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Maritime Security and Great Power Competition: Maintaining the US-Led International Order

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Technical Report

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Center for Naval Analyses Arlington United States

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Maritime security operations sustain and enforce the rule of law and good order at sea. Yet in an era of great power competition GPC, do those activities support national strategy This paper offers a structure for answering that question, placing maritime security in the context of GPC by describing competition as a function of control for the international system. The framework introduced in this paper demonstrates that maritime security is an important component of maintaining a system that benefits US security and prosperity. The framework also shows that there are two roles for maritime security in GPCavoiding corrosion of the US-led system by great powers and avoiding corrosion caused by lesser powers. These two approaches have different implications for Navy deployment, procurement, and employment policy. Consequently, although our analysis suggests that maritime security is integral to GPC, its roles can vary, pulling resources in divergent directions according to policy priorities.

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  • Government and Political Science

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