A sea lane can be described as a shipping or maritime trade lane. They are routes which the vessel uses when transporting bulky cargo. It facilitates international and regional trades. Most of the world’s sea lanes are designed to exploit or take advantage of the prevailing wind in order to decrease the time a vessel uses to transport goods.
The United States Maritime Security
Upholding the United States maritime security and providing safe trade highways can be achieved effectively through coordinated efforts by different governments. It will include committing such resources as the navy. Also, it can incorporate civilian agencies as well as multi-national organizations. Many people seem to wonder whether there is any importance of having the navy control the sea and trade lanes.
The US Navy must develop strategies and mechanisms to sustain credible sea and trade lanes or routes. The navy has to be committed to providing security to seal lanes of the Arabian Gulf, western Pacific. It must do this by providing vital sea lines communication and commerce lanes. However, much of the US navy activities have been influenced by the recent rise in terrorism and piracy. In the course of providing maritime security, the navy also has to observe the independent international maritime environment. It should not disrupt other countries’ territorial waters in any way.
The association between maritime commerce security and the navy is a historic bond. Additionally, maintaining maritime security by the navy while at the same time keeping sea and trade lanes open can help mitigate other sea-related crimes. Such crimes as terrorism and weapon smuggling are countered by the navy.
A big percent of America’s trade moves by the sea keeping the sea and trade lanes safe is vital to the United States’ prosperity. Therefore, the navy must keep these sea and trade lanes open to allow a free flow of shipments across these highways and international sea lanes. Many maritime security threats do not only pose a threat to the commerce industry. These issues are of global concern.
A maritime threat such as piracy is always interconnected. For example, the weak governance of Somalia’s maritime environment has seen American citizens and cargo seized by the pirates. Piracy also creates links to terrorism. Therefore, a situation similar to that in Somalia is an indication of how maritime threat can be a global threat. Having a strong navy control of the United States maritime, trade and sea lanes becomes crucial.
Concern over sea lane security has abated considerably since the end of the cold war. Nevertheless, as a result of the globalization of the economy and the consistent dependency by a larger number of states on overseas trade, the safety of the world maritime remains a critical issue.
However, the danger to marine chokepoints does not come from direct attack. It largely comes from secondary threats such as collisions, regional instability, and piracy. These threats may have a significant impact on countries that border the oceans and also on ocean trading activities. The impact of maritime trade on the United States’ development cannot be underestimated.
Even at the end of the 20th century, most countries and nations around the world are still using the sea to transport bulky and heavy goods. Keeping the sea lanes and trade lanes by the United States navy is, thus, a vital element in the success of sea trade. It is despite the technological advancement that the world has witnessed. The security of maritime trade lanes becomes an issue of concern to the world governments.
It includes the nations that are served by the sea, and those not being served. There is no country that can stand alone when it comes to maritime security and keeping the sea or trade lanes opens. Therefore, it should be a shared responsibility of all nations to provide maritime security. It becomes indispensable when such trade and sea lanes fall under certain countries’ territorial waters.
Most of the United States’ security and nationwide prosperity comes from the free flow of maritime commerce. Therefore, protecting trade lanes and sea lanes for commerce purposes becomes the chief role of the US navy. At the same time, to achieve all these, the navy needs to expend all appropriate training, efforts, and resources. As long as a maritime nation carries on trade within its borders exclusively, or if people did not go overseas for trading purposes, a navy, in such a scenario, is not necessary. However, if a nation is not content enough to live within its geographical boundaries, then maintaining its trade and sea lanes safe becomes paramount for the navy.
Demand for international sea and trade lanes is increasing. Therefore, it is anticipated that terrorism activities may also rise. Thus, it can be argued that increasing naval control to the United States Sea and trade lanes also needs to be increased. It will provide safety to the United States merchant ships, the crew of these ships. Tightening the naval control will also be essential in promoting the United States’ economic growth and security.
The U.S maritime realm has massive assets that enable secure transit of goods and services across the world. Alike any other critical infrastructures and resources, the maritime field can be exploited to disrupt the economic stability of the world. The U.S Maritime Security framework is essentially designed to prevent, deter, and respond to a wide range of threats and exploitations in the world.
The United States National Strategy for Maritime Security
The United States National Strategy for Maritime Security categorizes maritime threats into national threats, piracy threats, illegal seaborne immigration, environmental destruction, and transnational criminal threat. It is evident that anyone wishing to threaten the Maritime infrastructure can use explosive suicide boats to attack offshore oil platforms or use the underwater explosive delivery vehicles to destroy a vessel or a port facility. It underscores the need to develop and execute a layered security strategy to reduce all possible maritime threats.
Secure maritime is extremely essential to the USA and the whole world in general. The maritime transportation system facilitates approximately 90 percent of the total USA overseas trade. It consists of 2 billion tons and more than $850 billion of international and domestic freights every year. Furthermore, the US maritime security serves as an essential highway for the global deep-sea trade highway that ensures that sea lane and trade lane is threat-free throughout the year.
However, the maritime domain presents distinctive security challenges that include vast stretches of oceans and waterways, as well as countless potential points of entry. It is crucial to point out that the United States has the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zone, and over 95,000 miles of coastlines. In addition, the US has approximately 10,000 miles of navigable waterway and more than 350 commercial ports, including eight of the world’s largest ports by volume. It justifies the USA navy’s need to play in the protection of the maritime field, not only in the US but also in the entire world.
The United States Navy
The United States Navy is obliged to keep the maritime domain and the sea lane secure throughout the world. It is due to its economic interests that are of immense significance and which are spread throughout the globe. For instance, in 2009, offshore activities from different parts of the world contributed to over $120 billion in revenues and providing more than 3 million job positions for the American economic prosperity.
Any threat to the world maritime will essentially impact the American economy due to its enormous economic influence over the world economy. Maritime security plays an essential role in ensuring that more than 141 million US residents who reside within 50 miles radius of the coast are protected.
The Arabian Gulf and the Horn of Africa is an essential trade line for the USA and the rest of the world. This lane is usually used for oil transition, a commodity that attracts a lot of maritime threats from pirates. The USA navy in coalition with the UK royal navy has to be involved in the protection of this maritime zone in Arabian trade and sea lines.
Therefore, it is crucial to guarantee the supply of oil without break. Since most of the oil comes from the Middle East, it will be vital for the US and the UK navy to ensure maritime security threats, especially to the oil field in the countered area. The US and the UK navy need to step up efforts to combat maritime threats in the region due to their massive influence in the region.
The maintenance of safe and secure sea lanes, especially those that are linked to the United States of America with its partner, in both the Pacific and Indian ocean, need to be at the very core of the US interests. The United States regarding the maritime strategy needs to establish and sustain a credible power in Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and in the western Pacific. It will be an essential step in averting any attempts and threats that interrupt vital sea lines of commerce and communication in those regions.
The United States of America has to renew its commitment to the maintenance of maritime security in the area. It is because of the strategic capability and imperatives of pirates and terrorists to disrupt the Indo-Pacific sea and trade lane. It is due to the significance of the route to global prosperity. For instance, more than 17 million barrels of oil normally pass through the narrows between Arabian Peninsula and Iran. More than 4 million barrels are transported through the same route to the Red Sea. In addition, approximately 500 ships transit through Hormuz, and three out of five ships are energy carriers.
Although the United States Navy has made significant adjustments and stride to its defensive position, deployment of more maritime security forces to the Indo-Pacific sea lanes is essential. The US navy needs to strengthen its position in the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia. Furthermore, the US has to recognize that the extensive environment of the Indo-Pacific maritime zone and heavy ship traffic in the lane presents a maritime security challenge. An obstacle will prevent the USA and other countries from resourcing the security operations that are essential in the protection of the sea lane security.
It illustrates the need for the US to strengthen navy cooperation with other maritime partners through the expansion of trust-building efforts and strengthening of the partner’s capacity and interoperability through training, exercising, and funding. Also, the US needs to strengthen maritime symposiums and area organizations in order to establish maritime security architectures. It will ensure the security of the Indo-Pacific sea and trade lane.
The United States is a global power in maritime security. The threat-free flow of commerce from and within world trade and sea lanes are crucial to the wealth of the United States and the entire world. Therefore, the US needs to establish a strong commitment to the promotion of a safe and secure sea and trade lane. Maritime posture strengthening needs to be enhanced through the deployment of more capable naval forces in Asian, African, and South-East trade and sea lanes.
Also, the US needs to recognize that no single country can provide effective maritime security over vast sea waters. In addition, it is impractical and inefficient to rely only on the bilateral relationship in maritime missions. Therefore, it will be vital to focus on cooperation building in order to ensure global maritime security.