, the Navy exercises authority in designated areas. Simultaneously, the fleet contributes to NATO’s collective defense to credibly deter adversaries.
Changes in the security environment impact the defense budget and focus. A budget increase of 30 percent from 2015 to 2019 underlines this fact, as in the same period inflation has been 11 percent. The funding aims to secure a higher rate of presence in strategic areas and higher levels of performance within “high-end warfare.” More time is spent at sea in operations or in preparation for operations. In addition, more money is spent enhancing the technical performance of the ships, leading to higher technical capability supporting readiness.
However, it is not only technical capability that matters. Platforms and equipment must be manned. The Navy therefore increased the number of crews on our frigates and submarines in advance of 2020, leading to higher availability, endurance, and readiness on our vessels.
Investments in strategic capabilities with high levels of survivability and capability ensure that use of force will carry an unacceptable cost to any adversary. The procurement of four new submarines is an example. Furthermore, the Coast Guard plans to secure a steadfast presence in strategically important fishing and other resource areas, and for this reason it will be augmented with three new blue-water ships in the coming years. Helicopter integration also will provide an extended operational reach.
The ever-changing security landscape, coupled with Norway’s strategic constants—access to the North Atlantic, Arctic sea lines of communication, rich maritime resources, and having Russia as a neighbor—will continue to guide our priorities of safeguarding Norwegian sovereignty.
Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, Chief of the Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy
The global environment appears to be transitioning from cooperation to competition with deep impacts in the maritime domain. Ongoing conflicts in Pakistan’s extended neighborhood have resulted in threats of maritime terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking, and human smuggling. Tensions between the United States and Iran make the Gulf an area of increased risk and uncertainty, which affects maritime security in our region. Furthermore, the nuclearization of the Indian Ocean and proliferation of submarines and long-range weapons in our immediate neighborhood complicate an already troubled sea. Transformation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor into a functional reality would mean enhanced maritime commercial activities in and around Gwadar Port. Our trade substantially depends on ocean routes, and nearly all our oil imports come by sea. Our reliance on the sea requires the Navy to meet the myriad threats testing our ability to keep safe our ports, sea lanes, and economic zones. Threats range from traditional to nontraditional, with an ominous mix of hybrid ones, which at times are hard to discern and counter.
Pakistan’s Navy is a well-balanced force fully capable of coping with the entire range of these challenges. It has been participating in regional and international efforts and initiatives to maintain good order at sea. The Navy’s support to Combined Maritime Forces, operating under the auspices of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, exemplifies our commitment to the common goal of ensuring freedom of navigation and the uninterrupted flow of sea trade. Concurrently, the Pakistan Navy has recently instituted “regional maritime security patrols” to fulfill international obligations for maritime security in our area of interest.
As always, the Pakistan Navy budget is aligned with our national aspirations and security concerns. Our Navy has a clear long-term plan for progressive modernization and capacity building. Emerging challenges do pose a strain on the Navy’s budget, and so it looks for economical solutions to contemporary security problems.
The current maritime security environment clearly necessitates strengthening our Navy’s core warfighting capabilities for both conventional and “gray zone” challenges. We aim to develop diverse capabilities in the surface, subsurface, air, and cyberspace domains to meet these challenges. Over the past few years, the Pakistan Navy has transformed from a platform-centric to a net-centric force with better maritime domain awareness and the ability to quickly respond to any situation. Manpower requirements have grown accordingly, and we are focusing on maintaining high-quality human resources through rigorous training in line with contemporary trends.
Our Navy is rightly configured and doctrinally aligned to protect Pakistan’s maritime interests against all forms of conventional and unconventional threats.
Admiral Fernando Cerdán, Commander of the Peruvian Navy
The sea is a relevant and prevailing Peruvian resource. Peru’s coasts are home to 60 percent of its population, and the sea accounts for about 90 percent of the nation’s international trade and has a marked influence on communication. Harbors, fishing, trading, mining, sports, culture, and oil exploitation, among other factors, impact the national debate on what is necessary to defend and promote use of the sea in the context of systematic security.
The Peruvian Navy’s primary role is to guarantee territorial sovereignty and integrity. Thus, its constitutional mandate includes exercising control, surveillance, and defense in the maritime, riverine, and lacustrine domains. It accomplishes this through the training and readiness of personnel and material and through participation in joint and combined operations at the national and international levels.
The changing operational environment has increased the action, functions, and responsibilities of the Navy. Today’s threats are not exclusive to any particular country; on the contrary, nations increasingly face common emerging threats. These include drug trafficking; weapons and explosives smuggling; illegal oil smuggling; piracy; illegal fishing; terrorism; and illegal logging, migration, and mining. Natural disasters also increasingly affect populations.
In the past few years, Peru’s maritime security has been characterized by ambiguity and complexity in the form of asymmetric and transnational threats that are exponentially increasing.
As a result, we have identified the following maritime security threats and challenges: traditional defense, domestic security, illegal maritime activities, negative effects to the natural environment, information systems and cyber, and natural disasters caused by phenomena including earthquakes, tsunamis, and the effects of El Niño.
Mindful of the need for a modern, flexible, and dynamic Navy, we are updating our institutional strategic plan, with objectives and goals that will allow us to reach the capacities necessary to have a naval power equipped with trained personnel in a state of optimal readiness, as well as a land-based naval infrastructure that adequately supports the operational requirements.
Based on the structure and magnitude of the forces recently approved by the national government, the Navy’s main units will be replaced by flexible, multirole ships that can both carry out traditional missions and fill nontraditional roles such as surveillance and maritime law enforcement. These missions will be supported by more maritime patrol boats and multipurpose amphibious units to help with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Admiral António Maria Mendes Calado, Chief of Staff of the Portuguese Navy
The recent practices of ocean governance and maritime security have highlighted the role of navies in control of maritime spaces and sea lines of communication. Navies have shifted from a power-projection paradigm to ensuring commerce circulation in the global maritime commons.
For the Portuguese Navy, the growing importance of the new strategic environment generates the need for maritime security, which requires improving a traditional military role based on deterrence, military defense, and supporting foreign policy, and focusing on the less-traditional nonmilitary roles of security, safety, and state authority.
Bearing in mind these two roles, the Navy has been in a process of regeneration to build a credible and versatile fleet that will see the majority of its assets renewed and upgraded by the end of the 2020s.
This plan, currently under review and awaiting approval, includes the commission of six more offshore patrol vessels, modernization of the Portuguese M-frigates, service-life extension of five helicopters, mid-life upgrade of the two Tridente-class attack submarines, replacement of the auxiliary oil and replenishment ship NRP Bérrio, and acquisition and construction of the first amphibious landing platform dock.
Priorities for manning involve measures to improve recruitment and retention to solve the constraints noticed during 2015–17 and to fill gaps in military personnel. These measures include adjusting the recruitment process, certifying all courses, enhancing internship programs, and advertising the Navy’s education and training programs in the business world.
Within the context of NATO, the Navy remains capable of contributing to multilateral cooperative security. In 2018, Portuguese warships, combat divers, and marines were engaged, respectively, in Standing NATO Maritime Group One, Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One, and in implementing assurance measures in Lithuania.
The Navy also is capable of conducting missions such as security capacity building, mainly with nations of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. Interagency cooperation and coordination are being developed in fields such as counterimmigration (mainly with the European Union), fisheries control, counterdrug trafficking, search-and-rescue operations, antipollution, and law-enforcement activities. The Navy also is adapting its procedures to accommodate these types of operations.
The seas are Portugal’s lifeblood. Portugal’s maritime spaces and coasts are central to its well-being and prosperity. This is why the Portuguese Navy is so deeply committed to ensuring maritime security in the wide areas under Portuguese jurisdiction and sovereignty, as well as to contributing to the security of the global maritime commons.
Vice Admiral Alexandru Mîrşu, Chief of Romanian Naval Forces Staff
A resurgent Russia has made the security environment in the NATO eastern flank increasingly complex and challenging, especially in the Black Sea region. As a front-line state, Romania has taken steps toward strengthening its security capabilities by allocating, in the past two years, 2 percent of its budget for defense spending. Because the maritime region is the focus of the nation’s security concerns, Romanian political and military leaders are prioritizing naval capabilities.
The Romanian Navy’s major defense priority is the construction of four multipurpose corvettes. This project will take up to seven years, with the first ship delivered within three years after construction begins. At $1.8 billion, this represents the most significant financial undertaking for upgrading the Romanian Navy.
Another noteworthy project is the modernization of the Navy’s two Type 22 Broadsword-class frigates. This involves installing a modern combat center on the ships, with all the necessary sensors and weapons for the sea environment, especially ship-to-ship and air defense missiles.
For the future, we desire to increase and improve undersea assets. While the Romanian Navy has antisubmarine warfare-capable ships, fighting in the undersea environment is a complex task. To counter the threat, the Navy has settled on two solutions. The main counter for a submarine being another submarine, one future goal is the purchase of three fast-attack submarines. To further enhance Romanian undersea warfare capability, a series of passive acoustic buoys also will be acquired and employed.
The Romanian Navy takes the defense of its nation’s maritime interests very seriously, and it will seek continual improvements for years to come, until the desired capability level has been reached.
Admiral Teodoro E. López Calderon, Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy
Spain’s 2017 National Security Strategy highlights a determined global commitment to contribute actively to international peace and security, which in recent years has been altered by a disturbing increase in geopolitical tensions.
As a maritime country with a distinct European, Atlantic, and Mediterranean profile, Spain is concerned with the instability of certain African areas that threatens maritime security with criminal acts, including piracy, terrorism, illegal trafficking of people and drugs, environmental pollution, and the uncontrolled exploitation of marine resources. There are also other challenges arising from Russia’s unconventional behavior, including an increase of its naval presence in the Baltic Sea and eastern Mediterranean, and the instability resulting from the conflict in Syria.
This broad range of risks and threats requires an important operational effort by Spanish Navy units, including its Marine Corps Brigade, as missions aimed at deterrence and defense—in addition to maritime security—become more relevant.
The Spanish Navy significantly contributes to maritime security operations, both domestically and internationally within NATO (Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean) and the European Union (Operation Atalanta in the Horn of Africa and Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean). We also maintain a naval presence in the Gulf of Guinea and along the West African coast, conducting activities to develop and enhance the maritime capabilities of those coastal nations.
The increase of maritime security operation missions has somewhat conditioned our contribution to deterrence and collective defense. However, the Spanish Navy, in line with its available assets, is one of the largest contributors to the standing NATO maritime groups, underscoring Spain’s firm commitment to its allies.
Spain intends to gradually increase its defense budget by virtue of the commitment made at the 2014 NATO Wales Summit. A defense planning process is being prepared for the 2019–24 period that will allow us to recover and enhance our operational capabilities to respond to the many challenges in the maritime domain.
Personnel and training are critical issues for the Spanish Navy. Our challenge is to merge the available resources (set by the Ministry of Defense at 20,358 servicemen) with the requirements arising from the commissioning and subsequent manning of new units and the ever-growing demands from organizations not directly related to the Navy itself, such as joint or other international defense and security organizations. To this end, there is a commitment to increase the number of personnel (between 7,000 and 10,000—the allotment for the Navy is currently under study) in the armed forces while, at the same time, supporting high-level training of ratings and troops.
Spanish Navy policy regarding shipbuilding favors quality over quantity, seeking technological improvements and making possible the procurement of multipurpose units with smaller crews. New programs, such as the S-80 submarine, the F-110 frigates, and the NH-90 helicopters, offer opportunities for Spanish industry.
Finally, for the Spanish Navy to maintain its current operational capability, it also will need to upgrade both F-100 frigates and various aircraft.
Rear Admiral Jens Nykvist, Chief of the Royal Swedish Navy
The Baltic Sea region is very important strategically. A large percentage of Baltic Sea countries’ imports and exports is transported by sea. The security situation in the Baltic Sea has changed in recent years and is more uncertain today. We see an increase of military activities there. From a Swedish perspective, it is vital for us to have presence to establish the best recognized maritime picture, by monitoring sea traffic and other ship movements, looking for the trigger that might disturb and harm us. In short, as an operational area the Baltic Sea can be described with four Cs—confined, confused, congested and to some extent contested.
Our Navy is not large, but it is manned by highly motivated and professional crews operating ships, submarines, and equipment designed to work in proximity to the Baltic coast, where shallow water, very dense traffic, and hard hydrographic conditions are the norm.
Military cooperation and naval presence are therefore key to mitigating this operational area and its unique environment. We welcome exercises in the region such as BaltOps and Northern Coasts, where we work with partners to increase and develop interoperability and security. Cooperation is vital, and through a combined use of resources we increase our military capabilities, interoperability, and efficiency. We are working very closely with Finland to create a more secure and stable environment in the Baltic.
The Swedish Armed Forces have received funding for the coming three years, which is very good, but for the Navy it is vital we also receive long-term funding to plan, recruit crews, and develop new ships. Two new Swedish-design submarines are being built at the SAAB Kockums shipyard and will be operational by 2025. A new signals-intelligence-collection ship also is being built. The next step that needs political approval is the new generation of surface ships. Finally, recruitment is going well for the Navy, but we need to increase the inflow of recruits and continue to develop the personnel already in the Navy.
Admiral Adnan Ozbal, Commander of Turkish Naval Forces
Stable and constant economic growth has allowed the Turkish Navy to expand its blue-water responsibilities. It is developing capabilities such as the amphibious assault ship TCG Anatolia, antiair warfare destroyers, an expeditionary brigade, and new air assets. The Turkish Navy’s commitment to NATO is strong and can be seen through our efforts to launch the Turkish Maritime Force to undertake a larger burden.
The Black Sea regional security environment is evolving rapidly. Threats to regional security are diverse, including ongoing military and frozen conflicts between states. To establish an atmosphere of mutual trust, the region should be transformed from a competitive security environment to one that fosters and strengthens cooperation.
Within this context, the Turkish Navy has increased its presence by always having assets under way in the Black Sea and hosting the annual Black Sea Harmony Operation with neighboring navies. Despite the adverse effects of crises in Georgia, Ukraine, and the Kerch Strait, Turkey’s leadership through regional initiatives has established a continuous dialogue and more stable environment. Numerous Turkish naval exercises in the Black Sea are an outstanding deterrence tool and verify that the principle of regional ownership is the way to achieve deterrence and dialogue. Furthermore, the Turkish Navy has contributed to NATO’s deterrence efforts by maximizing NATO Standing Naval Force (SNF) activities. With our contributions, from 2015–2018 SNFs’ deployment duration in the Black Sea increased from 41 to 116 days.
In the Aegean Sea, the emerging challenges are more humanitarian in nature. Turkish Navy deployments in the Aegean increased to help alleviate the immigration flow. Turkey has not only hosted four million refugees (three and a half million are Syrians), but also saved thousands of lives by halting risky attempts to cross the Aegean Sea to reach Western Europe. Irregular migration across the Aegean Sea has decreased approximately 96 percent since 2015.
The strategic environment in the Eastern Mediterranean is getting more complicated and unpredictable. The discovery of hydrocarbon resources has aroused the interests of both regional and international powers. And disputes over delimiting maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the dispute over Cyprus Island that has existed for more than half a century, continue to challenge the stability of the environment.
Since 2006, the Turkish Navy has conducted Operation Mediterranean Shield, complementary to NATO Operation Sea Guardian, to contribute to maritime security in the Eastern Mediterranean. In a maritime security environment shaped by regional and global dynamics, the Turkish Navy deepens and extends its cooperation with NATO allies as a significant contributor to NATO naval task groups and operations.
As agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit, Turkey reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to all aspects of the defense investment pledge. As directed in the 2016 Brussels Summit, Turkey is increasing defense expenditures and will spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
Finally, today’s security environment has reached an inflection point where hybrid warfare tools are employed on a near-continual basis. The hybrid nature of today’s challenges dictates the use of indigenous equipment and weapon systems—a prospect the Turkish Navy has been quick to realize. Turkey will continue to possess an effective naval force based on its national defense industry and employ this force around the world to protect Turkey’s rights and interests.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
Britain’s place in the world is defined by our history of maritime trade. Our fortunes always have been tied inextricably to the sea. Now, as we pursue our national ambitions to enhance our global trading networks, our dependence on, access to, and freedom of navigation on the seas is only set to increase. Yet there is no shortage of challenge in today’s maritime domain. The return of great power competition, not least with a resurgent Russia, on top of the growing list of potentially hostile nonstate actors, creates a maritime security picture that is remarkably complex.
Against this geopolitical context, the unrelenting pace of technological advance and the plummeting costs and increased accessibility of advanced technology are exacerbating the pandemic of weapons proliferation. Moreover, the importance of information, both as a key enabler to the way we conduct operations and as a key national asset and vulnerability, has led to the rise of cyberspace as another domain in which we must achieve superiority. Together, these intensifying and diverse threats pose a genuine challenge to the existing rules-based international order and our nation’s security and prosperity.
This challenge is well understood across the UK government. It is no coincidence that the additional funding secured by the Ministry of Defence in last autumn’s budget was earmarked specifically for cyber, our submarine-based strategic nuclear deterrent, and antisubmarine warfare.
However, the only real metric of the Royal Navy’s value to defense and the nation is our success in operations. The past 12 months have seen us operate at a range and scale unprecedented in recent years, working with international partners in every part of the world to safeguard common interests and uphold the international laws and norms that govern the world’s oceans. As we maintain this global presence, so must we remain resolute in the North Atlantic, deterring any threats to our sea lines of communication and safeguarding our critical national infrastructure.
While our first priority must be the challenges we face on operations today, so too must we prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. To retain our competitive edge into the future, the fleet is undergoing extensive modernization, at the heart of which is innovation. Specifically, programs are in place to exploit the opportunities afforded through increased automation, open architectures, artificial intelligence, and machine learning—all essential elements on our path to the full digitization of our service.
There can be no doubt that over the past few years the maritime security environment has changed markedly, and not for the better. Yet our renewed efforts, working alongside our international partners to deter threats and disrupt illicit activity in the global maritime domain—while embracing the latest technological advances to prepare for the future—leave the Royal Navy well-placed to uphold its centuries-old role defending British interests.