Vice Admiral Julio Horacio Guardia,
Chief of the General Staff of the Argentine Navy
The difficult dilemma posed by balancing force capabilities and size in the context of available resources must always be faced with undivided attention. In doing so, each state must develop a force model tailored to its budget and, consequently, sustainable over time.
For most nations, the relationship between requirements and budget is far from ideal, and the tasks to be accomplished often exceed force size and capability. This is coupled with the fact that the latest missions and technological advances usually generate new, unsatisfied, needs.
To bridge this gap, the Argentine Navy has analyzed many processes to avoid unnecessary duplication and has devoted efforts to restructuring the use of resources. We are developing a dynamic and comprehensive plan in which the system is dimensioned by weighing different factors. This will help us anticipate future needs and spending based on actual knowledge and available information, instead of suppositions. This leads to a virtuous circle that involves measuring, adjusting goals, and adapting tasks in a continuous management cycle.
Concurrently, the gradual incorporation of technology has served a dual purpose. First, it has enabled us to absorb and analyze a great volume of data to optimize management and render it more efficient. And second, at the operational level, technology has contributed to reaching an equilibrium point by enhancing the actions undertaken by the Argentine Navy at sea to accomplish its assigned operational mission.
Although the situation described requires a significant initial investment, we know that in the medium term it will result in improved efficiency. For example, we plan to gradually expand the use of imaging and communications satellites, initiate installation of coastal radars along maritime spaces under national jurisdiction, incorporate onboard unmanned aerial vehicles, and employ units operated by reduced crews and equipped with technology that will lower operating costs.
Already on track and as a conducive step to the Joint Military Action of which the Argentine Navy is a component, in 2020 the National State approved the National Defense Fund by passing a relevant law in Congress. This law provides for a specific fund intended to finance the recovery of capabilities by reequipping the military, while promoting national industry and research and development.
From this shared experience, I believe that, in addressing this issue, process management, disruptive thinking, and creativity based on professional expertise will contribute to paving the way for a possible solution.
The Argentine Navy logistics vessel ARA Patagonia resupplies the destroyer ARA Almirante Brown in the Argentine Sea. In the next decade, the Navy plans to incorporate onboard unmanned aerial vehicles and employ units with reduced crews and equipped with technology that will lower operating costs. Argentine Navy
Admiral Ilques Barbosa Júnior,
Commandant of the Brazilian Navy
Balancing budgets with demanding requirements are a challenge facing all navies. The Brazilian Navy (BN) copes with that by enhancing staff training, investing in new technologies and assets, fostering interoperability, and giving prioritizing the naval presence in Brazil’s strategic surroundings.
The recently published Navy’s Strategic Plan—2040, which assesses Brazil’s maritime interests and perceived threats for the upcoming 20 years, addresses the need to respond to a complex scenario with limited resources. It also stresses, among other aspects as mentioned, the priority given to the staff training and the BN’s dual character, as the country’s naval component and maritime authority.
The adequate qualification of military personnel and civil servants in processes such as life cycle management (LCM), and the operation and maintenance of surface ships, submarines, aircraft and Marine Corps combat equipment will enable full employment of assets at the disposal of the naval force, aiming at fulfilling the BN mission. The Naval Education System and the Postgraduate and Special Qualification Education Network play fundamental roles in this area, acting directly in the qualification, physical training, leadership exercising, and continuous improvement to face the challenges imposed by the “Knowledge Era.”
At the same time, investment in technology and innovation involves the acquisition of new assets, such as the Tamandaré-class frigates, whose contract for building the first four ships was signed in March 2020; and the Submarine Program, which has reached important milestones this last year. These new assets will provide unprecedented capabilities with smaller and more trained crews, thus contributing to reduce personnel requirements.
In addition, extending interoperability with other armed forces, agencies, and partner navies has been a high priority, which has made significant progress lately. In October 2020, the multipurpose aircraft carrier Atlântico (A-140) carried out simultaneous operations, for the first time, with Navy, Army, and Air Force helicopters. The employment of joint assets works as a force multiplier, maximizing capabilities while sharing maintenance and operational costs.
Furthermore, the growing occurrence of transnational threats within Brazil’s strategic surroundings, such as oil spills or illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, has led the country to prioritize its naval presence in the South Atlantic, as well as reinforce its support to international mechanisms such as the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic. By interrupting, earlier this year, command of the Maritime Task Force of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL MTF), exercised since 2011, the BN will be able to work more often with partner nations in the South Atlantic.
Through these initiatives, the Brazilian Navy pursues the right balance between finite resources and the multitude of tasks it has to continuously perform. Multipurpose platforms, manned by well-trained, motivated personnel, provide the necessary flexibility to accomplish its dual-character mission, thus achieving required force capability without necessarily increasing force size.
Rear Admiral Kiril Mihaylov,
Commander of the Bulgarian Navy
In recent decades, the Black Sea region has been an area of antagonism and hostilities between different large- and small-scale players, resulting in frozen and, in some cases, still burning conflicts. The consequence of these events is the long-term deterioration of the security environment.
To cope with the changed security situation, the Bulgarian government undertook a Strategic Defense Review. During this process, the Bulgarian Navy identified all future requirements and developed a set of prioritized capabilities included in a development plan. Despite being capability-driven, this plan focuses on efficiency within the framework of the budget. In this context, for the coming decade, the Bulgarian Navy has adopted an approach focused on building a balanced force capable of conducting the entire spectrum of naval operations. To achieve this goal within the budget, our approach is to rely on modularity, versatility, and integration of unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles on our platforms. In addition, we are seeking information superiority by enhancing our situational awareness and joint connectivity.
Facing all the concerns small navies have, we have realized that achieving successful sea denial in the littorals, where our main responsibilities remain, is not always a matter of maintaining a large and costly fleet, but rather relies on small, agile, and hard-to-detect vessels that possess the antisurface capabilities of larger combatants. Acquiring a combination of new platforms, such as small frigates, fast patrol boats, and secondhand conventional submarines, will help us attain a strong deterrent without burdening future Navy budgets. These capabilities, paired with a modernized maritime surveillance system and coastal missile batteries, will ensure effective sea denial. We have already taken the first step in this direction by signing a contract in November 2020 to build two multipurpose modular patrol vessels.
Another strong deterrent in the littorals is the mine threat. Therefore, we are focusing on both of its aspects—minelaying and mine countermeasures. By acquiring more capable secondhand minehunters to replace obsolete minesweepers, adding minelaying capabilities to our amphibious ships, and enhancing our underwater surveillance capabilities, we will be in line with the requirements and budgetary framework.
The Bulgarian Navy is determined to build balanced capabilities, adequate to the security environment and future challenges. Finite resources oblige us to find solutions through a combination of new acquisitions and secondhand platforms, together with modernization of existing ones and implementation of contemporary unmanned and autonomous systems.
Vice Admiral Craig Baines,
Commander Royal Canadian Navy
The 2017 defense policy—Strong, Secure, Engaged—reinforced the government of Canada’s support to global defense and security of the maritime domain and its enduring commitment to the fleet renewal of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). As part of the most significant and complex fleet recapitalization in Navy history, efforts are well under way for delivery over the next 10 to 15 years of 3 new classes of warships, consisting of 15 Canadian surface combatants, 2 joint support ships, and 6 Arctic and offshore patrol vessels—all supported by the CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter fleet.
Introducing a new class of ship is a significant undertaking; investing in three new classes of warships is quite another story. Recognizing this challenge, the RCN has committed to fundamentally changing the way it conducts business by adopting an “enterprise” approach to the design and operationalization of its future fleet and supporting shore-based infrastructure. From the selection of a single-class, single-variant, multirole surface combatant, to multi-functional systems and equipment, deployable modular mission packages, and the development of operational support and integration centers ashore, the Navy is focused on innovative solutions that optimize digitization and automation to enhance combat effectiveness as well as improve fleet operations, maintenance and repair, and life-cycle management. But that is only part of the solution, as technology in itself is not a panacea.
Success of the future Navy enterprise will also depend on the ability to recruit, train, and retain smart, diverse, and highly motivated sailors. The new generation of tech-savvy millennials is well placed to seamlessly transition to a state-of-the-art navy designed to best operationalize both human and technological functions—whether in the operations room, engineering spaces, supply chain, or administrative support. Increased opportunities for advanced training, simulation, and education; reorganization of the occupational structure; improved habitability and connectivity on board ship; mobile applications providing instantaneous administrative and career information; and adaptation to changing demographics are all examples of initiatives aimed at ensuring the RCN is an attractive, diverse, and inclusive employer of choice. In short, provide sailors with the right tools and an environment that challenges and excites, leading-edge digital technologies, and an improved quality of life at sea and ashore.
Through a tech-enabled and people-delivered approach to the future fleet, the RCN is securing the agility, flexibility, and relevance all navies seek, while striking the balance between affordability and capability, with the right ships and the right sailors—at the right time.
A Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) rigid-hulled inflatable boat operates from the HMCS Harry DeWolf, the lead ship in a new class of six Arctic and offshore patrol vessels. The RCN is also investing in a new class of 15 surface combatants and 2 joint support ships. Royal Canadian Navy (David Veldman)
Admiral Julio Leiva,
Commander-in-Chief, Chilean Navy
Because of its geographical location, with the world’s driest desert to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Antarctic territory to the south, Chile almost could be considered an island nation. The geographical isolation of the country can be a very complex issue, considering Chile’s unique maritime territory, which includes a myriad of islands, fjords, and channels and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) almost five times the size of Chile’s land territory.
Despite the relative isolation imposed by geography, Chile has developed an increasingly open economy whose development and prosperity is largely dependent on global seaborne trade. In addition, as part of the international community, Chile has adopted most of the legal instruments relating to the U.N. Convention for the Law of the Sea, reinforcing its commitment to and support of sea-related matters.
Chile must have and operate a blue-white water navy capable of successfully carrying out the tasks entrusted to it, by both tradition and law, to protect our national interests at home or abroad. Understanding that needs are infinite and resources are finite—especially at present, when the COVID-19 pandemic has diverted budget toward health needs—and that the strains of enforcing security and safety in a vast ocean and along a rugged coastline exceed the available resources, the Chilean Navy has included in its strategic plan different approaches to deal with this setback.
First, it has strengthened cooperation efforts with allied navies in the areas of education, training, and interoperability, improving not only operational skills, but also mutual trust. Second, the Chilean Navy makes the most efficient use of its resources by maintaining its current structure, which means having the naval power and the coast guard service under one unified command. This enables us to merge defense and constabulary duties to optimize the given budget. Another cornerstone of the allocation of our resources is the continual improvement of management control processes. State-of-the-art management tools, and more capable personnel, allow us to optimize control over financial and logistical procedures.
Finally, the ambitious “National Continuous Shipbuilding Plan” will, in the mid to long term, allow the construction of all surface vessels for the Chilean Navy, including the complex units that make up the combat fleet, through private-public alliances that hold the potential of becoming a technological axis that will boost the national industry.
In the foreseeable future, budget cuts will become a major issue for navies around the world. Nevertheless, the Chilean Navy will continue the pursuit of efficiency by implementing new and creative solutions, with the purpose of meeting the nation’s needs and becoming a reliable partner in multinational operations.
Admiral Gabriel Alfonso Pérez Garcés,
Commander of the Colombian Navy
The Colombian Navy is no stranger to the budgetary restrictions that have affected the entire region in recent years. However, this has not been an obstacle to our force achieving the updates and modernizations in accordance with its operational needs and the threats and challenges it faces daily.
Through careful institutional planning, captured in the Naval Development Plan 2042, the Navy has a set of possible future scenarios it can use to anticipate future changes in the operational environment. These scenarios demand constant updating and improvement of crew training, as well as technological upgrades of our equipment and systems.
On that note, it has been important for the Colombian Navy to maintain a balance between force size and force capabilities with regard to technology. That is why, since the Naval Development Plan 2042 came into effect, we have sought to develop and apply technologies that will optimize available means and resources.
Our existing research groups have developed technologies focused on strengthening the Navy’s existing operational capabilities, such as designing and building riverine support patrol vessels in heavy and light variants, riverine patrol boats, coastal patrol vessels, and amphibious landing craft, and the development of the LinkCo tactical naval communications system.
These technological developments have been accomplished thanks to the existing synergy between the Colombian Navy and the Science and Technology Corporation for the Development of Maritime and Riverine Industry, which is recognized by the Colombian Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation as one of 12 technological development centers and as a member of the National Science, Technology, and Innovation System.
We are proud of how far our Navy has come along the path of technological development. However, we are aware that this must be an ongoing effort so that, with the appropriate capabilities in relation to existing threats, we will fulfill our mandated mission by optimizing the use of our existing means and properly training our available human resources.
REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
Rear Admiral Charalambos Charalambous,
Chief of the Cyprus Navy
Historically, technology keeps up with the promotion of naval power and has been a key and essential factor in maritime warfare. Today, when the available resources for defense procurement are limited, the rapid development of technology offers many alternative solutions.
The fundamental element that defines the size and operational capabilities of the Cyprus Navy is related to its main objective and tasks in the defense and security of the Republic of Cyprus. Taking into account the interests of the Republic of Cyprus, the implementation of international obligations, and the great importance of the Eastern Mediterranean region and the various threats, the maritime doctrine of the Navy is focused on the development of a naval surface force that will project its power from land to the sea.
The Navy’s specific tasks include maritime defense, naval presence, and assistance to maritime security in the area of interest that comprises the Nicosia flight information region and the maritime zones of the Republic of Cyprus that are defined under the principles of the U.N. Convention for the Law of the Sea and international law.
The Cyprus Navy’s use of modern technologies creates and develops a network-centric management and control system for naval operations, which will interconnect with various systems and means. In particular, the exploitation of new technologies includes:
- A combination of passive and active means (radar, thermal cameras, and electronic warfare systems) as well as the use of drones and satellite systems for maritime surveillance to ensure maritime situational awareness.
- Effective use of naval units manned by small crews and requiring limited maintenance and support expenditures. In addition, these types of naval units will be equipped with modern automated systems and sensors, as well as self-defense capabilities.
- Use of long-range coastal battery guided missiles (lower cost, having fewer personnel, increased survivability) that will operate with an integrated surveillance and over-the-horizon targeting system.
- Information and support to the special operations forces of the Navy.
- Logistics and technical support with standardized material and extensive use of private-sector knowledge and specialized services.
- An information management system that can be integrated with compatible systems of the armed forces and the air force and with the departments of other entities engaged in the maritime domain of Cyprus.
- Effective use of personnel, with an emphasis on specialization, improving the working environment, and use of training simulators.
Conducting naval warfare in the future and other naval operations in times of peace and crisis will depend entirely on technology. Consequently, the navy that adopts “smart” means in space and time will always be one step ahead.
Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed,
Commander, Egyptian Navy
At present, the Egyptian political leadership pays special attention to enhancing the combat capabilities of its naval forces in terms of infrastructure, armament, training, and qualification. This approach aims to fulfill the strategic goals of security, stability, and peace, and confront the challenges that face regional maritime security as a result of severe geostrategic changes of the political scene in the Middle East.
These fast-moving changes include but are not limited to the fall of ruling regimes, absence of a stable and legitimate alternative, the emergence of illegitimate groups that seek only their own benefit or to execute foreign agendas through proxy wars, civil wars, the expanded use of gray-zone operations, and the intensification of the regional conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean over oil and gas resources.
The Egyptian Navy represents a unique model, as it successfully works under critical regional and international conditions. It fulfills its duty toward securing the maritime borders, confronting illegitimate activities, and preserving the country’s interests in territorial and economic waters, in conjunction with its pivotal role in supporting and stabilizing the regional maritime security of the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Red Sea in cooperation with our partner countries.
The Egyptian Navy has accomplished the following in recent years:
- Helped eliminate illegal immigration from Egypt and its waters (0 percent as of September 2016, according to the European Union’s statistics).
- Seized more than 70 tons of narcotics in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the largest drug shipment in Egypt’s history was seized near the southern border (2,147 kg of uncut heroin, 99 kg of methamphetamine, and a ship carrying 260 cannabis sacks).
- Participated in the war against terrorism in Sinai along with the main services of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
- Secured the Suez Canal in cooperation with the other state agencies around the clock and provided security for nearly 1,500,000 ships since the canal’s inauguration in 1869. No terrorist incidents have been reported since then.
- Participated in Operation Restore Hope to ensure freedom of navigation and the flow of the global trade from Bab-el-Mandeb reaching the southern entrance of the Suez Canal. Approximately 76,000 sailing hours have been devoted to escorting approximately 550 Saudi petroleum tankers since 2015, using four Oliver Hazard Perry–class frigates and two Knox-class frigates as offshore patrol vessels.
- Served as chief of duty for CTF-151 in the Combined Maritime Forces from November 2019 to February 2020 and as liaison officer since 2015.
- Applied International Ships and Port Facility Security code since 2004 without any serious incident, even during times of crisis.
The Egyptian Navy has adopted a new strategy based on the following:
- Distributing forces across the Mediterranean and the Red Sea to ensure rapid reaction toward the threat by commissioning new fleets (Northern and Southern fleets), establishing three maritime bases (Bernis, Gargoub, and east of Port Said), and applying the principle of dynamic maneuver from one operational theater to another.
- Procuring maritime units in cooperation with friendly countries.
- Closely cooperating with the United States, France, and Germany in the joint manufacturing of maritime assets, such as Gowind-class frigates, MEKO 200 frigates, RHIBs, 28-meter speedboats, and guidance boats.
- Developing the physical, scientific, and practical level of personnel in the field of maritime security by conducting subject matter expert exchanges with major navies on visit, board, search, and seizure, maritime interdiction operations, maritime border security, asymmetric threat countermeasures, humanitarian operations, and disaster relief.
Since the Egyptian Navy represents a pivotal element of balance and stability within the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and is the first defense echelon against numerous transregional threats, it seeks to draw the attention of the international community to its urgent need to enhance its capabilities.
The Egyptian Navy’s Ambassador III–class missile craft The Soliman Ezzat in the Arabian Sea during a passing exercise with the Whidbey Island–class amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43). While the Egyptian Navy preserves the country’s interests in territorial and economic waters, it also contributes to the regional maritime security of the Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Red Sea, in cooperation with partner countries. U.S. Marine Corps (Antonio Garcia)
Rear Admiral Jori Harju,
Commander of the Finnish Navy
The Finnish Navy cross-domain capability is a cost-effective trade-off. Finland’s military operating environment has become less stable. This has led to a moderate increase in defense spending, enabling the Navy to adopt a high-readiness stance. The result is a constant presence in the territorial waters, contributing to a safe and secure maritime environment in the Baltic Sea.
The national defense concept emphasizes joint capabilities. In the Finnish comprehensive security model, cross-departmental capabilities protect vital societal functions. The Defence Forces, and subsequently the Navy, thus carry out intra-authority cooperation, for example, with the Coast Guard. The authorities’ capabilities complement each other.
The military is embedded as a part of society through mandatory conscription. The role of well-trained and educated conscripts rapidly evolves and increases also in the Navy, covering operational duties. Conscription in general supports the manning pool.
Aiming for maritime security in the Baltic Sea, the Navy carries out international cooperation. This includes exchange of sea surveillance data and participation in international exercises, bolstering interoperability. Sea surveillance cooperation is clearly a force multiplier, additionally reducing the costs of uninterrupted territorial surveillance. The benefits of this will increase in
The tasks and resources of the Finnish Navy are in balance. However, the Navy is kept busy with constant tasks and developing future capabilities. This requires reviewing doctrine, training, exercises, and personnel planning. The end of service life of the Hämeenmaa-class minelayers and Rauma-class fast-attack craft approaches, while the operating environment sets new demands. This is tackled through the Squadron 2020 project, set to reach full operational capability during 2028. Its four ice-breaking-capable multirole corvettes will correspond to future threat scenarios, shaping the mainstay of naval units for decades to come. They will carry mines, Gabriel V antiship missiles, Evolved Seasparrow antiair missiles, TP45/47 torpedoes, and cutting-edge surveillance and electronic warfare systems. Technology mitigates budgetary challenges by facilitating the integration of antisurface, antisubmarine, antiair, and electronic-warfare systems into a single ship class.
Coastal troops complement the Navy’s year-round capability at sea. They are key players in littoral warfare, presenting operational depth, mobility, surveillance, and a robust presence in the extreme littoral environment. Rapid technological development introduces advanced unmanned and small-sized systems in all domains. The Finnish Navy does not overlook those attributes and closely follows the outcome of technological development to optimize upcoming procurements.
Through these solutions, the Finnish Navy maintains a credible deterrence in the ever-changing security environment now and into the future.
Mines on board a Finnish Navy Hämeenmaa-class minelayer. These minelayers and Hamina-class fast-attack craft constitute the backbone of the Finnish Navy today, with the former carrying both state-of-the-art influence mines as well as different types of contact mines. Finnish Navy
Admiral Pierre Vandier,
Chief of Naval Operations, French Navy
Thanks to the Military Programming Law covering 2019–25, the French Navy is emerging from a long period of downsizing that began at the end of the Cold War.
Fortunately, it has not sacrificed any of its capability during this period of scarcity and remains one of the few navies in the world able to conduct operations across the entire spectrum. Nevertheless, because of a capability investment lag, the most challenging years are ahead of us.
To achieve, as U.S. Admiral Elmo Zumwalt tried to nearly 50 years ago, the best balance between high and low, in an increasingly tense strategic context, the French Navy launched Plan Mercator in 2018. This year, we will accelerate its implementation across the three axes.
The first axis of the plan, “A Combat Navy,” consists of breaking away from usual tactics and concepts, where appropriate. We will change our preparations for operations. We will move from repetitive training events to a “tactical laboratory” approach. This will combine all warfare domains, the most complex conditions, and the most degraded environments.
We will increase the performance of our often-underutilized equipment, taking advantage of 100 percent of its capacity, exploiting it for different uses or unexplored operating modes.
Finally, we will stimulate strategic thinking by encouraging sailors to think and write to produce breakthrough concepts. We must challenge our “patterns of life,” which are gifts for our adversaries who are already trying to take us by surprise.
The second axis, “A Navy at the Forefront,” aims to maintain tactical superiority through technical excellence. We aim to incorporate available innovative technologies as quickly as possible to boost current capabilities. We will also be innovative on operations with novel concepts and doctrine. We will speed up the Navy’s digitization and accelerate procurement by accepting greater risk. And we must prepare the post-2030 Navy, which must plan for the profound geostrategic and technological ruptures that we perceive.
And finally, the last axis: “A Navy of talented people and brilliant teams.” Faced with major social and technical changes, we must move away from our existing human resources system of fixed trades and competencies and adapt our personnel management by taking better account of individual value and collective development for a sailor’s entire career.
Throughout, we will strengthen leadership development and the moral courage and interpersonal skills of each sailor, particularly before command roles, so that they have the resources they need to react effectively in the more complex and uncertain future environment.
The French Navy Aquitaine-class frigate FS Normandie fires an Aster 30 surface-to-air missile while deployed in the Atlantic in 2020. The French Navy is moving from repetitive training events to a “tactical laboratory” approach, combining all warfare domains, the most complex conditions, and the most degraded environments. Marine Nationale
Vice Admiral Stylianos Petrakis,
Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff
As the security environment throughout the world and especially in the Eastern Mediterranean transforms rapidly, the Hellenic Navy should be well-prepared and fully capable to address the emerging threats and challenges and accomplish its core mission—the protection of Greece’s sovereignty and sovereign rights, as stipulated by international law and the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea. At the same time, the Hellenic Navy should be able to fulfill Greece’s international obligations as a member of NATO, the UN, and the EU.
Moreover, rapid advances in technology, which are almost instantly incorporated in military equipment, are putting fleets and their crews at greater risk. In this demanding environment, navies must remain vigilant and be prepared to respond against all threats and challenges, across all domains.
Throughout the ten-year recession of the Greek economy that started in 2010, we managed to preserve our core operational capability despite severe financial restrictions. With the economy reviving, the Hellenic Navy is heading toward the mid-2020s with more budget space and new opportunities ahead.
With a view to keeping the right balance between force size and force capability, we have launched an ambitious plan in three distinct but interconnected pillars, which at the end of the day will create a powerful, ready, flexible, robust, and, above all, reliable naval force.
First, a comprehensive approach has been followed to identify the niche capabilities we need to have in the new era. This process will eventually bring the necessary renewal of the fleet with modern platforms that should meet the requirement of deterrence, while simultaneously embracing new technologies. In this context, we are also planning to modernize and upgrade some of our existing capabilities with new systems—sensors and weapons—that will extend their operational lives for at least a decade.
The second pillar is investment in smart technologies, innovative solutions, and networking capabilities. Interaction with the academic and scientific communities and further enhancement of the cooperation with the domestic defense industry are key elements for the integration of smart technologies and innovative designs into the military domain. Areas such as maritime situational awareness through intelligence gathering and new capabilities that address unconventional threats fall under this pillar.
Last but not least, we are always focusing on our personnel, who historically have proven to be a competitive advantage. We are reevaluating our education and training programs with the aim of incorporating new technologies relevant to modern and future naval warfare. In addition, the Hellenic Navy is in the process of reinvigorating its ranks by recruiting new and “tech-savvy” personnel to address the challenges of tomorrow.
Undoubtedly, such plans cannot be achieved overnight. Careful identification and prioritization of our defense needs and long-term planning and evaluation will ensure the right balance between cost and effectiveness.
Admiral Karambir Singh,
Chief of the Indian Naval Staff
Armed forces across the world are challenged by resource and budget limitations, and the Indian Navy is no exception. Simultaneously, the Indo-Pacific is witnessing heightened competition. The attendant security challenges, coupled with an increase in nontraditional threats, underscore the importance of optimizing resources and attaining a balance between force size and capability.
Indian Navy capability accretion is based on its Maritime Capability Perspective Plan, which endeavors to maintain a healthy ratio between vintage, contemporary, and niche technologies. This mandates a well-tuned and continual change-management cycle to enable absorption of modern technology, while mature technology continues to power a large portion of the Navy.
Notwithstanding the intent, we are conscious of gaps that exist and are constantly working to plug them and prioritize capabilities. Special emphasis is being given to operational enablers in the cyber and space domains.
At the same time, resource challenges necessitate measures that deliver more “bang for the buck.” At the design stage itself, a higher ordnance-to-displacement ratio delivers more lethality. We have also placed an impetus on the sensor-shooter grid through better networking, so as to act as a force multiplier. Unmanned solutions are being examined to enhance operational efficiency and accrue savings, both monetary and manpower.
With regard to our personnel strength, we are proceeding with various endeavors to enhance our tooth-to-tail ratio and optimize onboard manpower. Implementing the operator-maintainer concept for naval ratings, which aims to amalgamate the roles of the tactical operator and technical maintainer, is another key initiative toward this end. The aim is to evolve into a lean, technology-oriented force.
When it comes to maritime security, our philosophy is to adopt a collective approach, especially when dealing with transnational challenges. We look for opportunities to work with like-minded maritime nations toward enhancing the overall “collective maritime competence” in the region. Coordinated patrol of high-risk zones; collective capability enhancement initiatives; exclusive economic zone surveillance on request; information sharing; and collaboration in training and hydrography are some measures that allow us to optimally address challenges and channel capital for capability and capacity accretion.
The INS Vikramaditya replenishes at sea. The Indian Navy undertakes mission-based deployments to keep sea-lanes secure and endeavors to maintain a healthy ratio between vintage, contemporary, and niche technologies. Indian Navy
Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone,
Chief of the Italian Navy
A regional power such as Italy, with global interests and an economy intimately connected to the maritime domain, cannot do without a credible, reliable, flexible, and cutting-edge navy. Therefore, our strategic force planning is shaped to balance finite financial resources with the provision of cross-dimensional and multifunctional capabilities, always keeping a close eye on overall sustainability and NATO force goals. This effort, led by the joint staff since 2016, is based on a Joint Statement of Requirements List that represents the benchmark for the periodic fine-tuning of our defense long-term planning process.
The Italian Navy’s order of battle and its projection to 2035 counts 1 carrier (with 15 Navy F-35Bs), 8 submarines, 4 amphibious ships, 4 destroyers, 10 frigates, 3 logistic units, 15 offshore patrol vessels and corvettes, 12 minehunters, 3 hydrographic vessels, 86 helicopters, 9 maritime patrol aircraft, a landing brigade, and special forces. The maritime instrument is complemented by a technical, logistic, administrative, and educational system designed to ensure significant autonomy in terms of force maintenance and training, as well as to project specific capabilities wherever needed for cooperative security purposes, including capacity-building initiatives.
The resulting operational instrument ensures the capability to deliver the effects required by the joint force through continued maritime surveillance, effective power projection, and credible sea-based deterrence and defense, all with a strong and genuine expeditionary character. Its spearhead components are one carrier strike group with fifth-generation multirole fighters that will be operational by 2024—a unique capability in the EU—and one amphibious task group. Both groups will be integrated with escorts and organic logistic support to cover the so-called wider Mediterranean, a geopolitical and geostrategic concept focused on an area stretching from the West Atlantic, up to the Arctic and down to the Gulf of Guinea, all the way to the Indian Ocean through the Mediterranean, Black, and Red Seas.
In addition, extensive adoption of modern technologies supports the development of new combat systems and the synergistic exploitation of the emerging cyber and space domains, which we view as inherently joint.
Our national industries—shipbuilding, combat systems, and defense electronics—provide the Navy and various international partners with a wide range of products, while several new projects are in the pipeline for future development. In many cases, we are looking at multinational collaborations to tap into EU funding to optimize the distribution of the overall financial burden.
Assets and technologies are not enough, though. Today, and even more in the future, personnel strength and quality remain crucial. We are therefore discussing the possibility of an increase in personnel to respond effectively to all the requirements of the country, the NATO Alliance, and the international community.
The bottom line, therefore, is to pursue personnel increases, financial sustainability, and continual capability development, all with a joint approach and in full synergy with industry, NATO, and the EU.
Colonel Hisham Al-Jarrah,
Commander, Royal Jordanian Navy
Allocating finite or few resources to meet defense needs is a complex undertaking even for the best defense planners. In defense terms, the size of the budget is the most common critical measure of the resources provided to a military by its political masters. The defense budget serves to identify the relative importance of the military compared with other organs of state, and it conveys a general sense of the size of the defense establishment in absolute terms.
In the domain of maritime security, countries exist in an environment where internal and external threats are both conjoint and ever-present. Therefore, the effectiveness of the Navy as a coercive arm becomes the critical measure of power that allows the state to defend itself against all adversaries, foreign and domestic, while simultaneously enabling the state managers to pursue whatever interests they wish, if necessary, over and against the preferences of other competing objectives.
Force size and capabilities are the outcome of the resources provided to the Navy and its proficiency to transform these resources into effective warfighting capability. Consequently, capability can be viewed in the quantitative and qualitative dimensions: The quantitative being force size (number of ships, personnel, etc.) and the qualitative being the naval concepts and doctrine to deliver the necessary effects against the adversary.
Some considerations in working toward a balanced force and capability profile are knowledge-based exploitation, interoperability, manpower balance, rapid acquisition, and flexibility for the unforeseen. Examining the ways in which the Navy has and continues to pursue a balanced force in terms of size and capability initiatives and programs always takes the following into consideration:
- Synergy. Going beyond combined-arms warfare to the coordination of efforts with nonmilitary actors.
- Agility. Speed of reaction and deployability, but also the capacity to reconfigure for optimum force size and balance and move quickly at the tactical level.
- Selectivity. A wide range of capabilities and means to ensure an informed and appropriate choice at each stage of operations against the adversary.
- Sustainability. The right logistics support and access to the theater of operations.
- The following are examples of a balanced force in terms of size and capability initiatives and programs:
- Knowledge-based exploitation. Improving intelligence, information, and analysis at all levels and developing appropriate forms of network-enabled capability.
- Interoperability. Greater commonality of equipment and systems and shared or pooled resources.
- Manpower balance. Finding ways to enable smart investment by cutting manpower numbers and costs while providing boots on decks.
- Rapid acquisition. This would include quick exploitation of new technology.
- Development of multinational utility for the unforeseen. Developing, with multinational utility in mind, a comprehensive, civil-military, interagency approach—specific enough to identify capability development priorities, yet flexible enough to absorb new ideas as new technologies emerge and the threat evolves.
Captain Kaspars Zelčs,
Commander of the Latvian Navy
The Latvian Navy has found the right balance between force size and modern technology, taking into account its priorities and the geopolitical situation in the region. After the 2014 Crimea annexation and subsequent escalation in Ukraine, the Latvian government started to increase its military budget by upgrading and introducing specific capabilities that could provide deterrence and contribute to NATO’s collective defense.
To become more effective and fulfill both national and NATO tasking more efficiently, the Latvian Navy is upgrading its existing capabilities, with an emphasis on maritime situational awareness (MSA) and mine warfare.
The coastal sea surveillance system has been developed to improve MSA and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capacity in the area of responsibility. The naval sea surveillance system is being systematically modernized to reach the necessary automatization level and reduce manpower. A fully automated sea surveillance system with both land- and sea-based surveillance platforms has allowed us to reach the necessary MSA and presence postures. In addition, the maritime picture is continuously shared among the three Baltic states, and from 2020, it is done in automatic mode.
Since the renewal of the independence of Latvia, the Latvian Navy has focused on the development of mine warfare capabilities. A few months ago, a contract was signed to modernize Imanta-class ships’ mine countermeasures (MCM) systems as well as a mine warfare data center. The conventional hull-mounted, sonar-based detection system will be replaced with an unmanned system consisting of drones for detection, identification, and clearance of sea mines, thus allowing the MCM platform to stay outside the minefield. This “stand-off” concept, in combination with automated mine warfare data-processing systems, will increase MCM operational effectiveness and at the same time allow the Latvian Navy to slightly reduce the number of personnel. MCM capability will remain one of the core capabilities in the Latvian Navy for years to come.
To keep up with the increasing requirements and operational tempo, smart investments in modern technology and concepts, along with educated and trained personnel, guarantee increased efficiency and mission success
The Latvian Navy minehunter M-06 Tālivaldis during the Historical Ordnance Disposal Operation in the Irbe Strait, Baltic Sea. In the near future, conventional hull-mounted, sonar-based detection systems will be replaced with unmanned drones to identify and clear sea mines, thus allowing mine countermeasures platforms to stay outside the minefield. The Latvian Navy
Captain (N) Giedrius Premeneckas,
Commander of the Lithuanian Navy
The Lithuanian Navy is dealing with a broad range of tasks, ranging from maritime law enforcement in support of coast guard duties to purely naval tasks, including regular contribution to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 and the Baltic Naval Squadron. Current composition of the fleet is designed around those tasks and includes three squadrons of mine countermeasures, patrol, and auxiliary ships. The mine countermeasures squadron consists of two Hunt-class and one Lindau-class mine countermeasure (MCM) vessels, as well as a Vidar-class staff support ship. The patrol ship squadron is composed of four Flyvefisken-class patrol ships. A high level of platform standardization results in simplified crew training and allows us to streamline the ship maintenance process.
While it is foreseen that the overall number of platforms will remain largely unchanged in the mid-term, a significant effort is being put into the upkeep and upgrade of the ships currently in service. In terms of the ongoing upgrade projects, one of the key priorities is to expand the C4ISR shipborne capabilities and ensure their efficient integration into the National Maritime Operation Center C4ISR structure. This will further enhance the Lithuanian Navy’s maritime domain awareness (MDA) capabilities and contribute to building comprehensive regional MDA shared with NATO and EU allies on a case-by-case basis.
The major procurement projects include acquisition of the third Hunt-class MCMV from the United Kingdom, as well as the ongoing tender for construction of a new search-and-rescue ship, which will replace the obsolescent platform. Lithuania’s Defence Materiel Agency of the Ministry of National Defence is leading the implementation of both procurement projects.
Unmanned systems are definitely seen as important enablers and for a number of years have been used in naval mine countermeasures. At the same time, a great degree of importance is attached to experimentation and innovation, which are crucial for the Lithuanian Navy to cope with current and future challenges. The Navy strives to be an active part of this process, contributing to the Open Cooperation for European Maritime Awareness 2020 project, funded by the EU’s Preparatory Action on Defence Research and implemented by the European Defence Agency. Participation in this project resulted in unique trials conducted in collaboration with the Baltic Institute of Advanced Technology and allowed us to successfully test communication technologies that enable real-time maritime environment information exchange using aerial, surface, and underwater drones.
Considering the ever-growing sophistication of equipment and weapon systems, training and retention of highly professional personnel are among the Lithuanian Navy’s top priorities. This is achieved through various means, such as providing specialized and career training packages, as well as offering flexible career opportunities.
Vice Admiral Rob Kramer,
Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy
As part of a maritime trading country with a long-standing maritime tradition, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) is committed to ensuring freedom of the seas globally by providing safety and security at and from the sea, and by operating in a cross-domain way and throughout the entire spectrum of conflict. Operating and developing in line with the Netherlands Defence Vision 2035 motto, “Fighting for a safer future,” the RNLN protects what we value, because while freedom, security, and prosperity may seem assured, they most certainly are not.
The RNLN is operating and developing toward 2035 in response to the changing threat environment. This process takes into account foreseen geopolitical developments and technological evolutions and revolutions and is also influenced by the unpredicted COVID-19 crisis. Along this path for both the Navy and Marine Corps, the RNLN will invest in its people and in its high-end hardware and software warfare capabilities, with a focus on antisubmarine warfare (ASW), integrated air and missile defense, amphibious warfare, and mine countermeasures (MCM) operations.
The replacement (from 2027 onward) of the Walrus-class submarines with a new class of four diesel-electric submarines has entered the final phase of procurement. Together with our strategic partner Belgium, the RNLN also is replacing (from 2026 onward) the multipurpose frigate class with a new class of ASW frigates equipped with NH90 helicopters. It is reinforcing its MCM capability by replacing the current platforms with new platforms equipped with a full suite of unmanned and autonomous vehicles for conducting stand-off MCM warfare. In cooperation with Germany, knowledge institutes, and industrial partners, we will continue to develop the future air defender class frigates (commissioning from 2032 onward). The Marine Corps is developing its Future Littoral Operating Concept and Functional Concept Littoral Operations 2035 and will be provided with new barracks at the new Marine Corps Camp Nieuw Milligen, which will replace the old Marine Corps Camp Doorn.
While the aforementioned replacement and modernization programs were all foreseen, the COVID-19 crisis was not. It arrived quickly and on a large scale. Along the way, we learned how to deal with the circumstances dictated by the virus and maintained daily business operations. More important, we kept achieving our operational goals. Recruitment and education continue. RNLN and Marine Corps training is continuing, although larger exercises are hampered and sometimes postponed. With command commitment, crew ownership, individual accountability, and risk mitigation, we strive for COVID-19-free crews with the appropriate operational readiness to deploy mission-ready ships and Marines to fulfill our national obligations and commitments to allies and to support the civil authorities within the current COVID-19 environment.
Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas,
Nigerian Chief of the Naval Staff
The Nigerian Navy, like most navies around the world, is caught in the current fiscal flux occasioned by economic realities affecting the funding of global and local maritime forces. This has led to a reordering of priorities and platform mix to meet operational imperatives. The geostrategic environment requires navies to continually think globally while acting locally in tackling their peculiar threats. Hence, despite fiscal constraints, the Nigerian Navy continues to devise operational concepts to optimally use all available hardware and human resources to address maritime security challenges, both alone and in conjunction with other government agencies and international partners.
The Nigerian Navy draws from the nation’s maritime threat perception to determine an appropriate force size and capability to address the scourge of piracy, kidnapping for ransom, and resource theft that has remained a challenge within its maritime area of interest. Emphasis is placed on the protection of strategic hydrocarbon resources, maritime commerce, and infrastructure in the nation’s maritime environment, while also providing support to neighboring countries within the Gulf of Guinea. To succeed in these operational tasks is capital intensive and largely depends on the deployment of the right force mix, leveraging modern technology, and cooperating with partners.
On the domestic scene, the service works assiduously to heighten its deterrence value by mobilizing maritime law enforcement agencies for collaboration, including developing and publishing a handbook for engendering operational synergy as well as successfully advocating for the nation’s enactment of a law on piracy and suppression of violent crimes at sea. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy has also been active in championing regional collaboration and has invoked relevant protocols to unleash a regional front in the Gulf of Guinea subregion against a common menace that is both transnational and migratory. Specifically, the memorandum of understanding among the heads of navies of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Zone E member states (Benin, Nigeria, Niger, and Togo) offers prospects for unprecedented cooperation rather than competition, which enables the Nigerian Navy to concentrate on maritime policing as opposed to maritime defense.
The Nigerian Navy’s limited resources are devoted to acquiring offshore patrol vessels, seaward defense boats, and inshore patrol craft that offer greater patrol range at relatively lower cost. Attention is also paid to acquiring helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and maritime domain awareness infrastructure that offer a huge multiplier effect and awareness during operations. The need for improved knowledge of the nation’s maritime data and resources has also led to greater development of domestic hydrographic capabilities for more accurate surveys and resource exploitation.
The benefit to our international partners and others of a secure maritime domain cannot be overemphasized. Hence, a mutually reinforcing and complementary effort by all stakeholders is needed to sustain an effective naval platform recapitalization regime for the security of the commons and the nation’s strategic and economic imperatives at sea.
The rear gunner of a Nigerian Navy patrol boat keeps watch while searching for illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region. The Nigerian Navy’s limited resources are devoted to acquiring offshore patrol vessels, seaward defense boats, and inshore patrol craft that offer greater patrol range at relatively lower cost. Alamy (Rey T. Byhre)
Rear Admiral Rune Andersen,
Chief of the Royal Norwegian Navy
Located in the High North, Norway is a small nation with maritime areas seven times the size of its landmass. Our wealth is based on sustainable development of rich marine resources, and our security is based on a stable and peaceful development in the North Atlantic region. Norway has a very long coastline, with around 80 percent of the population living less than 10 km from the coast. Constants, such as our geopolitical location with access to the North Atlantic, rich maritime resources, membership in NATO, and Russia as a neighbor, together with the dynamic and rapid development of military technology, have shaped the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN).
Norway acknowledges that stability in the High North requires a balancing strategy of assurance and deterrence. To provide this balance, Norway maintains a presence of capable and credible naval units, which require constant modernization and upgrading pending the technology development in military sensors and weapons. In addition, the Coast Guard fleet enforces national and international maritime law, thereby promoting a rule-based order, covering the vast oceanographic area of responsibility 24/7/365.
Over the past decades, we have experienced an exponential growth in military technology costs and demands, which has forced the RNoN to focus on modernization in favor of volume. To maintain a balanced naval force of high quality, our priority has been joint and combined high-end maritime capabilities able to dominate a limited area for a limited time, in all warfare domains.
To this end, Norway is continually investing in modern and high-end maritime military capabilities. In 2025, five new P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and 52 new F-35A joint strike fighters are planned to be fully operational, increasing our ability to conduct maritime joint and combined operations. At the same time, three new ice-reinforced helicopter-carrying Coast Guard vessels of the Jan Mayen class will be operational. These are designed with possibilities to adjust and enhance their capabilities in concert with future military technology developments.
Norway has chosen Germany as a strategic partner for the procurement of four new Type 212CD submarines. The cooperation will include common education, training, maintenance, logistics, updates, and upgrades during the submarines’ entire life cycle. This will ensure benefits of economy of scale, such as cost efficiency and burden and risk sharing.
In December 2020, the Norwegian government published its latest defense white paper, strengthening the Norwegian defense by increasing the military budget. Furthermore, it initiated a study on future warfighting in the maritime domain, which will be completed in 2022. For a small navy, a core principle for future capability development will be to strengthen multinational integration, as we do with the procurement of P-8 MPAs, F35A fighters, and 212CD submarines.
In the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska, personnel from the Norwegian Coast Guard vessel KV Svalbard participate in Coordinated Arctic Acoustic Thermometry Experiment, a bilateral effort with the United States, in November 2020. Norwegian Defence
Admiral M. Amjad Khan Niazi NI(M) S.Bt,
Chief of the Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy
The global security environment remains volatile and complex, shaped by great power competition as well as the accelerated pace of developments in military technology, information, and cyberspace. The character of state-on-state conflict is also changing, with increasing employment of hybrid warfare capabilities. As a result, cyberspace, information operations, and proxy actions have gained prominence. Nonconventional challenges in the maritime domain arising from transnational crimes such as terrorism, narco-arms smuggling, human trafficking, and piracy, and risks posed by natural disasters, pandemics, and climate change have further complicated the security calculus. This requires our naval forces to be appropriately configured to deal with security challenges along the full spectrum of conflict.
In an era of growing sophistication and precision in weapons, along with swelling price tags, armed forces are striving to strike a balance between desired force levels and capabilities while remaining within the confines of their limited resources and budgets. This has compelled the defense forces to look for economical solutions to meet their military requirements.
Against this backdrop, the Pakistan Navy continues to strengthen its force structure and pursue progressive capability enhancement. To achieve a balance between the operational requirements and available resources, the Pakistan Navy has devised cost-effective and innovative solutions. For instance, the introduction of general-purpose offshore patrol vessels retrofitted with equipment to suit our own requirements has been a viable solution to undertake a variety of maritime security operations. Along similar lines, the Pakistan Navy has acquired commercial aircraft and fitted them with selected weapons and sensors suites for employment in the maritime patrol role.
Over time, with a focus on indigenization, our local defense production capability has increased manifold. Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works has successfully constructed mine countermeasures vessels, F-22P frigates, fast-attack craft (missile), fleet tankers, and utility craft. In the days to come, it will also be undertaking indigenous construction of MILGEM Project corvettes. Moreover, a variety of weapons, command-and-control systems, and electronic warfare equipment is being developed in Pakistan, which has substantially reduced our import and maintenance costs.
The Pakistan Navy is cognizant of the challenges faced. However, without indulging in a numbers game, we are focusing on achieving and maintaining cutting-edge capabilities to fulfill our national and international obligations. Moreover, our policy of collaborative maritime security, in the form of continued Pakistan Navy participation in coalition maritime force operations, holding the multinational biennial exercise AMAN, and linking the Pakistan Navy’s Joint Maritime Information Coordination Centre with a host of international organizations, has resulted in economizing efforts to ensure regional maritime security. In a nutshell, to maintain a balanced, potent, and combat-ready force, the Pakistan Navy continues to explore and engage international defense markets for new imports and mid-life upgrades, with a focus on indigenization to achieve cost-effective solutions.
Admiral Ricardo A. Menéndez,
Peruvian Navy General Commander
Over the past few years, the Armed Forces of Peru have been undergoing a continuous process of improving military capabilities to face multidimensional threats that could affect national security and defense. For this reason, the Peruvian Navy has prepared a long-term development plan, the Design of the Structure and Magnitude of the Forces, aimed at balancing military capacity and prioritizing investment in the development of its own technology, always within the budget assigned.
The Peruvian Navy has planned to achieve the aforementioned balance, mainly opting for investment in its own technological research and development projects, contributing considerably to enhancing our naval units and technology transfer through its offset strategy processes. This allows the acquisition and modernization of the units’ systems, in addition to the modernization and enhancement of the capacities and infrastructure of the shipyards of the Servicio Industrial de la Marina (SIMA). It also makes an invaluable contribution to the technological development of our institution, through the construction of naval units with state-of-the-art technology and modernization projects, such as the current project for the modernization of submarine units. Likewise, the Peruvian Navy, in strict compliance with the long-term plan and by virtue of the budget assigned to the defense sector, acquired a considerable number of amphibious vehicles and a new program of Super Seasprite (SH-2G) rotary-wing aircraft. Finally, a temporary repowering process for first-line naval units has been projected through the acquisition of secondhand units.
These measures implemented by the Peruvian Navy are oriented not only toward fulfilling the fundamental role of the institution, which is to guarantee sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also toward the other strategic roles assigned by the state, with the purpose of acting as a versatile tool that overcomes the various difficulties that arise, while having the best military and technological capabilities in the region.
Admiral António Maria Mendes Calado,
Chief of the Portuguese Naval Staff
One sensible approach to deal with finite budgets and resources is the deepening of international cooperation programs and activities among allies and other partners.
For instance, recently Portugal has assumed command of two multinational maritime forces: Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and the European Union’s EUNAVFOR Somalia, engaged in Operation Atalanta. In the latter, the force commander and his staff embarked on board a Spanish Navy flagship, illustrating the high level of interoperability between both navies.
That interoperability—an intangible value of all NATO navies—has also facilitated international cooperation concerning organic helicopters. Because of the mid-life upgrade of the helicopter squadron that rendered all Portuguese Navy helicopters unavailable for a period, the Portuguese flagship of SNMG1 embarked a German Navy helicopter detachment and, similarly, Portuguese Navy helicopter pilots maintained their qualifications by flying in German and Spanish squadrons.
The Navy has always considered innovation as leverage for change and improvement. From historical examples, such as the artificial horizon sextant developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Admiral Gago Coutinho–which allowed him to complete the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic, from Portugal to Brazil, in 1922—to current innovation programs, the Portuguese Navy continually searches for new ideas and projects that add value and efficiency to its activities to balance finite budgets and resources.
Therefore, the Portuguese Navy is exploring and experimenting with new concepts to improve force capability in a wide variety of fields, such as human resources management, automation of processes, and new technologies, namely in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and unmanned systems.
Regarding AI, the Navy actively explores big-data tools for maritime situational awareness, aiming to extract useful information from the myriad of surveillance systems. Concerning unmanned systems, since 2010, the Portuguese Navy has been organizing an annual exercise in partnership with the University of Porto and the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation: The Robotics Experimentation and Prototyping–Maritime Unmanned Systems. This experimental and testing venue has evolved and matured into the leading operational experimentation exercise for the Alliance’s Maritime Unmanned Systems initiative.
Budgets and resources will always be limited, but the Navy upholds efforts to improve the force capability, actively engaging in international cooperation and fostering a social environment that favors innovation across the service.
REPUBLIC OF KOREA
Admiral Boo Suk Jong,
Chief of Naval Operations, Republic of Korea Navy
The Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy faces security threats from all directions, including a hostile North Korea and rising transnational and nonmilitary hazards. It also must grapple with a limited defense budget and a manpower shortage caused by population decline. Nevertheless, advanced science and technology provide new windows of opportunity in areas such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and cyber. In this context, the ROK Navy established its vision, Maritime Power, Blue-Water Navy, with the goal of achieving this vision by 2045, the ROK Navy’s 100th anniversary.
Navy Vision 2045 conceives a navy that has achieved greater versatility and innovation. To accomplish this, the ROK Navy launched the Strong Maritime Force Accomplished with Revolutionary Technology (SMART) Navy initiative to make use of fourth industrial revolutionary technology. These initiatives are some of the key ways through which the ROK Navy will construct a force capable of effective and agile response against a variety of future challenges.
Navy Vision 2045 conceives a Regional Fleet that will protect the seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula and a Maritime Task Fleet that will conduct far-sea operations to secure ROK interests and contribute to international peace and stability. The ROK Navy will make efficient use of its budget to modernize Regional Fleet capabilities, including frigates, guided-missile ships, and manned/unmanned aircraft. Similarly, it will acquire a balance of capabilities, including Aegis ships and destroyers for its Maritime Task Fleet. Furthermore, advanced unmanned maritime platforms will be introduced to overcome the challenges of manpower and platform shortages, and manned and unmanned platforms increasingly will be operated together in close coordination.
The ROK Navy has been implementing its SMART Navy initiative since 2019 to apply fourth industrial revolution science and technology to both tangible and intangible assets. The focus of the initiative is maximizing warfighting capability, operating with less manpower, and achieving budget efficiency, and is implemented under three categories: “Smart Battleship,” “Smart Operations,” and “Smart Cooperation.” Smart Battleship refers to the application of advanced technology to platforms to enhance their combat capabilities while reducing the number of human operators. Smart Operations refers to the linkage of different platforms in a network to maximize multidomain operation capabilities. Smart Cooperation refers to cooperating with allies and partners to promote international peace and with relevant domestic organizations to develop and apply advanced commercial solutions.
Fourth industrial revolution technology will provide a window of opportunity that will allow the ROK Navy to overcome uncertainty in its future security environment and looming budgetary and manpower limitations. Through Navy Vision 2045 and SMART Navy, the ROK Navy will reinvent itself as a powerful and elite naval force. It will play a central role not only in preserving peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula but also in upholding a safe and prosperous region.
Rear Admiral Mihai Panait,
Chief of the Romanian Naval Forces
A well-sized and -equipped naval force can be an instrument of foreign security policy, promoting the country’s image through the presence of the national flag on the world’s seas. In this context, the modernization of the Romanian Naval Forces is continuous, complex, and absolutely essential in achieving modern capabilities that are perfectly compatible with those of NATO member states, meet national commitments, and are able to act in a complex multinational environment, individually or in collaboration with other capabilities of the Alliance.
The planning of the acquisition process strictly depends on the annual and multiannual financial estimates, as well as the budgetary allocations. In this sense, since 2017, Romania has allocated at least 2 percent of GDP toward defense spending, approximately 20 percent of this budget being allocated for acquisition programs with new capabilities or modernization of existing ones. Considering the role of research and development in the acquisition process, approximately 2 percent of the acquisition resources will be allocated to research activities through our own capacity or through the development of mixed research projects involving national institutions.
In support of the above, two programs should be highlighted: First, the endowment of the Naval Forces with multifunctional corvette-type ships and, second, a system of mobile missile equipment. Both programs were estimated to be allocated at the beginning of this year. At the same time, our own research has proved useful in the endowment and modernization process, as seen during the development of the prototype of a naval turbine for T22R frigates, in collaboration with a prestigious national engineering institution.
One of the Naval Forces’ successful programs is the modernization of a ship that, following its certification, took command of a NATO naval group for the first six months of 2020. The life on board and the ability to successfully lead the NATO group provide the certainty that the modernization program has been efficiently funded and coordinated, ensuring the success of the proposed goals, while setting an example for future modernization projects.
A decisive factor in modernizing the Naval Forces’ military capabilities is the early identification of projects funded by other sources, such as the foreign military funds/sales programs, NATO Security Investment Program, and some European initiatives. These projects will contribute to the modernization of capabilities and the defense capacity. Some other projects worth mentioning were developed jointly with the United States in the Maritime Domain Awareness initiative to modernize capabilities in naval units. Some of these developments will be made during the modernization of T22R frigates, in addition to other projects through the offset arrangements.
Looking forward, in the Romanian Naval Forces efforts are constantly made to prioritize and implement our programs of endowment. In addition, we aim to ensure the proper functioning of the force structure, with the optimization of financial resources and the identification of new programs that would allow the formation of a synergy in this process.
Admiral Teodoro E. López Calderón,
Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy
The Spanish Navy will continue operating a single set of forces to fulfill its deterrence role, be decisive in conflicts if deterrence fails, and protect our national maritime interests. To this end, we will maintain a balanced, technologically advanced, interoperable, and expeditionary fleet. As overall personnel numbers are unlikely to increase in any significant way in the next few years, fleet size will remain limited, trading numbers for technology to maintain the necessary force capability. In this sense, we are making a big effort to advance the digital transformation of the Navy, streamline our organization, and move forward in the cybernetic field, as vital enablers to attain the agility and efficiency that the lack of human resources and increasing complexity of the operative scenarios demand.
To ensure fleet capabilities are preserved and properly updated, it is necessary, first, to maintain a reasonable balance between financial resources and operational tempo, and second, to invest in replacing units approaching the end of their operational lives, keeping in mind that cutting-edge technology will be decisive in future conflicts.
In the short term, our priority is ensuring the Spanish Navy keeps its ships, aircraft, and Marine units fit for current operational commitments. To that end, we are focused on balancing four pillars in our approach to force generation and sustainment: fleet activity, fleet maintenance, replacement of obsolete matériel, and upgrading of systems. By sensibly managing our operational tempo, we will continue to be able to generate forces at the required readiness level, preserve our capabilities, and maintain an appropriate overall training level.
In the medium and long term, our focus will be to ensure the continuous replacement of our units to maintain an advanced and balanced fleet. We need to ensure the timely delivery of S-80 submarines and F-110 frigates, two key pillars of our future force structure, and the new submarine rescue and diving support ship, whose procurement has been recently approved. In addition, we will focus on key technologies for platforms that will make a difference in the future battlespace. European Union projects related to its Permanent Structured Cooperation initiative offer a new arena to develop military capabilities while facilitating the cooperation between the services and industries. Spain has joined some projects, such as the European Patrol Corvette, and leads others, notably the Essential Elements of European Escorts project that aims to identify and develop critical technologies for next-generation escorts.
Rear Admiral Ewa Skoog Haslum,
Chief of the Royal Swedish Navy
The Baltic Sea, in which Sweden for all practical purposes sits as an island, is a constrained and challenging maritime operating environment. The geopolitical complexities of alliance boundaries, resource supply lines, and access to the Atlantic Ocean conspire to further challenge those who operate here. For these reasons, the Royal Swedish Navy does not seek to strike a balance, for itself, among budgets, force size, and capabilities. All efforts to succeed in such an environment demand an integrated, joint approach in which perceived single-service needs are subordinated to the national effort. The 2020 Parliamentary Defense Resolution exemplifies this philosophy. The significantly increased budget it authorizes—about 80 billion SEK ($9.45 billion) in 2025—will be invested based on national and regional security outcomes alone.
That said, the Swedish Navy brings irreplaceable pieces to the joint puzzle. We enforce our territorial integrity, gather intelligence to do so, guard our sea lines of communication, and stand ready to strike back if threatened. These capabilities must be constantly at the disposal of the joint commander, thus demanding a persistent naval and Marine presence, afloat and ashore, held at full combat readiness. Resourcing these capabilities is recognized as essential and is why Sweden invests heavily in stealthy corvettes, silent submarines, state-of-the-art mine-countermeasures vessels, and formidable Marine units—the latter fully integrated into the fight both at sea and in the littorals. Investment decisions are not driven by the lure of the “exquisite” and often most expensive options, but by the need to present mass and endurance to potential adversaries. It is here in which a joint approach provides solutions.
Such capabilities comprise not only intelligent weapon systems but also the right number and caliber of personnel to bring them to bear for maximum effect. Therefore, the Swedish Navy is growing a force structure that blends full-time service personnel, reservists, conscripts, and civilian staff to access the very best of Swedish society’s skills in ways that are cognizant of changing models of working.
In 2022, the Royal Swedish Navy celebrates its 500th birthday. Building on that heritage, we will harness increased automatization while also addressing greater demand for skilled personnel, longer endurance cycles, and closer partner cooperation. In doing so, we will sustain and grow as a deterrent force with which to be reckoned and a credible partner in keeping the peace today, tomorrow, and many years thereafter.
A Swedish Navy sailor with a minesweeper in the background at Karlskrona Naval Base, home of the Third Naval Warfare Flotilla. The Swedish Navy is growing a force structure that blends full-time service personnel, reservists, conscripts, and civilian staff to access the very best of Swedish society’s skills. Swedish Armed Forces (Alexander Gustavsson)
Admiral Chatchai Sriworakan,
Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy
The current global situation continues to be challenging, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and other nontraditional threats. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is focusing on its primary missions to maintain the security and territorial integrity of the country and its people, protect and conserve marine assets, preserve coastal peace and order, and ensure the safety of maritime transport.
Using our force development philosophy, “The power of unity, the power of the Navy,” the RTN seeks to emphasize more effective use of current resources and targeted capability acquisition to improve maritime security. Moreover, the RTN employs a regional approach by partnering closely with neighboring countries to maintain peace and stability in our immediate region, carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and remain prepared to meet and resolve all challenges within the current structure of forces, personnel, and finite budgetary resources.
The key element to drive the RTN forward is Thailand’s National Strategy (2018–37), which is being implemented to ensure the country achieves its vision of becoming a developed country with security, prosperity, and sustainability, in accordance with King Rama IX’s philosophy of sufficiency economy, with the ultimate goal of increasing the happiness and well-being of all Thais.
Because of budget constraints, the RTN aims to use all existing assets to accomplish its mission efficiently and effectively. Currently, it is becoming increasingly self-sufficient in several ways. For example, the RTN has demonstrated its capacity to build its own offshore patrol vessel, His Thai Majesty’s Ship Krabi, while continuing to develop and construct its own drones and unmanned surface vehicles to minimize the use of surveillance aircraft and ships.
The maritime environment reflects the endless tempo of technology introduction, which leads to greater requirements for intellectual agility to ensure our armed forces remain competitive in the mid 21st century. To understand and cope with the modern technological context, it is vital to keep empowering our personnel with additional professional military education. This includes a collaborative environment—a peer-to-peer knowledge exchange that allows RTN personnel to work productively, particularly regarding maritime joint operations to safeguard regional maritime security. Such operations would undoubtedly further our ability to collaborate in the pursuit of good order at sea. Regional resilience can be seen as a cornerstone to achieve comprehensive stability.
Overall, maintaining and sustaining all of the RTN’s assets with efficiency provides it with confidence to support the National Security Policy, which aims at achieving national security and public satisfaction, with primary emphasis on national environmental management and promoting security, democracy, sovereignty, peace, and orderliness at the national, social, and community levels.
Royal Thai Navy (RTN) sailors sweep the main deck of a vessel during a visit, board, search, and seizure training drill as part of ASEAN–U.S. Maritime Exercise. The RTN employs a regional approach by partnering closely with neighboring countries to maintain peace and stability in its immediate region and carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. U.S. Navy (Christopher A. Veloicaza)
Admiral Tony Radakin,
First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
There is a simple answer to Proceedings’ question: We have not. The perfect balance never exists. The best organizations exist in a constant state of adjusting the balance to respond to technological changes. That adjustment is a struggle for conservative institutions, particularly ones with large and long-term capital programs, hampered as we are by bureaucratic structures and the responsibility to be ready to defend and win for the nation now, as well as in ten years’ time.
Our approach is threefold:
First, we must recognize the problem and acknowledge that while the imbalance, which is probably manageable now, risks letting the nation down if we don’t tackle it for the future.
Second, we must start to address it. The Royal Navy has been transforming around five core elements: increasing our operational advantage in the North Atlantic; becoming a carrier strike navy; increasing our forward presence; transforming the Royal Marines into the Future Commando Force; and using technology and innovation better. As part of this, we have refocused on the front line, reduced our admirals and headquarters staff by 40 percent, and prioritized filling gaps at sea. We need to shake things up and focus on the programs that have genuine long-term utility across a range of outputs, such as the F-35, aircraft carrier development, and our three new frigate programs.
Third, we need to do more. This is a rolling snowball that is going to get bigger and faster. We need to stop hesitant, incremental changes and take bold leaps. Some of that is an intellectual exercise; we must stay true to the tenets of maritime power while wielding that power differently.
This is why programs such as the Future Commando Force—in which we are changing the way we structure and deploy our Royal Marines—are important. Or the Type 31 and 32 frigates, where every ship will be a sensor, an intelligence station, an embassy, and a launchpad for a range of systems and technologies. Our ships will spend more time forward deployed, increasing our persistent presence in strategically important areas and maximizing what we can deliver with our force structure. And this presence will be enhanced by greater use of autonomous systems, delivering effects over a wider area with fewer people.
There are no easy answers, but improving this balance is key to ensuring the Royal Navy remains global, modern, and ready to serve both our nation and our partners.