Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, AM, RAN, Chief of the Royal Australian Navy
It was a turbulent year for international maritime security. The global strategic environment has deteriorated more rapidly than anticipated, and long-held assumptions have been smashed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ripples of the invasion have been felt across the world, highlighting the realities of our global system when the rules-based order buckles.
In the Indo-Pacific, we have seen continued threats to the rules-based order that underpins our prosperity and security. Ongoing gray zone activity, military modernization and expansion, coercion, contested maritime sovereignty, and attempts to reinterpret international law in the Indo-Pacific bring this behavior sharply into focus for me. Our ships and people find themselves at the forefront of strategic discussions among nations.
The past year also brought home to Australians that we are very much a part of and connected to the global economic system. It has reminded our Navy of the importance of our friends and allies in times of greatest need; and it has again reminded us that it is economic wellbeing that not only wins wars but also allows a nation to survive and thrive. For an island nation such as Australia, our Navy’s role in ensuring our economic wellbeing has been reinforced.
As we look to Australia’s future, our next generation of submarines will provide a powerful deterrent, allowing our government freedom to make decisions free from coercion. We cannot ignore the reality that a potential adversary could strangle Australia’s economy—and destroy our national wellbeing—from the sea at a great distance. The unique characteristics of nuclear-powered submarines, which hold at risk forces that would seek to endanger our free access to the sea, are an essential tool of Australia’s maritime strategy in an evolving and challenging region.
Of course, Australia is not alone in the Indo-Pacific in its dependence on free access to the sea. Many other nations in our region also rely on the sea and seabed for their economic and security wellbeing. Australia’s fleet will continue working as representatives of our nation—as diplomats on and from the sea—across the Indo-Pacific to foster mutual trust and respectful conversations, working toward a future that remains peaceful and prosperous for all nations.
Commodore Errington R. Shurland, Chief of Staff, Barbados Defence Force
As efforts for peace gain momentum across the globe, it is important to remember that critical to this is the rule of international law (inclusive of maritime law), the sovereignty of nation-states, and the freedom of navigation across the global commons. This draws to mind the large and complex issues of maritime security and leads those of us in the eastern Caribbean to reflect on our vulnerabilities.
Barbados is a small developing island-state with an open economy and is especially vulnerable to international shocks in the global economy. This has most recently been felt during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the economic viability of the country has been repeatedly put to the test. Concurrently, the war between Russia and Ukraine, while not directly impacting Barbados, has created second-order effects. The global maritime logistics supply chain and the increase in oil prices have affected the maritime and commercial interests of the country. Many maritime security platforms used by coast guards in the region have their origin in Europe, and the procurement of parts was greatly affected by shipping delays.
During the pandemic, Barbados was a haven for cruise ships operating within the region, and we provided maritime security and other logistical and administrative support for them. This was significant because the country benefits economically from maritime tourism and safe maritime transport in our area. This elevated position on the global landscape also makes Barbados a soft target for nefarious actors.
The government has identified the ocean and its resources as a viable source to augment and promote sustainable economic development and place the country on a growth path. Thus, our maritime security efforts must consider maritime tourism; international, regional, and domestic maritime transport; exploitation of hydrocarbons (oil and gas); mineral extraction; commerce; and the extraction of living and nonliving resources from our ocean. Our maritime security apparatus must be robust and well-placed to promote situational awareness and effective prosecution of bad actors.
There is evidence, for example, that foreign vessels enter our waters and fish illegally. We must enforce laws in our exclusive economic zone to secure natural resources. Barbados recently collaborated with international and regional partners to develop a national maritime security strategy to address complex maritime security issues (including illegal fishing in our exclusive economic zone) within its jurisdiction. We are also developing a general ocean policy and a marine spatial plan to regulate our maritime spaces. While these initiatives are in their infancy and await ratification by political authorities, they represent a positive step as they align with our national strategic goals and objectives.
These initiatives require political will to reach their desired goals. The maritime security structures will be assessed and adjusted to meet current and emerging threats. The focus is to create the conditions in which we provide a comprehensive maritime security posture for the maritime domain, prevent threat activities, detect and respond effectively to maritime incidents, and support stakeholder and partner involvement through cooperation, collaboration, and network building.
Admiral Marcos Sampaio Olsen, Commander of the Brazilian Navy
The question regarding international maritime security highlights how multifaceted threats have generated rising tensions in the maritime domain lately, challenging nations to cooperate with each other. Besides traditional interstate disputes, other challenges continue to impact the good order at sea, such as maritime pollution; piracy and armed robbery; drug and arms smuggling; environmental crimes; and disputes over natural resources. In this context, navies tend to adapt their roles to the global, regional, and local realities to perform a wide range of tasks.
The Brazilian Navy, aware of these conditions, continually conducts a strategic assessment to coordinate its preparation and employment, combining its main mission of warfighting with other naval missions, such as maritime security and support to the needs of the population within Brazilian maritime and inland waters.
Regarding preparation, the Navy has been seeking to align its force planning with progressive access to advanced technology in the context of severe resource constraints. Regarding employment, it has been acting in the domestic and international arenas, both requiring intensive cooperation. Thus, there has been a growing participation of the Brazilian Navy with other state agencies—meaning interagency operations—to tackle the challenges related to the good order at sea (and inland waters) and other domestic needs.
On the international stage, the Brazilian Navy’s consistent presence in the South Atlantic in a cooperative approach is consistent with the aim of decisively contributing to maritime security and stability in our strategic environment. In this sense, the Navy closely cooperates with Brazil’s leaders toward the strengthening of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZOPACAS).
Within this framework, the Brazilian Navy has conducted, in addition to its cooperative initiatives in the Gulf of Guinea, Operation GUINEX since 2021, with the purpose of collaborating with African navies in that region to enhance capacity building against maritime insecurity. Moreover, command of Combined Task Force 151 in the Indian Ocean was given twice to the Brazilian Navy, reinforcing Brazil as a nation able to lead and contribute to regional stability in disturbed areas, aligned with national objectives. The Brazilian Navy has been making its contribution to rebalance cooperation in the maritime domain.
Vice Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander, Royal Canadian Navy
There is no doubt that 2022 was a turbulent year, but, in an era that is now characterized by great power competition and the unmistakable effects of climate change, sudden and dramatic changes in the strategic environment have become the norm rather than the exception. We need to be ready in all respects.
The incredible bravery of Ukrainians in resisting and repelling the unprovoked Russian invasion has been eye-opening for militaries around the world. Although the war in Ukraine has largely taken place on land, there are key lessons for navies in terms of the quantity of munitions required to sustain high-intensity combat operations, the critical importance of readiness at sea (and being honest about the real level of matériel and personnel preparedness in one’s fleet), the requirements to defend critical infrastructure on land and under the seas, and the tremendous potential and lethality of uncrewed systems. Most of all, it has reminded us of the vital importance of recruiting, training, and enabling sailors who are resilient and innovative if we are to be successful.
We have also been reminded of the need to build robust and effective networks of capabilities to defend against submarines and protect critical subsea infrastructure. We are continuing to augment the outstanding antisubmarine warfare capabilities of the Halifax-class frigate equipped with the Cyclone helicopter and accompanied by the Aurora maritime patrol aircraft with networks of sensors as well as remote and off-board systems deployed from other platforms or vessels of opportunity.
Perhaps counterintuitively, our examination of the lessons of 2022 has not led to tremendous changes. Instead, it has validated the requirements we have already laid out and confirmed the need for us to complete the largest recapitalization of the RCN in our peacetime history. The challenges to Arctic security as well as the impact of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing have confirmed the wisdom of building the Harry DeWolf–class of Arctic and offshore patrol vessels, as they are perfect platforms to meet this growing need. The increasing risk of armed conflict at sea has confirmed that the requirements set out for our Canadian surface combatant and Canadian patrol submarine projects are correct and that the most important thing is to get them delivered as quickly as possible.
Admiral Juan Andrés De La Maza Larraín, Commander-in-Chief, Chilean Navy
Although it may seem that international maritime security is facing a variety of new threats, such as the attacks on undersea infrastructure, analysis of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the menace to marine resources allow us to reaffirm the importance for a country to have a Navy capable of protecting national sovereignty against any threat but, at the same time, capable of safeguarding its resources against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Chile is a tricontinental country, with a coastline that extends more than 4,000 nautical miles, with presence in the Southern Cone, Antarctica, and Oceania. This makes our country dependent on maritime trade and creates the need to protect commercial shipping and other maritime activities at sea. This reality reinforces the need for surveillance, international cooperation, and presence over the vast expanse of ocean under our responsibility.
The nature of this challenge has defined the mission of the Chilean Navy, which is “to provide a Naval Power and a Maritime Service that contributes to the protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity, maintaining the nation’s security, promoting development, and supporting national interests overseas.” To accomplish this mission, our armed forces, and our Navy in particular, have defined five mission areas: defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity, international cooperation and support to foreign policy, maritime safety/security and interests, contribution to national development and to the state action, and national emergency response and civilian protection.
One of the main factors that allows us to adequately face the tasks ahead of us is that our organization considers the Coast Guard an integral part of the Chilean Navy, which continues to prove to be a strength when facing the challenges of international maritime security. This allows us to address each threat using all the assets and personnel at our disposal. However adequate this organization may be, our environment presents us with the strategic need for international cooperation, which is instrumental in preserving maritime security within our area of interest.
Having analyzed the challenges we face today, which include an increasing number of tasks with tighter budgets, we can conclude that if we are able to fulfill the mission we set for our Navy through Navy–Coast Guard integration, supplemented by international cooperation, we will be able to address all threats to international maritime security, both old and new.
Admiral Francisco Hernando Cubides Granados, Commander of the Colombian Navy
The past year was turbulent for maritime security in Colombia because of multiple transnational threats and the increasing use of the sea by transnational criminal organizations for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, drug trafficking, and irregular coastal migration. Lessons learned have forced the Colombian Navy to review its objectives and priorities on maritime security and defense.
Despite the attention focused on Europe and Asia, Latin America constitutes an important region because of multiple threats concentrated in the hemisphere. In particular, Colombia is positioning itself as a relevant security actor in the region, with the Colombian Navy as a multirole institution guaranteeing integral maritime and riverine security (IMRS) in the national territory.
From the cybersecurity perspective, cyberattacks have been rising globally, and Colombia is no exception. So far in 2022, according to the national cybersecurity office, Colombia ranked as the third Latin American country with the highest number of cyberattacks, with 6.3 billion. Specifically, the Colombian Navy was targeted by 752 attacks, with none affecting operations. As a result, the Navy has strengthened its mechanisms to protect operational information systems and maintained its effectiveness in safeguarding IMRS.
Threats to natural resources, particularly from illegal fishing, continue. Throughout 2022, 37 tons of illegally cought fish were seized in jurisdictional waters. An increase of 8 percent in seizures compared with 2021, this reveals the relevance of this threat, forcing us to redouble our efforts to prevent this crime in maritime jurisdiction.
The drug trafficking threat is constantly changing and demands constant analysis to counteract groups using new routes and means of transportation. In 2022, more than 326 tons of cocaine and 73 tons of marijuana were seized on board 246 vessels and 28 semisubmersibles, a 7 percent decrease from 2021. These results are a consequence of the efforts to destroy drug laboratories and seize liquid and solid supplies. Thus, the lesson learned is that the phenomenon is not linear but dynamic.
In 2022 the Navy registered a 500 percent increase in maritime illegal migration. The Navy detained and presented to the immigration authorities 777 people, compared with 147 in 2021. Migration by sea is taking place in coastal areas, including in the Colombian archipelagic department of San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina, forcing the Navy to take strong operational measures to prevent this phenomenon in jurisdictional waters.
The Colombian Navy, as a unique institution compared with other navies around the world, must counter all these threats within its jurisdiction. Our blue-water capabilities, Coast Guard component, naval special forces, Marine Corps, and naval air wing allow us to be a multirole Navy in doing so.
According to the 2022 report of the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime, Colombia is a regional leader in this regard through the Naval Campaign Orion, fighting this crime through the synergy among countries and institutions, demonstrating its leadership and regional influence. For the Colombian Navy to reach its goals, the combination of institutional capabilities, joint efforts with national forces through the unified action concept, and cooperation between navies is paramount to safeguard maritime security.
Captain Constantinos Yennadiou, Commander, Cyprus Navy
The 21st century is undeniably the century of the blue economy, and the sea is without doubt a source of power for every state. The geopolitical environment is very fragile and unstable, and the maritime competition has become more complex. Therefore, maritime security is becoming more important than ever.
Maritime threats are known and predictable. The vastness of the sea, climate change, maritime conflicts, terrorism, other humanitarian crises, and the need for more resources all make dealing with those threats difficult and complex. Therefore, it is understandable that maintaining a secure maritime environment is a top priority at both the national and international levels.
The eastern Mediterranean is a dynamic environment with many security challenges, which directly or indirectly affect the Republic of Cyprus as well as neighboring countries. These include maritime disputes between states, irregular migration flows, and other risks arising from possible terrorist attacks on critical infrastructures and port facilities.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea remains the basis for maritime activities and taking actions at sea. Threats to maritime security now have a hybrid form, and new procedures, standards, and actions are necessary to deal with them. Further cooperation and exchange of information, while adopting common actions between states and organizations, are necessary and vital.
Navies now operate in a changing maritime environment with many actors. Maritime security requires constant monitoring, personnel training, and application of constitutional and legal procedures. Specific changes include:
• Enhance multinational cooperation within the European Union (EU) and identify the eastern Mediterranean as a maritime area of interest, within the Coordinated Maritime Presence concept.
• Improve the awareness of the maritime situation with the coordination and interoperability of all governmental institutions and agencies of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as joint actions in the field of maritime security. On this basis, the multinational exercises Argonaut and Nemesis are held every year, enabling other states to participate in the exercises, along with several other services of the Republic.
• Reinforce the Cyprus Navy with naval and unmanned aerial vehicles, so there is a continual information-gathering and naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean.
• Reinforce cooperation and exchange of information with neighboring and other friendly states in the region. For example, Cyprus, France, Greece, and Italy established a Quadrilateral Cooperation in 2020, aiming to strengthen regional maritime security and ensure freedom of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean. The aeronautical exercise Eunomia is organized every year with these countries.
• Continue developing the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) and EU Maritime Surveillance programs, which aim to enhance the awareness of maritime activities in the context of the EU’s maritime security strategy.
• Support friendly countries operating in the eastern Mediterranean with maritime security, such as providing port facilities to the naval forces of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.
Evolving threats are challenging maritime security around the world. Facing these threats must involve cooperation among navies, but also with other agencies from the public and private sectors and international organizations—a multilateral approach and integrated effort on a global scale.
Rear Admiral Jori Harju, Commander of the Finnish Navy
The main area of operations of the Finnish Navy, the Baltic Sea, is rapidly evolving and in constant change. During the past few years, the Baltic has also become more difficult to predict. It is a mirror reflecting not only its own actions elsewhere, such as the explosions of Nord Stream gas pipes, but also what is taking place around the world, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine. These reflections set high demands for the Finnish Navy to protect the sea lines of communication and critical underwater infrastructure.
The war in Ukraine has shown the importance of situational awareness, international defense cooperation, interoperability, and high readiness. The lessons learned from the war underline how critical it is to maintain the capabilities and level of readiness that correspond with the demands set by the area of operations. It is also essential to have a joint perspective to unleash the full potential of those capabilities. The capability to execute maritime operations in a flexible and coordinated manner is a result of international defense cooperation and a high level of interoperability.
To meet the ongoing and future maritime challenges in the Baltic Sea, the Navy develops its ability to operate by means of practical international cooperation with other countries and allies. This is important in light of current and future challenges of multinational operations and within the scope of international security architecture. The Navy engages in international defense cooperation to develop combined capabilities and interoperability. It also continues to implement its development plan that will bring new capabilities. These new capabilities, alongside existing ones, ensure the Finnish Navy continues providing unified striking power all year round in the Baltic. This also highlights the presence and readiness of our forces to ensure credible deterrence.
Finland is now a member of NATO. In the future, the sea lines of communication will be defended as part of NATO’s collective defense and capabilities and in the interest of all NATO allies within the Baltic Sea region. Along with NATO membership, we will continue bilateral and multilateral defense cooperation. We are stronger together. The Finnish Navy is now compatible and interoperable nationally and internationally, so there are no significant changes that need to be made in a short period of time.
Admiral Pierre Vandier, Chief of the French Navy
The sea has changed profoundly in recent years. Our ships at sea are daily witnesses to the cumulative effect of disorders, such as illegal activity, an increasingly fierce competition for resources, and the destabilizing effects of climate change. The “global commons” are therefore places of competition and contestation. They are fluid environments. Seafarers are therefore in constant contact with each other: civilians and military, but also allies and competitors. Finally, at sea, a vast movement toward naval rearmament has emerged everywhere in the world, in quantity as well as in complexity.
The sum of these factors creates a strategic uncertainty that requires us to be prepared for the unexpected. In this context, the French Navy is structured around three main missions:
• Implementing a sovereign nuclear deterrence through the permanent presence at sea of at least one ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN).
• Being ready to sustain a long fight in high-spectrum operations, far from home. This capability is maintained in coalition and therefore depends on our interoperability with allied navies. Interoperability cannot be decreed—it must be worked on daily through equipment and procedures that can be interconnected and common doctrine and exercises, which will enable us to fight side by side if necessary.
• Protecting French overseas territories and maritime zones, sometimes tens of thousands of kilometers from metropolitan France.
The military programming law, decided by the President of the Republic for the period 2024–30, aims to give the armed forces and the Navy the means to meet this ambition. But beyond the means, the French Navy is transforming itself to face uncertainty.
Training conditions have been tightened to get ever closer to real combat. The Orion 23 exercise conducted in February 2023 was rich in high-level lessons learned. The same applies to technical innovation, where the “learning loop” must be shortened to provide our ships with regular upgrades that will maintain their advantage and stay ahead of the game. Finally, individual training is being overhauled to give sailors the right skills at the right time on increasingly complex systems.
Combat readiness is above all about commitment and mindset. This is what the French Navy is trying to achieve to face a world of profound changes.
Vice Admiral Ioannis Drymousis, Chief of the Hellenic Navy General Staff
Undoubtedly, several disruptive events occurred in 2022, and they have seriously challenged maritime security. It would not be overstated to allege that these incidents refreshed the importance of the maritime domain and highlighted the need to respond to pervasive instability by investing in maritime security.
The spillover effects from Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine have seriously impacted regional stability. More than ever, it is widely accepted that semiauthoritarian regimes promoting revisionist policies in breach of international law are causing ripples of instability in the international order. Claims based on arbitrary and unilateral interpretations of international law regarding sovereignty and jurisdictional rights in maritime zones are triggering tensions in the maritime domain. Impacts from the war in Ukraine reverberate in the supply chains of essential goods, which stress the need to protect sea lines of global trade.
Employing new technologies and smart power, Ukrainian forces achieved sea denial and attrition of the Russian fleet in the northwest Black Sea. Simple tactics based on smart technology have emphatically overcome (or at least balanced) quantitative superiority. Control of littoral seas is not buoyed by fleet numbers.
Irregular sea migration continues to pose serious transnational, humanitarian, and socioeconomic challenges. Revisionist aspirations facilitate migrant flows to exert pressure on and destabilize democratic states.
Recent attacks on seabed infrastructure recall the importance of the maritime domain as a means of transportation for both energy and data. Maritime security is a critical enabler for economic sustainability and global order.
A value system shaped by democracy, freedom, and belief in an international order grounded on the rule of law is reflected in the Hellenic Navy’s threefold axis of enhanced capabilities, maritime presence, and collective action.
Modernizing the fleet will deliver new capabilities to the Hellenic Navy. Recognizing that timely and accurate identification of emerging threats enables efficient decision-making and operational performance, the first priority is investing wisely to foster maritime situational awareness. A new balance of maritime assets should be established among warships and new technologies (ground-based surveillance/maritime unmanned systems). The Hellenic Navy maintains a continual maritime presence and high readiness level to support freedom of navigation in regional and neighboring seas. Furthermore, the Hellenic Navy aims to preserve maritime security in the region through our NATO commitments and by acting as a hub between NATO/EU and regional multinational initiatives in the maritime domain. Finally, Greece offers the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center facilities to allies and partners.
The Hellenic Navy, embedded with the principles of freedom and maritime security that we cherish, is fully committed to strengthening its maritime footprint and operating seamlessly with those maritime partners who share the same values.
Admiral Enrico Credendino, Chief of the Italian Navy
It was a pivotal year in global geopolitics. The increase in Russian presence in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, which reached its highest level since the Cold War because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has resulted in rising tension and uncertainty, posing a threat to the security of the region.
Italy’s prosperity depends highly on sea trade and marine resources and free, accessible, and safe seas. Against this backdrop, Italy—a medium-sized regional power with a strong maritime focus—is playing a key role in ensuring regional security and acting as a leading navy in the Mediterranean.
The existing threats to undersea critical infrastructure highlight the significance of the underwater dimension since recent advances in technology allow easier access to the ocean floor. This was a discussion at the Transregional Seapower Symposium held last October in Venice. The whole maritime community perceives the underwater environment as a new physical and operational domain, which requires significant increase in investments and research. Our navies must be capable of maneuvering within this challenging environment.
As a result, the Italian Navy has decided to enhance its presence and surveillance upon, above, and below the sea to be prepared to face any risk or threat, keeping up the fleet warfighting capabilities in all domains. The “Fleet Scheme of Manoeuvre” of the Italian Navy has been conceived to rapidly deploy our forces where and when they are needed, throughout our main area of interest—the so-called wider Mediterranean. Furthermore, in accordance with the EU and the Italian government guidelines, the Indo-Pacific region has gained strategic relevance. Consequently, we are planning our future presence in the region to support our policy of alliances. In April, Morosini began a deployment that will reach Japan.
Moreover, the Italian Navy recognizes the importance of working with like-minded navies to preserve global maritime security. We are therefore strengthening cooperation, aiming to achieve the concept of interoperability and effective interchangeability of our assets, with a focus on the U.S. Navy, U.K. Royal Navy, and French Navy. In fact, we are already providing escort units, such as an antisubmarine warfare frigate or destroyer, to our allies’ carrier strike groups during their deployments to or transits of the Mediterranean Sea.
This collaborative effort will be the key to maintaining security in the region.
Admiral Sakai Ryo, Chief of Staff, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Amid Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine, we have seen unilateral efforts to change the status quo by force, including in the East China and South China Seas. In addition, last year North Korea launched ballistic and cruise missiles a record 37 times. Japan is facing the most severe and complex security environment since World War II.
The aggression highlights not only traditional ways of warfare but also hybrid warfare, including information warfare; war in new domains such as space, cyber, and the electromagnetic spectrum; and war that uses unmanned assets. The aggression has also reminded us how important sea lanes are and that the international community needs to take a firm stance against attempts to change the status quo. To defend our country from others attempting to unilaterally change the status quo by force, it is essential to possess both hard and soft power to make them find it impossible to do so.
Based on these lessons, Japan has recently adopted a National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and Defense Buildup Program, which represent a major turning point for post-war security policy. To strengthen our own deterrence and response capabilities, Japan will fundamentally reinforce its own defense capabilities and enhance joint deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. alliance. We will also promote cooperation with various partner countries of the international community to demonstrate that Japan will never tolerate unilateral changes to the status quo by force.
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), which plays an important part in joint operations, will organically fuse kinetic and nonkinetic capabilities to augment our overall capability. More specifically, we will secure air defense and information warfare capabilities, as well as underwater superiority, and strengthen integrated air and missile defense capabilities, stand-off defense, and logistics at sea. We will ensure sustainability and resiliency and build up our posture to acquire and maintain underwater supremacy, which is most important in cross-domain warfare. We will focus on the introduction and employment of Aegis-equipped vessels, nonkinetic weapons, various unmanned assets, munitions, and missiles, as well as the enhancement of logistics that support all our efforts.
Furthermore, on the axis of the Japan-U.S. alliance, we will cooperate with countries to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, with coast guards in and outside Japan, and with relevant ministries to ensure freedom and safety of navigation and flight as well as maintain and develop an international maritime order based on universal values, including the rule of law. For example, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of multilateral naval exercise Malabar last year, the chiefs of navy of Japan, the United States, India, and Australia had an in-person meeting for the first time prior to the exercise. In addition, the JMSDF hosted an international fleet review for the first time in 20 years. Such events reminded me that we can achieve much more when we work together face-to-face. I believe that every interaction based on friendship and relations of trust among navies will lead to further strengthening our cooperation. In closing, to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, the JMSDF is determined to continue building its defense capability and deepening cooperation and collaboration with other navies.
Colonel Hisham Al-Jarrah, Commander, Royal Jordanian Navy
Maritime security is a term that covers issues in the maritime domain, including the high seas, regional seas, and territorial waters. The term maritime security has often been used to describe both existing and new regional and international challenges to the maritime domain. Some of the 2022 issues clustered under the term include human trafficking; drug trafficking; illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; damage to the marine environment; tensions in the South China Sea; and the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war that created an additional burden on the maritime industry that was already dealing with ongoing supply chain disruption and a crew crisis caused by the pandemic.
By looking at 2022 as a turbulent year, maritime stakeholders must be committed to continuing their important role in underpinning global maritime security. Our efforts are focused in two main areas: strengthening partnerships and accelerating innovation by integrating advanced technologies such as unmanned systems and artificial intelligence. Having an artificial intelligence system that could expand the situational awareness for any given operator is a must. That is why Jordan, in partnership with U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, recently inaugurated the Jordanian Robotics Operations Center.
To effectively confront the multifarious challenges the maritime domain faces in the 21st century, we must exert every effort to continually strengthen our navies to always maintain high readiness to protect our maritime interests, safeguard seaward frontiers, and eliminate all maritime threats in the areas of interest. For this, we need to optimize every resource, embrace innovation, and develop effective leadership at all levels, in addition to achieving maritime security by sharing information to obtain the most knowledge from partner nations. That is why the Royal Jordanian Navy recently joined EU Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO).
If we could accomplish one auxiliary mission and make an important contribution to security in the maritime domain, it would be capacity building. This would increase our readiness and our ability to have that muscle memory ingrained in our team.
Finally, I would encourage all to think about the Middle East waters and the role of the international partnerships that are led by the U.S. Navy (Combined Maritime Forces and the International Maritime Security Construct) as a good example of how we can do it when we act together.
Brigadier General Hazza Al-Alati, Kuwait Naval Force Commander
International turbulence in the maritime domain has demonstrated to the Kuwait Armed Forces (KAF) in general, and the Kuwait Naval Forces (KNF) specifically, that there is a persistent and increasing need to maintain maritime security, protect sea lines of communication, and preserve freedom of access and safe passage.
During the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, hundreds of sea mines have reportedly been laid by both sides, preventing access and free trade within the northern Black Sea. This demonstrates clearly that mining remains a contemporary threat. The overarching threat to Kuwait and other nations within the Arabian Gulf includes mining the Strait of Hormuz. Were this to happen (or even be suspected), there would be significant economic impact on both Kuwait and these other nations. Moreover, a potential threat exists of nonstate/violent extremist organizations seeking to target Kuwait critical national infrastructure or deny access to Iraqi internal waterways. The KNF is therefore working alongside other Gulf Cooperation Council nations to address these potential threats and ensure combined, united, interoperable, and capable resilience.
Smuggling and the inconsistent and undetermined nature of state and nonstate actors will also persist within the Arabian Gulf. The KNF is developing a balanced force that provides versatility, access, mobility, persistence, and poise within the Arabian Gulf and extending to the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.
To meet current and emerging threats, the KNF will continue to develop its existing capability and invest heavily in meeting air, surface, and subsurface threats, both within Kuwait’s territorial waters and its wider exclusive economic zone. The KNF will continue to hone its joint interoperability and capacity alongside all KAF. It will capitalize on its highly successful prior leadership of Combined Task Force 152 and the collective experience developed operating within the Arabian Gulf with international partners. It will forge new alliances and partnerships where possible to exchange information, advance interoperability, and enhance mutual security. The KNF will continue to provide capability within the maritime domain to support Kuwait’s foreign policy. In particular, the KNF will maintain legitimacy and the rule of international law through the consistent pursuit of international peace and security.
Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman bin Ayob, Chief of Navy, Royal Malaysian Navy
Flanked by the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean on one side and the Strait of Malacca and Indian Ocean on the other, Malaysia is a bridge between the two ocean regions and between the continental north and maritime south. This location allows Malaysia to connect and build cooperation across nations, but it also exposes Malaysia to a variety of challenges. Three are especially significant: the growing tensions in the South China Sea; illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and nontraditional security concerns, such as illegal migration, human smuggling, and maritime piracy.
As guardian of the nation on the maritime front, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) vigilantly protects Malaysia’s interests from these and other maritime menaces. The RMN does so via concentric deterrence, comprehensive defense, and credible partnerships. This three-pillar defense strategy, as outlined in Malaysia’s inaugural Defence White Paper in 2019, has been pursued by the Malaysian Armed Forces through collective action with other domestic agencies as well as external partners in an active, impartial, and inclusive manner.
In the South China Sea, the continuing projection of power, new realities, and the increased presence of warships pose formidable challenges to Malaysia. The trends risk turning this region into a flashpoint. Sandwiched between the big powers’ action-reaction, Malaysia walks a tightrope to preserve security, while maintaining sovereignty, autonomy, and prosperity. Neutrality remains Malaysia’s fundamental principle, but the nation must recalibrate its policies according to prevailing needs. Correspondingly, the RMN will enhance partnerships with like-minded nations to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the maritime commons, emphasize respect for international law, and embrace policies that avoid polarization, provocation, and escalation.
The RMN is also stepping up efforts to tackle IUU fishing. The RMN will undertake multilevel collective action to combat IUU fishing, as countering this menace is key to ensuring a sustainable future for Malaysian fisheries and good order at sea. The RMN will take similar national, regional, and multilateral efforts to combat irregular migration and human trafficking.
Growing challenges at sea and other domains require multilevel cooperation based on credible partnerships, inclusive initiatives, and dynamic coexistence. At a time when the world is experiencing intensified geopolitical rivalries and uncertainties, it is imperative for Malaysia and its partners to collaborate and combine their strengths to pursue shared security and sustainable peace. The RMN will meet the challenges in safeguarding the nation’s maritime borders.
Rear Admiral David Proctor, Chief of the Royal New Zealand Navy
From New Zealand’s perspective as a trading nation geographically isolated from our major trading partners, the effects of ever-growing geostrategic uncertainty are of vital importance to us.
While extremism and the actions of nonstate actors have dominated the security landscape for many years, the increasingly assertive actions of state actors have meant a significant increase in uncertainty and the reemergence of strategic competition. The most significant effect from our point of view is the undermining of the rules-based international system that underpins New Zealand’s security and prosperity.
As a nation, we sit under the specter of growing tensions in the South China Sea. At the same time, the increasing geopolitical importance of the Pacific region means New Zealand is faced with a volatile and uncertain strategic situation in our primary area of interest. While the use of hard power in the southwest Pacific has not yet emerged on a significant scale, we must prepare now for when it does. As a nation and a Navy, we have learned that we need to be prepared to act both regionally and globally for the foreseeable future.
Interoperability and communication are key areas of focus that we will build on for the future, as the Royal New Zealand Navy continues to contribute to collective security activities to support the international rules-based system. Cooperating and investing time with like-minded navies through operations and information sharing is therefore essential to combat threats and ensure we play our part in maintaining the international rules-based order, not only in the Pacific but around the globe.
Furthermore, strategically speaking, the importance of nurturing multilateral defense relationships through investment in regional architecture and operational initiatives cannot be overstated.
Given the increasing volatility in the region, it is imperative the Navy be prepared to act. We must be ready and at our best when things are at their worst. Investment in experimentation, high-end warfighting capabilities, and technology such as the recently upgraded Anzac-class frigates has been essential to making us better prepared to respond. Ensuring that our operating parameters, strategic plans, and processes are shaped to account for the changing geostrategic environment is essential, particularly those pertaining to operations within the Pacific region. As challenges emerge and key lessons are learned, we must adapt and maintain an effective and regular presence in the region.
With the flexibility, endurance, and capability to operate in the complex, contested environment that we now face in the southwest Pacific and beyond, options and benefits from the diplomatic level through to the tactical level of warfare and engagement are essential and must be explored. Ensuring maximum interoperability and interchangeability, and a greater coordination of effort by all stakeholders with an interest in the region, is therefore a key focus of the Navy for the future.
Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi NI(M) S Bt, Chief of the Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy
Considering the challenges to maritime security, the Pakistan Navy drew several lessons and implemented changes to improve its warfighting capabilities, which include:
Building cooperation and strengthening partnerships. In the face of transnational threats such as maritime terrorism, narcotrafficking, illegal fishing, and attacks on undersea infrastructure, the Pakistan Navy learned it could benefit from collaborating with regional and international partners to improve information sharing, joint patrols, and coordinated response. The Pakistan Navy’s Exercise Aman and Regional Maritime Security Patrols are some of the initiatives for building partnerships and enhancing cooperation.
Enhancing situational awareness. To effectively respond to a range of security challenges, the Pakistan Navy believes in the capability to have real-time information on activities in its area of responsibility. The Navy already had a “network-aided capability,” which is being further refined through convergence of several operational networks that evolved over the past 20 years or so. Situational awareness is achieved through investments in modern surveillance and intelligence-gathering capabilities, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, sensors, and early warning systems.
Modernizing warfighting technology. The Pakistan Navy built and acquired new ships and modernized, where needed, its relatively older surface vessels, submarines, and aircraft with state-of-the-art technology to enhance its operational capabilities and ensure it can effectively respond to security threats. This process is ongoing, and 2022 guided the Navy’s focus on the strategic necessity to remain technologically relevant, modern, and superior to all adversaries.
Improving cybersecurity. The increasing use of communication and data networks in naval operations means that cybersecurity must be a top priority. Developments in 2022 led the Navy to redirect its gaze to configuring administrative, logistics, and operational networks to withstand current and emerging cyber threats through modernizing network equipment, improving procedures, and instituting better crew training.
Developing robust response. The Pakistan Navy developed a comprehensive response plan to deal with a range of security challenges in coordination with the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency, from maritime terrorism, human smuggling, and illegal fishing to possible attacks on offshore and underwater infrastructure, such as pipes and submarine cables. This plan includes clear lines of authority, well-trained personnel, and sufficient resources to respond effectively.
These are some of the lessons learned and changes that the Pakistan Navy has implemented and will continue to refine to address the challenges of maritime security. It is important to note that these changes do require significant investments in personnel, technology, and training.
Admiral Alberto Alcalá Luna, Peruvian Navy General Commander
For the Peruvian State, fishing activity represents 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), which generates approximately $3 billion in foreign currency, and accounts for 7 percent of the country’s exports. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Peru loses $360 million annually in illegal fishing, and worldwide this practice is responsible for the loss of 11 to 26 million tons of fish per year. This is equivalent to an estimated value of $10–23 billion.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing off the coast of Peru extends to the high seas and includes one of the most important hydrobiological resources, the giant squid. The FAO affirms that IUU fishing exists in all types and dimensions, occurs both on the high seas and in areas under national jurisdiction, and affects all aspects and stages of capture and use of the fish. Consequently, illegal activity is a threat to livelihoods, exacerbates poverty, and increases food insecurity. IUU fishing is a broad term that includes:
• Fishing and its activities that contravene national, regional, and international legislation.
• Information on fishing operations and their catches not declared or declared in an erroneous or incomplete manner.
• Fishing carried out by vessels without a flag or with the flag of convenience.
• Fishing carried out in areas administered by organizations’ regional fisheries by vessels from countries that are not members thereof.
• International fishing fleets, including Chinese boats, follow fish on their migration through the maritime territories of South America. This illegal activity occurs outside 200 miles, between the months of May through September in the north and October through December in the south. The giant squid (Dosidicus gigas) is the most abundant cephalopod species in the Pacific Ocean. To fish at night, the boats use a system of lights that attracts the squid. Once close, they are hooked with a line of vertical hooks. In Peru, this species is known as pota and can measure up to three meters and weigh about 50 kilograms. Its extraction represents the second most important fishery, after the anchovy.
The Peruvian sea is one of the most productive and with the greatest biodiversity on the planet. The cold-water Humboldt Current provides an enormous amount of nutrients and food for fish and invertebrates, and the warm current, which we call the “Tropical Pacific Sea,” allows the Peruvian sea to harbor more than a thousand species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 68 species of sharks, more than 100 species of birds, and more than 30 species of cetaceans. It is of vital importance to protect hydrobiological resources within our maritime domain that are a source of livelihood for thousands of families—not only from fishing, but also from tourism and a gastronomy that includes the fish and shellfish of Peru.
IUU fishing constitutes one of the greatest threats to the marine ecosystem because of its powerful capacity. Faced with this problem, the National Maritime Authority, through its operational arm, the Coast Guard Operations Command, has been carrying out tasks of control, surveillance, and protection of hydrobiological resources using different monitoring systems as well as the presence of maritime patrol boats and air surveillance units.
During 2022, the National Maritime Authority intercepted 207 national-flagged vessels and 6 foreign-flagged vessels for illegal fishing, seizing hundreds of tons of hydrobiological resources.
Rear Admiral Oumar Wade, Chief of Naval Staff of the Senegalese Navy
At the beginning of the 21st century, maritime insecurity quickly spread in the Gulf of Guinea, to the point that U.N. Security Council Resolutions 2018 of 31 October 2011 and 2039 of 29 February 2012 deemed it to represent a concern of the international community that required a global strategy.
This led to the Yaoundé Code of Conduct in 2013, the progressive implementation of dedicated architecture, and an awareness and rise in power of the navies and coast guards of the coastal Gulf of Guinea states to deal with this scourge. This has greatly reduced illicit acts in the region. Indeed, the 1 November 2022 report of the U.N. Secretary General to the Security Council S/2022/818 recognized a significant drop in the number of security and safety incidents, thanks to the deterrence achieved by the coastal states’ maritime surveillance patrols and the presence of ships from international partners.
Guided by a logic of prevention and anticipation, the Senegalese Navy adapts continually to master its maritime environment and increase its efficiency. We have learned several lessons from the evolution of maritime insecurity.
Every day, a Navy ship covered the spectrum of assigned missions with particular emphasis on State Action at Sea. The risks and threats to maritime safety and security in Senegalese waters have not undergone fundamental change. However, securing activities related to the development of offshore oil fields took an important place in the missions carried out.
The decline in illegal acts should push us to complete certain major projects that have been undertaken and that are undoubtedly factors of success. These include the continued operationalization of Yaoundé Architecture and the consolidation of international cooperation through work with our partners.
The second important point concerns the continued rise in capability of the navies and coast guards through capacity building of human capital and material means of surveillance and intervention, to achieve control of the maritime domain. The growing awareness of maritime security issues, combined with the national efforts of the navies bordering the Gulf of Guinea and the establishment of management bodies, such as the West Africa Regional Maritime Security Center and the Regional Center for Maritime Security in Central Africa, are all accomplishments to retain.
To this should be added the integration of environmental issues at sea and on the coast, as these issues are becoming more important and have a strong impact on activities at sea.
After analyzing the lessons from the evolution of maritime safety and security for 2022, a new posture is necessary if we want at least to maintain, if not improve, the operational balance sheet. This will manifest itself through the following points:
• In the wake of the creation of the new Navy school, consolidate the human resources policy through targeted recruitment, quality training, and fulfilling career paths.
• Improve knowledge of our maritime domain by strengthening capacities for monitoring, collecting, and analyzing maritime intelligence with other militaries and administrations.
• Improve the logistical and technical support of naval units through a modern maintenance policy by equipping and developing the capacities of the Navy workshops. This will make it possible to control the operational availability of ships at reasonable costs.
Ultimately, we must consolidate the surveillance of our river-maritime area through a more regular presence on the high seas and better control of the waterways where illicit trafficking takes place. Above all, subregional and international cooperation, a rise in power of the French Navy, and a strengthening of the legal regime will make it possible to better understand the security challenges of 2023.
Admiral General Antonio Martorell Lacave, Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy
Competition to control valuable maritime spaces, key sea lines of communication, and marine resources will define the prevailing dynamics at sea during the next decades. Spain, being a maritime nation with global interests, is fully aware of these dynamics; our prosperity relies on the security of maritime supply chains that, in turn, rests on ensuring regionwide stability and protecting our legitimate interests wherever they are.
The vulnerability of the maritime domain is more notable than ever. Technology facilitates access and favors the employment of hybrid strategies, asymmetric actions, and the exploitation of the gray zone. Moreover, there are growing difficulties trying to attribute actions to those stakeholders trying to pursue a strategic advantage by occupying certain maritime spaces or dominating particular sea lines of communication. On top of that, the invasion of Ukraine has brought war back to Europe and put the rules of world order in jeopardy. It is quite clear that peacetime is not tantamount to complacency; naval capabilities may degrade easily and take years to recover. All in all, competition for maritime spaces, the return of conventional war at sea, and comprehensive long-term planning are setting the conditions for the development of the Spanish Navy’s future capabilities and training.
Therefore, we have realigned operational certification and training at sea toward conventional, high-intensity scenarios. We are revamping certain capabilities such as antisubmarine warfare (ASW) to rebalance our fleet power and also are preparing to be relevant in multidomain operations. And we are increasing our presence at sea with high-end capabilities to better support the allied defense and deterrence posture. These arrangements, together with our long alliance with the Spanish defense industry, are improving our present capabilities.
But we must also prepare for the future by defining force pillars and critical capabilities. Operational responsiveness and anticipation, decisive combat capabilities, and technology-based logistics to improve operational readiness and availability are the foundations for the force-planning process. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; joint targeting; ASW; integrated air and missile defense; deep strike; over-the-horizon amphibious capability; artificial intelligence support to maritime security; and computer-based logistics are but a few of the capabilities required in future operational scenarios.
Spain is also drafting a new national maritime security strategy to be released shortly. One of the new themes incorporated is that of maritime resilience looking at critical infrastructures, littoral protection, and the preservation of marine resources. This theme will boost public-private cooperation, a much-needed approach for a maritime nation such as ours.
Overall, the Spanish Navy seeks to remain relevant and decisive at sea to protect national interests and continue being a capable and reliable partner in NATO and the European Union.
Rear Admiral Ewa Skoog-Haslum, Chief of the Royal Swedish Navy
Current events in the maritime domain in Sweden’s immediate surroundings are affecting the security situation in the Nordic region. The Royal Swedish Navy is addressing these challenges in a comprehensive and active manner.
Our modern society depends on energy and communication flows between nations via cables and pipelines on the seabed. This infrastructure is more essential for our communities than many people think. Also, if something is important for someone, it is, of course, of interest for an adversary to exploit.
The sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in late September last year made world news and was a wakeup call for many people regarding the vulnerability and importance of underwater infrastructure. However, this vulnerability is not new for any navy.
The gas pipeline and power and internet cables on the Baltic seabed are hard to monitor and protect because of large marine traffic flows above them. Underwater monitoring is notoriously difficult, especially in the Baltic Sea. The shallow water salinity and water temperature layers affect sensors. As a Navy, how do we address the challenge?
A prerequisite is close cooperation among nations. Since these cables and pipelines connect countries, no one can address the challenge alone. Nations need to share intelligence and coordinate patrolling and surveillance. Sweden has been cooperating closely with our navy partners since the early 1990s. We train together and exchange information. When Sweden joins NATO, this cooperation will deepen even further.
The Navy’s capability is another key factor. The Swedish Navy is growing. We are building two state-of-the-art conventional submarines and have ordered four new surface combatants that are all adapted to the unique Baltic conditions. We are also looking into more unmanned and autonomous systems for the underwater domain.
However, addressing these challenges is not only a military task. The approach needs to be comprehensive, including civilian authorities as well as the industry that builds and owns the infrastructure. I strongly believe that the owners need to take a larger responsibility in monitoring their own infrastructure.
I am proud to say that the Swedish investigations of the sabotage site displayed an impressive cooperation among national authorities. We worked closely together despite the sensitive task, focusing on results. This gives me confidence that we can face difficult tasks together in the future.
To sum it up, the seabed warfare challenges are complex and real. The Swedish Navy addresses them and other challenges with an active stance and together with other authorities, partners, and allies, ensuring new and old threats are mitigated.
Admiral Sir Ben Key, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff
Russia’s actions highlighted the fragility in some areas of our training and stockpiles and in our ability to surge national effort in time of increased tensions. As a result, we are quickly refocusing resources to ensure we are ready to fight tonight, if called on, and increasing the lethality of the fleet; given the stark reminders of the vicious and brutal nature of maritime conflict, this is not optional.
We also recognize from Russia’s actions, and those of China and others, that challenge in the gray zone—the area between peace and war—is increasing rapidly. It underlines our need to ensure that deterrence is integrated across the spectrum of military and civilian maritime sectors. While kinetic exchanges in warfare remain broadly the preserve of militaries, the scale and breadth of subthreshold activity—especially in the maritime domain where we have seen over the past year a strangling of maritime trade routes and attacks on civilian shipping and critical undersea infrastructure—remind us that “you may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” Working across government and with industry and the private sector, we can and must be better informed and prepared, able to preempt nefarious activity and respond when required. By doing so, we can avert escalation to all-out conflict.
Finally, NATO’s reinvigoration has underscored that we are not alone. No nation alone can solve all the challenges that we face globally, and our strength is derived from our collaborative approach, whether through old alliances or new ones. In AUKUS, the United Kingdom, United States, and Australia are bound by a common purpose and shared commitment to deter belligerent activity and uphold the rules-based order that has maintained the peace for decades. The United Kingdom’s Global Combat Air Programme will develop the next generation of combat aircraft in partnership with Italy and Japan. The spread of these partnerships, from the United States to Europe to Asia and Australia, reflects the reality that the EuroAtlantic and Indo-Asia Pacific are intrinsically linked. Ensuring the free and open order in both, and across the rest of the world’s oceans and waterways, will be ever more important for the Royal Navy, alongside our allies and partners.