that we’ve been doing together for decades, both
continentally and internationally, with those two key
partners being the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard,
and of course our friends in the Canadian Coast Guard.
You mentioned earlier a relationship with the
Chilean Navy. What is happening in that area?
NORMAN: This has been an emerging relationship
over the last, I would say, decade or so. There’s a lot
of historical commonality in the way the RCN and the
Armada de Chile operate. They have very strong roots
with the Royal Navy and, of course, that translates
quite easily into our customs and traditions and our
methods of operating.
They’re a very innovative navy, incredibly professional navy, and one that we have always had a friendly
relationship with, but we never had translated that
relationship into a deeper partnership. And so that evolution from relationship to partnership has happened
over the last few years, and in particular has been
motivated by exercises together. RIMPAC has figured
prominently in that; some continental exercises in the
Americas; and then, most recently, the arrangement
where Chile has provided us access to one of their
Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment [AOR] ships as we’re
bridging the unfortunate gap in our own capability.
That’s proven to be a great opportunity and a great
experience for both navies. The chance to get our Sailors
working together at the deck-plate level has been great
and the chance for the two navies to work together
has been great. [There’s been] a real engagement of
commonality. Not everything is exactly the same, but
when you get down to it, you’re probably looking at 80
percent being common in the way business is done, and
you can manage the 20 percent in the margins.
That’s the kind of thing that we’ve been able to do
over the last year or so, and we’re looking to do more
of it in the next year or two. That is concurrent with
other things that we’re doing with Chile and discussing
the possibility to have integrated staffs on major exercises, including potentially RIMPAC. So it’s a growing,
emerging relationship. I think it’s a key relationship.
There’s a lot of mutual interests.
How long do you think the Chileans’ provision
of AOR services will continue? Have you set a
time period on that?
NORMAN: Well, we’ve gone through what I call the
first cycle of this, and I would see at least one more
cycle. We’re in discussions to, in essence, renew the
relationship that we have now, the commitment that
we’ve both agreed to. Between Chile and, of course,
Spain on the Atlantic, I would see this going as long as
the partners are prepared to do it, up to the transition
to our interim AOR capability, which should be in late
2017, maybe through early 2018.
You’ve also had focus on other areas, with
other allies both in South America and the
NORMAN: That’s correct. We would like to do more in
all of these areas, and it comes down to capacity in many
cases. We can only be in so many places at a time. We’re
looking at ways where we can do things which perhaps
aren’t hull-centric. By that, I mean there are many things
we can do with a lot of different countries that don’t
require us to actually have a ship. So part of what we’ve
been doing internally is developing new teams, whether
it’s specialized boarding party or capacity-building teams.
The idea here is that we can use those as an extension
of the RCN without necessarily actually having to have a
ship in the area. We can have personnel there for longer
periods of time. They can work, they can train with other
navies. We can trade best practices. We can help them;
they can help us. So that’s one thing that we’re trying to
do to expand our ability to engage with multiple partners, either simultaneously or over a fixed period of time.
Looking to the Asia-Pacific more specifically, that is
an area where we have had episodic participation and
presence, and we would like to see that be more pre-
Vice Adm. Mark A.G. Norman, commander of the Royal
Canadian Navy, will move to his new job as vice chief of
the Defence Staff at the end of June.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 40 SEAPOWER / MAY 2016