Rumours abound that the Royal Navy is to gut its globally respected Operational Sea Training organisation in order to reallocate cash across defence. It is not simply the UK’s martial reputation that would be at stake; the evidence states that operational sea training is a crucial asset on which the Royal Navy should not skimp.
The timing was perfect: just as the new Trump Administration is preparing to take over in the US, Beijing has published a White Paper entitled ‘China’s Policies on Asia–Pacific Security Cooperation’. It claims to outline China’s contributions to Asia–Pacific regional security. But it fails to diminish concerns over its regional ambitions.
Increased Russian naval activities in the North Atlantic have refocused Western military attention on Iceland’s geostrategic importance. But even if the US has resumed irregular Cold War-style maritime and anti-submarine patrols from Iceland, there are no plans to reopen the American military base on the island.
The Royal Australian Navy is leveraging the latest Aegis combat system, SM-6 interceptor missiles and its new Hobart-class destroyers to limit its vulnerability to proliferating ballistic and cruise missile threats in the Indo-Pacific region. This has implications for interoperability with allies and deterrence.