Accession Number:

ADA522959

Title:

The Long War Against Piracy: Historical Trends (Occasional Paper, Number 32)

Descriptive Note:

Monograph

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

209.0

Abstract:

This study surveys the experience of the United States, Great Britain, and other seafaring nations in addressing the problem of piracy at sea, then derives insights from that experience that may be relevant to the suppression of the current surge of piratical activity. Wombwell, a retired naval officer, traces the course of several outbreaks of piracy during the past 300 years in a variety of geographical areas, including the Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Asian waters, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian OceanGulf of Aden. Although each case varies in its details, Wombwell concludes that enough similarities exist to permit several useful generalizations. Among these are the causes of piracy, the factors that permit the behavior to flourish, and the range of countermeasures that have been available to policy makers seeking to eradicate the problem. When conditions are favorable for piracy to develop, and no strong response is made by the forces of law and order, what began as low-level brigandage often grows to outrageous proportions, ultimately requiring significant military resources to suppress or eliminate the threat posed to legitimate commerce. This Occasional Paper is a timely work because of the dramatic surge of piratical acts in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa in recent years. Although piracy has been a problem for several decades in other international sea lanes, the actions of the Somali pirates have focused world attention on the issue. This study is especially pertinent to the U.S. Army because the historical record clearly indicates that piracy seldom, if ever, has been eradicated solely through naval operations alone. As Wombwell makes abundantly clear, only when nations have acted to remove piracys enabling conditions ashore through military andor political means has the scourge of piracy truly been eliminated.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE