International Partnerships Needed to Counter ‘Great Power Competition’
By OTTO KREISHER, Seapower Correspondent
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The naval leaders of two traditional U.S. allies and a strong partner nation voiced the common needs to improve their capabilities and to increase cooperation in face of the reemergence of great power competition.
At an April 9 panel at the 2018 Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition, the senior officers of the German, Spanish and Swedish navies echoed the opening comments of Rear Adm. Francis D. Morey, director of the U.S. Navy International Programs Office, who said, “We cannot expect to succeed in this great power competition unless we fully execute our great international partnerships.”
Vice Adm. Andreas Krause, chief of the German Navy, made a strong effort to counter past impressions that his force had collapsed from decades of inadequate funding, stating that while that had been true, it was no longer the case, as Germany was committed to a multiyear major modernization of its navy.
Krause said the latest German defense white paper recognized the increased security threats from Russia and China and the need for strengthened defense cooperation. He noted that German ships would sail with the Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group.
Adm. Teodoro E. Lopez Calderon, chief of the Spanish Navy, noted that his navy was “small, but balanced,” and was working at getting better by replacing quantity with quality.”
He also cited the importance of the close cooperation with the U.S. and other NATO nations.
Rear Adm. Jens Nykvist, chief of the Swedish Navy, noted the increasing shipping through the Baltic Sea and the need to work with partner nations to monitor the changing environment.
With the increasing belligerence of Russia, “West and East are meeting again in the Baltic sea,” Nykvist said.
Although not a NATO member, Nykvist stressed the close cooperation with the alliance. And Krause said it was easy to work with the Swedish Navy because it has adopted NATO standards of operations.
The international officers indicated that they saw the need to demonstrate both capability and solidarity to counter the threats from Russia and China, with Calderon noting an increased activity by Chinese ships in the Mediterranean.