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The Land Component Role in Maritime Security

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Technical Report

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Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies Honolulu United States

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As the worlds population and economies grow, so does the demand for resources. While pioneers like Elon Musk hope to one day exploit space for the additional resources required to support a ballooning population on Earth1, many nations have an interest today in competing for additional resources. This is particularly evident in the maritime domain where those nations exploit protein sources to feed their people, oil and natural gas to meet increasing energy demands, and seabed materials to support other economic sectors. Additionally, nations are looking to increase their access to maritime resources through both expansive and restrictive maritime claims andor illegal harvest of resources. These activities can create increased tension between nations. The South China Sea, transited by 5.3 trillion in trade each year2, provides a salient example. Six claimants have competing, often overlapping claims. These disputes led to, and continue to lead to, incidents that fueled further competition. Currently China continues to militarize the South China Sea while the Philippines and Vietnam await a ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration on a case filed in hopes of resolving some of the legal issues surrounding these disputes. The Arctic region provides another example. There are less visible but equally significant disputed claims in the Arctic today. Competition there is sure to increase as the polar ice cap melts and the Arctic becomes increasingly navigable, increasing access to resources previously buried deep beneath the ice. Nations have more at stake in the ocean, however, than simply competing with other nations for resources. They must also confront maritime threats, which include piracy, armed robbery, damage to the marine environment i.e. pollution, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated IUU fishing. Nations have obligations to interdict human, narcotics, and arms trafficking as well as to provide for the safe operation of seagoing vessels.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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