What do Navies do in Peacetime?

Dr. Ann Griffiths, 29 October 2021

The Naval Association of Canada has produced another interesting addition to the Briefing Note series. This one is about naval training and exercises. It addresses the question of what navies (and by implication, armies and air forces) do in the absence of war? And the answer is that they train. And train. And train. As the Briefing Note explains, the reason you maintain military forces in peacetime is so that they can be ready in the event of war. As well, navies participate in missions below the threshold of war that nonetheless require capability, presence and (possibly) the threat of coercion. This training is both individual and collective. Naval personnel train regularly for events that can threaten a warship and the ship’s company – for example, fire, flood, man overboard, force protection, engineering emergencies (eg., ship or equipment malfunction or damage), as well as safe navigation and weapon drills. To test their training, RCN personnel, often with allies, participate in exercises replicating war-like conditions. In peace, you train with your allies so that you can operate with them if a war occurs. We hope that there will not be a war, but armed forces are kept in case there is, and to serve the government’s foreign policy goals. Check out the Briefing Note at BN41-Naval-Training.pdf (navalassoc.ca)


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