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The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces$
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Hugo Meijer and Marco Wyss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790501

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790501.001.0001

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Sea Warfare

Sea Warfare

Chapter:
(p.559) 32 Sea Warfare
Source:
The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces
Author(s):

Peter Roberts

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198790501.003.0033

Cold-war maritime strategies of European countries were threat driven and largely NATO-centric. Specialization in warfare disciplines by member states underpinned this approach; few nations retained capabilities across the spectrum of maritime warfare. Despite predictions of a maritime century after 1990, European states spent twenty-five years focusing dwindling resources on fighting inland, and spending on maritime equipment has delivered relatively few, albeit very capable, platforms. Those scarce ships are being stretched by burgeoning constabulary roles, while Europe has outsourced preparing for war-fighting at sea to the USA. In assessing the key trends in European sea warfare and doctrine since the end of the cold war, this chapter examines the maritime strategies and doctrines of, first, Western Europe’s major powers and, secondly, a selective sample of medium and lesser powers’ strategies and doctrines.

Keywords:   maritime, sea power, maritime domain, balance of investment, navies, naval strategy, NATO, EU maritime strategy, capability conundrum, France

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