The Maritime Dimension of International Security

The Maritime Dimension of International Security: Terrorism, Piracy, and Challenges for the United States

Peter Chalk
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 80
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  • Book Info
    The Maritime Dimension of International Security
    Book Description:

    The vast size and highly unregulated nature of the world's waterways havemade the maritime environment an increasingly attractive theater forperpetrators of transnational violence. Piracy and sea-borne terrorism havebeen on the rise since 2000. While the United States has spearheaded severalimportant initiatives to improve maritime security, the author urgespolicymakers to consider four additional measures to safeguard the world'soceans.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4528-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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

    With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the European communist eastern bloc in 1991, it was confidently assumed that the international system was on the threshold of an era of unprecedented peace and stability. Politicians, academics, and diplomats alike increasingly began to forecast the imminent establishment of a new world order that would be managed by liberal democratic institutions and would develop within the context of an integrated global economy based on the principles of the free market.¹ As this unprecedented interstate structure emerged and took root, destabilizing threats to national and international security were expected to decline commensurately....

  10. CHAPTER TWO Piracy
    (pp. 5-18)

    Three main types of piracy currently occur in global waters. At the low end are anchorage attacks mounted against ships at harbor. This form of piracy has exploited the relatively relaxed security procedures employed at many ports around the world. The IMB describes these types of assault as low-level armed robbery: opportunist attacks mounted close to land by small, high-speed craft crewed by maritime “muggers” normally armed with knives. Their purpose is typically to seize cash and portable high-value personal items with an average haul of $5,000–15,000.¹

    A more serious manifestation of piracy is the ransacking and robbery of...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Maritime Terrorism
    (pp. 19-30)

    Historically, the world’s oceans have not been a major locus of terrorist activity. Indeed, according to the RAND Terrorism Database, strikes on maritime targets and assets have constituted only two percent of all international incidents over the last 30 years. To be sure, part of the reason for this relative paucity has to do with the fact that many terrorist organizations have neither been located near coastal regions nor possessed the means to extend their physical reach beyond purely local theaters. There are also several problems associated with carrying out waterborne strikes which have, at least historically, helped to offset...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR A Piracy–Terrorism Nexus?
    (pp. 31-34)

    Complicating the maritime threat picture is growing speculation that a tactical nexus could emerge between piracy and terrorism. One of the main concerns is that extremist groups will seek to overcome existing operational constraints in sea-based capabilities by working in conjunction with or subcontracting out missions to maritime crime gangs and syndicates. Various scenarios have been postulated, including the possible employment of pirates to seize and deliver a liquefied-natural-gas carrier that is then used as a floating bomb, scuttle a large oceangoing vessel in a narrow SLOC either to disrupt maritime trade or precipitate a major environmental disaster, or hijack...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Relevance to the United States
    (pp. 35-42)

    As one of the globe’s principal maritime trading states, accounting for nearly 20 percent (measured in metric tons) of all international sea-borne freight in any given year, the United States has a direct, vested interest in securing the world’s oceanic environment. Commercial carriers transport more than 95 percent of the country’s non–Northern American trade by weight and 75 percent by value. Commodities shipped by sea currently constitute a full quarter of U.S. gross domestic product, more than double the figure recorded in 1970.

    Besides economic considerations, the marine transportation system plays an important role in U.S. national security. The...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Policy Recommendations
    (pp. 43-46)

    The maritime environment will likely remain a favorable theater for armed violence, crime, and terrorism given its expanse, lack of regulation, esoteric character, and general importance as a critical conduit for international trade. There is no quick fix or easy remedy for reducing this openness, and any attempt to institute total security is neither tenable nor desirable. The best that can be hoped for is the rational management of threats within acceptable boundaries. The United States is well placed to facilitate such an effort by virtue of its resources and global influence. At the policy level, there are at least...

  15. APPENDIX Selected High-Profile Maritime Terrorist Incidents, 1961–2004
    (pp. 47-52)
  16. References
    (pp. 53-60)