A Royal Navy re think

An emerging view is that navies should focus on economic protection including protection of sea trade and sea communication in an age where information assurance is crucial to all our wellbeing.

A Royal Navy re think – the economy and role of UK Maritime security capability

The naval theorist, Julian Stafford Corbett’s most important influence on Jackie Fisher during the Great War one hundred years ago, was to keep him reminded of the human, moral, and intellectual side of war.

Corbett’s strategic ideas (which stressed the strengths of the defence) would have fitted well with an emerging view that navies should focus on economic protection including protection of sea trade and sea communication in an age where information assurance is crucial to all our wellbeing.

Since 2000 the UK merchant fleet has grown significantly and the UK owned fleet now consists of at least 750 ships earning almost £27mn every 24 hours; of which more than £17.5mn is earned from export or cross-trades activity.

Furthermore, 80% by volume of world trade moves by sea – and maritime volumes grow historically at the rate of a little less than 10% a year. Shipping is the transport mode which facilitates and mobilises this key ‘economic contribution’.

Additionally, energy dependence is seen as a new national vulnerability and the Royal Navy has a clear role to play in ensuring the security of our energy supplies.

While defence of the realm remains the ultimate purpose of sea-power, in the future maritime environment sea power must be capable of being applied more proactively for the protection of commerce and for the protection of the national economy.

Does this require a re-balancing of Royal Navy capability away from a focus on capital assets such as warships and aircraft and a new focus on maritime cyber security and trade information assurance, use of flexible resources onboard merchant ships and an emphasis on prevention rather than reaction?

 

Written by Malcolm Warr, Chairman of the Tranzparency Group.

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One Reply to “A Royal Navy re think”

  1. Matt Minshall

    The Royal Navy has been in steady decline in funding and assets for the past fifty years, possibly because of the limited vision of what value the capability actually brings. Defence requirements might be better financed if the role of the armed forces was shown more distinctly to include clear economic value. Roughly 80% of the world’s trade moves by sea. Protection of all aspects of this is an economical necessity.

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