Those companies that belabor the arduous conditions prevalent in business today will literally be left on the docks when the pace picks up during the coming year. All signs seem to point towards the start of economic recovery in the U.S., though the ripple effects will take some time to filter through to maritime and offshore businesses. Despite a generally dour hangover from the past 12 months, business opportunities are available to those who seek them.
Politics and irrational bean counters aside, the U.S. Navy will present ample opportunities for companies selling into this market in the decades to come. The cacophony of individual interests making cases for increased dollars at budget time does a great disservice to the causes that are truly needy. While the U.S. Navy and its supporters, particularly the American Shipbuilding Association, have added decibels to this homogenous voice, it is an inescapable fact that — to maintain its status as a world power for the coming decades — the U.S. must initiate an aggressive ship and boatbuilding program now to avoid future shortcomings.
While the need for more money is clear and justified, the size and look of the Navy of tomorrow is a bit fuzzy. The tremendous military build-up during the Cold War centered on aircraft carrier battle groups, and the presence and reality of massive doses of lethal force. While carrier groups are indeed a cornerstone of the Navy of tomorrow, work currently underway under the steady guidance of Rear Admiral Robert G. Sprigg at the Navy Warfare Development Command seeks to assist in providing clarity, and is focused on smaller, faster vessels, and the role that they can play in facing future defense challenges. The Navy section
begins on page 24.
Opportunities of the non-lethal variety are presenting themselves in the Offshore realm, as the ability to discover and recover energy products in increasingly deeper waters evolves rapidly.