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Promoting International Energy Security

Promoting International Energy Security: Volume 3, Sea-Lanes to Asia

Ryan Henry
Christine Osowski
Peter Chalk
James T. Bartis
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 88
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Promoting International Energy Security
    Book Description:

    The sea-lanes that supply Asia’s energy needs are unquestionably vulnerable, but alternatives to the U.S. Navy’s traditional role in protecting them have become desirable. One approach would be employ multiple U.S. military and government elements; a second would promote the capabilities of and cooperation among nations in the region.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7978-7
    Subjects: Business, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. Prologue
    (pp. 1-4)

    This volume reports on exploratory research undertaken as part of broader study directed at energy security and how it affects U.S. Air Force (USAF) planning. That broader study examined the world oil market, how developments in that market might affect “wholesale” supplies of jet fuel, and what measures the Air Force might take to protect itself against high fuel prices and supply disruptions, as documented in Bartis, 2012. To better examine the potential role of the Air Force in promoting international energy security, we conducted three exploratory studies. The first focuses on the Caspian region and Turkey and is documented...

  10. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 5-10)

    Historically, since the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy has been the de facto guarantor of the freedom of the seas and secure movement of goods in and out of Asia. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated the U.S. commitment to preserving access to the Asian sea lines of communication (sea-lanes) on a recent trip to Vietnam: “The United States, like every nation, has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea” (Clinton, 2010). Yet the nation’s ability to play this role...

  11. CHAPTER TWO Threats to Sea-Lane Security
    (pp. 11-20)

    A wide array of potential and perceived threats and a variety of perpetrators challenge the continued flow of energy through the Asian sea-lanes. Current security mechanisms could be inadequate to meet the region’s evolving needs. This chapter explores the different types and tiers of threats to Asian sea-lanes. As we will show, the probability of a major energy disruption is low, but the effect of one would be very serious. Since September 11, 2001, perceptions that energy resources are vulnerable have heightened fears in the region.

    In the context under discussion, threats are anything that would disrupt, block, or otherwise...

  12. CHAPTER THREE Current Sea-Lane Security Capabilities and Mechanisms
    (pp. 21-36)

    Current, regional maritime security efforts are joint efforts, with states working bilaterally with neighbors. In recent years, the number and variety of multinational security mechanisms have grown markedly, but their efforts to date toward sea-lane security remain limited and disjointed. The openness of countries to participating in such forums, however, suggests an increased understanding of the necessity of and benefits of greater coordination and cooperation in this area. This is indicative of broader cooperative trends in the region.

    In the region, the capacity to respond to maritime threats varies considerably from nation to nation. In recent years, several states have...

  13. CHAPTER FOUR Alternative Approaches to Sea-Lane Security
    (pp. 37-40)

    The previous chapter highlighted the range of state and nonstate threats to the energy sea-lanes and noted the limitations of existing state and multinational efforts in combating these threats. These limitations and the heightened anxiety in the region about sea-lane security invite consideration of alternatives to the current U.S. Navy approach. Ensuring access to sea-lanes in the Indian Ocean and Asia continues to be a principal interest of the United States; we assumed the United States would remain actively involved in regional maritime security for the foreseeable future. Based on this continued U.S. engagement, we explored two alternatives: (1) bringing...

  14. CHAPTER FIVE Hurdles to Overcome
    (pp. 41-48)

    In developing a new approach to securing Asian sea-lanes, it is not the technical or operational, but rather the cultural and political, hurdles that are the most challenging to overcome. Barriers to cooperation need to be addressed both within the U.S. bureaucratic structure and among current and potential regional partners.

    Cooperation and competition between America’s Air Force and Navy began in the U.S. Air Force’s earliest days, when it was known as the Army Air Corps.

    In the aftermath of World War I, the services clashed over the utility of air power against dreadnoughts, a debate that would have a...

  15. CHAPTER SIX How to Put Something in Place: Pursuing a Modified Approach
    (pp. 49-54)

    Ensuring access to the sea-lanes is increasingly important in the Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific region because of a growing reliance on imported energy. A joint, multinational approach would benefit not only energy security but also regional security as a whole. However, implementing such an approach will be challenging because of continuing interservice and interagency tensions in the United States and the differing interests and political sensitivities of key states in the region. With these hurdles in mind, this chapter describes the qualities a new approach should possess to be successful. It also identifies some possible next steps for the...

  16. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions
    (pp. 55-56)

    Ensuring continued access to the energy sea-lanes running from the Middle East to Asia is of critical importance to the United States, not only because of the sea-lanes’ significance to international energy markets but also because of their role in the broader security of the Asia-Pacific region.

    Although the likelihood of a major disruption to the flow of energy via the sea-lanes is low, it appears that the effectiveness of the existing approach to Asian sea-lane security is narrowing. While current mechanisms have been somewhat successful in deterring piracy and armed robbery, existing capabilities (in particular the limited mechanisms for...

  17. APPENDIX Additional Multinational Maritime Security Mechanisms in Asia
    (pp. 57-60)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 61-68)