Maritime power underpinned by lethality

Published on CAPT Tim Brown (author)

Location(s): London, United Kingdom

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, presents Sir Tom Phillips, KCMG, Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, with a crest and book on the history of the Royal Australian Navy, on the occasion of Chief of Navy's inaugural speech to the College on 2 Jul 2015. (photo: Unknown)
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO, CSC, RAN, presents Sir Tom Phillips, KCMG, Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, with a crest and book on the history of the Royal Australian Navy, on the occasion of Chief of Navy's inaugural speech to the College on 2 Jul 2015.

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, recently returned from a successful visit to London, where he addressed the Royal College of Defence Studies on the topic of Maritime Power in the twenty-first century.

Vice Admiral Barrett emphasised the requirement for a nation to defend itself and to promote vital security and economic interests.

He suggested that application of lethal force at an adversary's point of maximum vulnerability was central to Navy strategy.

Vice Admiral Barrett illustrated his point by drawing on several examples, explaining that an overarching strategy of denial was underpinned by the capacity and preparedness to deliver lethal force.

Making this point, Vice Admiral Barrett reflected on his recent presentation to the Sea, Air Space Conference in Washington, stressing, "lethality is the guarantor of maritime power".

But, as navies face ever-present budget pressures, so they face a need to operate both independently and in partnership-in defence of shared democratic and liberal ideals. 

Vice Admiral Barrett discussed the complexity of contemporary maritime power.

"Lethality is still the decisive idea, but increasingly, this is a distributed lethality derived from partnerships," he said.

In this regard the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy share a deep cultural affinity which makes them natural partners, well-placed to cooperate with the United States in the defence of crucial principles and interests.

"As we celebrate the eight hundredth anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, we need to remind ourselves of what war is all about. It is ultimately about deterring, resisting and defeating any attack on the values that define us as nations. 

"And, in this sense, as we saw with the 9/11 attacks on the US and the current activities of the IS forces in northern Iraq, an attack on any one of the allied democracies is an attack on all of them.

The full speech is available at: http://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/chief-navy-speeches.