Table of Contents
Admiral José Luis Villán, Chief of the General Staff of the Argentinian Navy
Today, more than ever, countries need their navies to ensure the safety, prosperity, and conservation of their seas. Meeting the growing demand for natural resources, including energy, food, and minerals, is essential for their own development. Globalization, climate change, technological revolution, and increasing demographic pressure further exacerbate resource disputes. Furthermore, other security and “blue economy” issues fall within the scope of national and international regulations on the sea.
In this regard, to meet these threats it remains imperative that the state maintain presence at sea by deploying naval ships, aircraft, sensors, and command, control, communications, intelligence, and surveillance systems in coordination with other national and international agencies. Information is vital to become aware of the significant developments taking place at sea, so the data and knowledge acquired by monitoring and control activities are fundamental for decision-making.
A key to addressing these challenges is maritime domain awareness. A maritime situational awareness picture provides alerts for strategic planning and supports effective tactical operations. In turn, an information fusion center, where all pieces of data obtained from different sources are processed and analyzed, provides an understanding of what happens at sea.
Argentina is not oblivious to the existing state of affairs. The maritime status of Argentina, coupled with the geopolitical importance of the south Atlantic, pose increasing challenges to the nation: the protection of national maritime interests and the fulfillment of the country’s obligations under international maritime law. In line with this, the need for the protection of the ecosystem against illegal fishing and pollution, and to expand marine scientific knowledge, have substantially increased. By the same token, the protection of human life at sea in its vast area of responsibility demands high levels of efficiency.
The Argentine Navy is improving its maritime patrol, surveillance, and control capabilities. Long-range maritime patrol aircraft and new ocean patrol vessels meet presence requirements and provide naval authorities with the relevant information needed for decision making. This maritime situational picture is complemented by satellite information collected by the national space agency, as well as by the coastline radar installation plan, currently in its initial stage.
To face these challenges and provide a rapid response, the Argentine Navy is constantly working toward higher levels of training, equipment, and readiness, and in turn considers cooperation between governmental/nongovernmental national and international agencies to be of paramount importance.
Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, Chief of the Royal Australian Navy
Australia is a maritime nation and lies at the fulcrum of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Asian landmass those oceans border. Global competition has changed our reality across all the domains in which the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) operates. Geographically, Australia is in an increasingly complex geopolitical environment, within a dynamic Indo-Pacific region.
The maritime domain is central to the security and prosperity of our nation. As resources become increasingly scarce, and the competition greater, all elements of national power must work together to achieve the desired outcomes for our nation, allies, and friends.
Stimulated by technological advances and the availability of information, the RAN has a crucial role to play to support our government, and it must evolve to prepare for a myriad of operational possibilities. This is the basis of our 2022 Headmark, a framework to which the RAN contributes to monitor and enforce international maritime law and a rules-based order.
First, the RAN will continue to operate its forces throughout our region alongside our allies and like-minded partners. Our forces will be equipped, trained, and sustained away from homeports so they are ready and able to take decisive action if threatened. This requires the RAN to have strong and trusting relationships with Australia’s neighbors and allies and to be able to integrate into multinational task forces for common purpose. In 2019, the RAN averaged 18 ships at sea at any one time, surging to 29 ships deployed across the Indo-Pacific through the region’s waterways, including the South China and East China Seas.
Second, domestically the RAN contributes to international maritime law and rules-based order through Operation Resolute, a whole-of-government effort to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests. And in the Pacific, through the Pacific Maritime Security Partnership, Australia is providing 19 Guardian-class patrol boats to Pacific Ocean states to help them monitor and secure their sovereignty and marine living resources.
Finally, since 1990, Australia has maintained a maritime security presence in the Middle East under Operation Manitou. This operation contributes to international efforts to promote maritime security, stability, and prosperity in this volatile region.
The RAN is integrated with the Australian joint force and operates effectively with our allies and like-minded partners, as the vastness of the maritime domain dictates that no one nation can do it alone.
Rear Admiral Wim Robberecht, Commander of the Belgian Navy
In 2005, the Belgian federal and Flemish regional governments together decided to develop a Belgian Coast Guard Structure to coordinate the cooperation of 17 Belgian federal and Flemish regional entities, each with different responsibilities in the Belgian part of the North Sea (BNP). Two years later, with the creation of a Maritime Information Center (MIC), the Belgian Coast Guard Center was born. This operational center consists of two subcenters: The Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center in Ostend, responsible for safety issues, and the MIC in Zeebrugge for security matters.
During the ensuing 12 years, the MIC has acted as the point of contact for law enforcement at sea, protecting Belgian national maritime interests. The MIC operators of the Federal Maritime Police, the Maritime Brigade of Customs, the Maritime Security Cell of the Directorate of General Shipping, and the Navy monitor all activities in the BNP and establish maritime situational awareness (MSA). With the procurement of two new coastal patrol vessels in 2014–15, the Belgian Navy now is capable of high-speed maritime security interventions and military tasks throughout the BNP.
The Maritime Police and Maritime Customs operate their own naval assets, mostly in the Belgian territorial sea and Belgian harbors and execute border controls and interventions against drug trafficking and illegal migration. Coastal patrol vessels (CPVs) can embark several law enforcement teams, which have authority to maintain order in the exclusive economic zone. CPVs also can act as interagency command platforms at sea, have permanent communication with the MIC, and are equipped with two high-speed boarding intervention boats.
From 2012 onward, on a regular basis, the MIC has led interagency maritime security operations at sea (known as Operation OPERA) and has supported maritime antiterrorism operations. In October 2018, during GuardEx of the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum (Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Germany), the MIC led an antiterrorism exercise with several naval assets of partners and force enablers, such as helicopters equipped with fast-roping capability, special forces, fast-raiding interception special forces craft (FRISC) teams, and explosive ordnance clearance teams.
Beginning in 2021, the MIC will be equipped with a new command-and-control system and intelligence-gathering capability and will evolve from a MIC to a Maritime Operation Center for security issues and from MSA to maritime domain awareness. This upgrade will enhance the performance of the MIC as well as the operational output of its partner naval assets.
Admiral Ilques Barbosa Júnior, Commandant of the Brazilian Navy
Like many navies worldwide, the Brazilian Navy (BN) is performing increasingly important roles to ensure maritime security. Emerging asymmetric threats have led countries to rethink their maritime security strategies, mainly considering nonstate actors that could risk their maritime trade.
The increased exploration of marine resources emphasizes the need for navies to operate together to monitor and enforce international maritime law and a rules-based order. With the blue economy, opportunities come with challenges. Maritime threats (piracy, terrorism, illegal and unreported trafficking, and exploration of resources), transnational by nature, present challenges that demand a collective approach. In the second half of 2019, for example, the largest maritime oil spill in Brazilian history occurred, probably caused by illegal activities, resulting in severe social and economic repercussions.
Maritime security is one of the missions carried out by the BN along four lines of effort. First, it is intensifying international cooperation and leading national interagency and joint operations. International engagements include a nine-year participation in the U.N. Maritime Task Force in Lebanon, an ever-increasing presence in the Gulf of Guinea, and around-the-clock planning and execution of the multinational Panamax exercise. Second, because the head of BN also is Brazil’s Maritime National Authority, it is possible to achieve better results in maritime security by combining this task with safety rules observation. Third, Brazil is realigning oceanpolitical (a neologism to highlight that the political use of the oceans follows its own dynamic) priorities and increasing the Navy’s diplomatic role toward the consolidation of the Peace and Cooperation Zone of South Atlantic (Zona de Paz e Cooperação do Atlântico). It was established, after a Brazilian initiative, with resolution 41/11 of the U.N. General Assembly in 1986). Finally, it is developing indigenous technology and joining technical agreements, such as the Trans-Regional Maritime Network, to enhance maritime domain awareness.
Unified command and control and permanent qualifications are crucial to manage these four parallel lines of effort. The recent inauguration of the BN Integrated Maritime Security Center (Centro Integrado de Segurança Marítima), aggregating means that formerly operated individually, proved to be worthy. Among other achievements, the Center was fundamental in providing response and investigation after the aforementioned oil spill. Furthermore, specific naval subcareers were created to develop qualified personnel for the Maritime Authority.
Maritime security is the primary concern of most navies. The vastness of maritime spaces requires collective and organized actions. The BN, in conjunction with foreign counterparts and national agencies, is ready for and will keep joining efforts that contribute to more secure waters.
Vice Admiral Art McDonald, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
Canada’s defense policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” declares that the rules-based international order is foundational to Canadian security and prosperity, observing that as a trading nation and globally engaged country, Canada benefits from global stability. To that end, the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN’s) worldwide naval operations, including partner capacity building, serve to defend the global system at sea and from the sea, both at home and abroad.
The RCN considers delivering maritime security as one of three enduring naval roles, alongside diplomacy and warfighting. Together this triad of naval effort contributes significantly to a “Strong, Secure, Engaged” Canada by: protecting Canada, Canadians, and our interests at home and abroad; contributing to the security of our continent in partnership with the United States; and enabling Canadian engagement in a world interconnected by oceans by demonstrating Canadian interest, contributing to deterrence, and projecting Canadian influence.
Given that the 21st century has seen the return of great power competition at sea, alongside enduring maritime security threats such as terrorism, weapons proliferation, transnational crime, and piracy, the RCN is “always on watch” at home as well as far from home, enforcing international maritime law and supporting an international order based on freedom of the seas.
At home, the RCN is a backstop for other government departments in upholding Canadian law in this country’s enormous ocean estates, a role growing with Arctic accessibility. Abroad, in the East China Sea, Canadian warships are performing maritime surveillance operations to help enforce U.N. sanctions prohibiting oil transfers to North Korea. Likewise, Canadian warships and submarines are continually working with NATO allies, especially in the Baltic, Mediterranean, and Black Seas, to demonstrate resolve and readiness. Canada commanded Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in 2019. In the Middle East, the RCN has commanded Task Force 150 thrice since 2014 and deployed frigates regularly. For 14 years Canadian warships have patrolled in the Caribbean in partnership with U.S. and regional states in counternarcotic operations. The RCN also has supported capacity-building initiatives in Africa and Asia, highlighted by deployments of our naval dive teams, Naval Tactical Operations Group, and Naval Security Team.
Recognizing the significance and necessity of these contributions, Canada has embarked on the largest peacetime renewal of the RCN in its history to strengthen the RCN and Canada’s ability to continue playing a globally significant role in ensuring freedom of the seas.