Sunday, May 18, 2008

Basis See Conference, Pt1 : Politics

Speaches by:
Thomas Kossendey : Deputy Secretary of Defense
Dagmar G. Wöhrl : Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Technology and "Maritime Coordinator" of the German Government

Two civilians from the German government spoke at the conference, both the deputy secretaries of their respective ministries. The below summarizes their speaches somewhat.

For the German Political Scene, Basis See is part of the ongoing transformation process to readjust the Bundeswehr to modern conflict types, including enabling the 3-Block-War concept at sea. Primarily, Basis See offers an instrument for the government to flank political and diplomatic actions through expeditionary capabilities.

Additionally, Basis See according to Kossendey can also be a viable instrument to support regional security efforts, such as the "African Ownership" concept, without leaving too much of a footprint, and without exerting too much of a visible external influence.

As part of the transformation, the Navy transitions from an Escort Navy to a modern Expeditionary Navy. This requires in particular new capabilities regarding joint operations. All modernisation of Navy equipment will be oriented towards this new capability profile. Certain elements of this, such as the third EGV, are viewed as definitely necessary among the goverment.

Wöhrl also mentions the second focal point of the new German Navy: That Germany is dependant on sea trade, and the Navy has the duty to secure sea tradelines. This is an issue that is primarily a government position, not one that came from the Navy itself.

The German maritime industry, according to Wöhrl, needs to continue consolidating itself nationally. The next step after that would be consolidation on a European basis, something that of course already started with TKMS' buying spree.

Especially for more synergy effects - and hence less costs - the government desires an increased pan-European cooperation in naval construction. However, there are of course structural and political limitations to this, and certain European Allies are "not ready yet" for such cooperation according to Wöhrl.

The Ministry of Commerce sets a target line for the German industry: Holding and if possible enlarging the German world market share. Officially, Germany holds 70% market share in submarines, and 25% export share in frigates (wonder where they got those numbers though). Also, German maritime industry will need to increase their export quota anyway, since domestic demand will be reduced in the future. Current export share of production is 70%.

Part 2 will present the Navy view of Basis See.

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