This chapter uses recent operational history of the Royal Danish Navy as a case study into the particular challenges that small navies face. Denmark provides a useful lens because the long counter-piracy mission from 2008–2015 consumed a substantial amount of the navy’s collective warfighting resources. The experience was that it was impossible to maintain a sufficient level of warfighting skills while also committing so many resources to a maritime policing operation. From the literature on small navies it is identified that they typically struggle with problems related to critical mass of materiel, maintaining a sufficient training and education system, limited bureaucratic strength, and a tendency of their leaders to be over-ambitious. It is shown that the requirement to prioritize resources has enticed the Danish Navy to find innovative solutions, but that in the process some choices may have led to an unconscious acceptance of lower standards and disregard for the complexity of less prestigious tasks.
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