The Armed Forces in the 21st Century : Navy in the 21st Century
On February 7, 2015, The International Affairs and Foreign Policy Institute organized a Working Breakfast at which Chief of Staff of the Navy Don Jaime Muñoz y Diaz del Rio presented on the Navy in the 21st Century.
With constant global technological advances coinciding with strict government budget cuts due to Spain’s economic crisis, the Spanish Navy has had to be resourceful in creating an effective strategy in order to continue their success into the 21st Century.
Given that about 75% of Spain’s borders are coastal, the country’s economy and security are dependent on strong a navy. 90% of Spain’s energy comes in through water ports, the country’s thriving tourist economy is strongly tied to the ocean and Spain is home to the largest fishing industry in Europe. This means that maintaining safe waters around the country is essential to keeping up in the global market. Though Spain’s location is beneficial in economic terms, its surrounding waters are targets of illegal drug trafficking, terrorism and illegal immigration; all issues that the Spanish Navy is responsible for reducing.
The Chief of Staff of the Navy, Don Jaime Muñoz y Diaz del Rio, conceded that Spain’s Navy needs to advance and change with the global climate; past strategies are not going to function in the future. The proposed strategy includes a comprehensive collaboration between different government and economic sectors in Spain, an efficient distribution of resources in the Navy and the promotion of cooperation on a national level. To be successful in this pursuit, the Navy must be readily available, flexible, sustainable and efficient.
In order to achieve this, the Chief of Staff explained that certain missions need to be expanded. Deterrence and defense against enemies are the Navy’s most essential responsibilities. In order to improve in this area, the Navy must increase its control of the seas and enhance maritime security. In addition, the crisis management and security screening programs should be expanded, which will only be possible with the support of civil authorities.
Above all, the Navy must act with a strong maritime presence. In order to maintain and amplify their presence, it is important that the naval fleet evolves to meet current technological standards. New vessels are being designed and built in Spain in order to meet the high standards necessary to achieve the aforementioned goals.
To conclude, Chief of Staff of the Navy Muñoz-Delgado explained that maritime security is essential to the Spanish economy and to the wellbeing of Spanish citizens. An efficient long term plan will help the Spanish Navy continue its history of exemplary naval operations.