Governments all over the world now recognize the importance of the seaborne naval forces in issues like protection of the nation’s borders, projecting the country’s power internationally, and in implementing the foreign policy of the country. A well groomed maritime force of a country makes it possible to invade distant places without making tiring journeys through land routes. Development of long range bombers and sophisticated communication systems has not reduced the importance of maritime forces(Barry 1996). In fact most of the advanced military bombers are launched from nuclear aircraft carriers. Importance of maritime forces has been steadily growing since the two world wars, cold war, gulf war, and the recent American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq (Strachan 2007). In view of all this, the importance of maritime policy for the protection of a country cannot be emphasized more. The importance that maritime forces hold for countries around the world makes it imperative to develop a good maritime policy. The current paper looks into the guidelines to increase the competitiveness of the maritime policies of countries, issues related to maritime security and the contribution of maritime forces to the security of the nation. However, the main focus of the current paper would be on the security related issues and the contribution of maritime forces for the security of the country and joint operations with the government. Maritime forces play a crucial role in protecting the security of the country and hence should be given a central role in the maritime policy of a country. When compared with the conventional land and air based armed forces, maritime forces have a lot of advantages like the ability to operate from the sea, operate from the sea without occupying any physical territory, and providing crucial support to the other wings of the armed forces during the times of combat in hostile territories. The below discussion starts with the guidelines for improving maritime policy and then deals with the maritime security and its role in shaping the maritime policy of a country.
GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVING THE COMPETITIVNESS OF MARITIME POLICY
Every country should follow certain guidelines to improve the competitiveness of their maritime policies (CPMR 2006). Below are the guidelines that should be followed for improving competitiveness of maritime policies:
Research, Development, and Innovation
Good research, development, and innovation is very crucial for the improving the competitiveness of maritime activities. Role of research and innovation in the development of maritime policy is valid for both the traditional and emerging sectors. While research and development related to traditional sectors like shipbuilding results in the development of safer ships, research in emerging sectors like biotechnology results in developing strategies to better handle threats from related areas. Countries should setup platforms that can interconnect and coordinate projects becomes an essential condition for improving the effectiveness of maritime policy. Results from research and innovation should be circulated among the policy framing bodies and among the society in general.
Involvement of Coastal Regions and other Local Decision-Makers
National maritime policies of countries are integral components of integrated maritime policies of countries with selected interests (IMP MED 2012). Hence, maritime policies developed by one country influence the policy of member countries of the group. Each country of the group should first build their own maritime visions and share it with the member countries. Similarly, coastal regions and local-decision makers in the member countries should also be given a role in the development of integrated maritime policies. All the maritime partners including NGOs, universities, and research institutions should participate in the development of integrated maritime policy (Europa n.d.).
Qualifications of the Workforce
Proper execution of a maritime policy requires the availability of well-trained workforce. Requirement of workforce is more crucial in high value added areas. Hence, it is imperative for the member countries to come out with strategies to integrate new skills associated with modernisation with the traditional activities related to maritime policy. Improving the qualifications of the workforce should be made a priority area at the national and group level activities related to maritime policy development.
Development and Consolidation of Maritime Clusters
Strengthening of maritime clusters is one precondition for improving the effectiveness of maritime policy of a country. However, strengthening and consolidation of maritime clusters requires the support from local and territorial policies, more crucially the learning/training policy. Education is of core importance for the success of clusters. Proper development and consolidation of maritime clusters increases exchanges and synergies between the players of the maritime economy.
Proper Maritime Governance
Maritime governance refers to the administration and proper implementation of all the measures that are included in the maritime policy of a country. Proper governance is very important for improving the effective implementation of maritime policies. Good governance processes make it possible to achieve coherence between multiple policy areas and approaches. Maritime policies are generally prepared and executed by a country’s executive. While integrating the maritime policies of group countries, proper coordination of work is very important. Cooperation between the executive can happen at two levels: inter-ministerial decisions level and inter-ministerial coordination level.
PROTECTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND COASTAL REGIONS
Just like a country’s policies related to defence and security, maritime policy of a country should also strive to protect the country’s natural resources and coastal regions (FMTBU 2009). Natural resources that can be impacted by the maritime operations of a country include coral reefs and fisheries. Maritime policy of a country should focus on issues like responsible use of oceans and continuation of sustainable fishing practices (BMVI n.d.). Utmost importance should be given to the fact that the coastal areas of a country are not impacted by the operations of the maritime forces. Proper regard to the protection of a country’s natural resources and coastal regions would secure protection from many stakeholders like activists and the general public. Concern for the natural resources and coastal regions of a country leads to increased effectiveness of a country’s maritime policy.
MONITORING SAFETY AND SECURITY CONDITIONS ON SHIPS
National maritime policies should ensure that the safety and security conditions on the ships involved in the maintenance of maritime policy are maintained properly. Ships should be regularly checked and serviced. Maritime authorities should also ensure that crew members are well trained and have all the required qualifications to discharge their duties.
Maritime security deals with issues related to the prevention of damage through disruption, terrorism, and subversion of crucial resources. The three main activities related to improving maritime security of a country are: Port Security, Vessel Security, and Facility Security.
Maritime activities related to the defence, law, and treaty enforcement fall under the domain of port security. Port Security activities of maritime policy focus on mitigating the risks that pose a threat to the security of vessels, personnel, public, and other key facilities at the ports.
Regulations related to port security regarding a maritime policy take their resources from the boundaries of the port so that a framework for communication, risk identification, and coordination, and controlling of risks can be performed. Maritime policy issues which are related to ports focus on finding out the crucial resources within a port, identify the susceptible acts of sabotage, and come out with security measures that are appropriate to the specific security needs.
Vessel security refers to the maritime policies related to protection of seaborne vessels. Appropriate guidelines should be framed for the owners and operators of seaborne vessels so that they can develop security plans based on security assessments, execute security measures that are unique to vessel’s running, and meet the terms of contemporary Marine Security levels.
Facility refers to any structure and facility related Facility security refers to the policies related to the provision of security to maritime facilities like barge fleeting facilities, oil storage facilities, barge fleeting facilities, and passenger vessel terminals. Maritime policy related to facility security issues like designating security for facilities, develop appropriate plans basing on the security assessments, implement those security measures developed, and meet the current maritime security levels.
Policy Implementation Related to Maritime Security
Implementation of the maritime security strategy that is closely integrated and coordinated with the government needs an over-arching strategy. High level government authorities like the ministries of defence and homeland security should jointly lead a collaborative effort for implementing the national strategy related to maritime security (NSPD 2004). The strategy which is recommended should present an over-arching plan for the effective implementation of all the security related measures that are proposed in the maritime security plan. All the top federal departments and other government agencies should cooperate with the top government departments in this endeavour and provide all the required assistance.
Policy Actions for Improving Maritime Security
The following maritime policy actions need to be followed for improving maritime security:
Maritime Domain Awareness
Maritime domain awareness refers to the effective understanding all the issues that are associated with global maritime domain that have the potentiality to impact the safety, security, environment, and economy of the country (Virginia n.d.). It is very crucial that a country develops the capabilities to identity any possible threats related to the maritime domain from the distant shores as early as possible through the integration of the intelligence, observation, surveillance, and systems for navigation into a single operating picture that can be accessed by all the government officials involved with maritime policy in the government.
Integration of Global Maritime Intelligence
Intelligence is crucial for the effective implementation of any security related policies framed and implemented by the government. The same is important even in the area of maritime security. A robust and well-coordinated system of intelligence gathering has the potentiality to serve as the foundation for implementation of effective security efforts in the domain of maritime security. Maritime security cannot be ensured only by the departments that are directly looking into maritime security. Intelligence gathering is a complex affair that has to be dealt by the big general intelligence agencies and those associated with the country’s military. In order to get intelligence gathering and utilization within the reach of the maritime security forces, a close coordination with the country’s intelligence gathering agencies is recommended.
Successful implementation of the marine security related strategies need a good coordination with the authorities at the state and the local level. Officials like the secretary of the homeland in close coordination with the Attorney General should work closely towards the development of a policy which best considers the interests of the state and local governments and the private enterprise that may be impacted with the national level policies developed at the national level.
Coordination of International Efforts and International Outreach
Assuring the security of the maritime domain is not just limited to the national level. As governments need to work closely with other countries and global organizations, an effective maritime security policy needs efforts at the national level. High level official in the government should lead the efforts related to the coordination of the government initiatives with foreign governments and other major international organizations like UNO and UN Security Council. All the departments of the national government shall coordinate with coordinate with the main department of state on policies and initiatives that has the potentiality to impact the foreign policy.
Maritime Threat Response
Key government departments like treasury, commerce, transportation, and the attorney general working in tandem should work in coordination and develop a maritime security response plan so that a well-coordinated response to the maritime threats against the country’s security (GMCC n.d.). A well planned maritime threat response plan shall include agency roles and responsibilities in areas like counterterrorism, maritime interception operations, and detection of any mining threats to the ports by terrorists, identification and disposition of ships that are targeted and attacks on ships while the citizens of a country are aboard.
Maritime Infrastructure Recovery
Quick recovery from an attack or disruption related to the maritime domain is crucial for the security and economic well-being of a country (DHS, n.d.). A well thought out and credible capability for faster recovery will help not only in minimizing the economic impact of an incident but also serve as a deterrent against any future aggression by other countries and terrorist groups. With the key infrastructure related maritime security under threat, it will not be possible to Key top level government officials like the defence secretary, treasury secretary, commerce secretary, etc. are responsible for the development of a full-scale national maritime infrastructure recovery standards and implementation plan.
Maritime Transportation System Security
Security of the transportation system related to the maritime policy is vital for the effective implementation of the maritime security policy. Top officials who are in charge of the development of maritime transportation system should strive towards developing a good licensing, safety, surveillance, and communications systems for all the commercial and public ships that operate in the maritime domain.
Maritime Commerce Security
In order to prevent terrorists and other elements from acting causing to the maritime interests of the country, every country should make it a point to promote global supply chain security practices that can reduce the risks from terrorists and other harmful elements. A comprehensive maritime supply chain security plan prepared by working in conjunction with all the key government departments is the only way of ensuring maritime security.
Maritime Policy and Security of the Country
Apart from protecting the trade and commerce of the country and contributing to the economic development of the country, maritime policy can also have a positive on the security of the country. Maritime forces can play a pivotal role in protecting the safety of the country that cannot be assured by the conventional forces of the country (US Navy 2007). Hence, maritime forces play a central role in the maritime policy of the country.
Unique Benefits of Maritime Forces
Maritime forces of the country have some unique benefits over the conventional forces and hence are very important to the maritime policy of the country. Maritime forces have some unique attributes like total independence from the nation in which they are fighting, ability to engage in war for longer durations than the conventional forces, and self-sufficiency in tactical matters. Maritime forces play in a main part in defending the country as they can engage in joint operations along with the conventional forces like amphibious, general, and air forces and greatly enhance their effectiveness. Contribution of maritime forces to the security of the country has been increasing from the time of word wars. In a drastic shift from the Nelsonian tradition where maritime forces were only used to wage war at the seas, they have now become part of the integrated approach (Slater 1998). Right from the forces that were participating in both the world wars to the contemporary military alliances like NATO that have spearheaded the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the importance of maritime forces has never been underestimated (Barry 2008). Some of the benefits of maritime forces over the conventional that make them central to both the maritime and the general security policy of a country are:
Projection of Naval Power
Maritime policy and maritime mostly involves the utilization of the sea in order to further the interests of the nation. A lot of activities that happen in the maritime warfare do not have any impact on the things that happen on the shore but can be related to the achievement of the territorial result. Effective control of the seas will create an environment for putting more pragmatic efforts with regard to the land. Maritime forces have a unique role in the projecting of the naval power even when compared with the conventional forces as have the ability to impact, mould, and control this environment. Maritime forces also have the ability to deliver the ground forces to any location that is required during the times of conflict. Delivery of forces from the sea leads to the projection maritime naval power and could be in the form of delivering amphibious, land, special, and other kind of sea borne forces. Maritime naval power projection also involves bombardment of guided and unguided missiles from the warships towards the land or at other ships. Maritime naval projection can play a key role in the maritime policy of a country as they can be used at the early stages of any conflict to show the resolve of the invading forces as it possible to station them for longer periods without any need for physically occupying territory of the invading country. Maritime forces can also react quicker than the ground based forces as the chance of any causalities is generally minimized to a great extent.
Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance, Intelligence and Surveillance
Another key benefit of maritime forces is their ability to provide assets like rotary and fixed wing that can be effectively operated without the need for any physical platforms. Such assets that can be operated from mobile platforms can provide investigation and reconnaissance operations for both combat and non-combat operations. Such capabilities can prove to be invaluable for a military commander for undertaking humanitarian aid, disaster relief, evacuation, search, and emergency rescue missions (Trelawny 2013). Maritime forces that are posted on foreign soils during the times of war has the potentiality to play a key role in providing a comprehensive intelligence scenario through the utilization of multiple platforms like human, mechanical, and electronic communications. And more importantly all this can be achieved without making any incursions into the foreign borders. More specifically, stealth submarines that are part of the maritime forces that are deployed to the forward positions have the capability to provide early indications and alerts regarding a crisis that is still emerging and indicate the requirement of deploying other follow-on elements.
Command, Control, Communications and Information (C3I)
Proper control and command, will be supported by the planning forces of joint operations. It is important for the success of any armed operations over the long term. Facilities necessary for undertaking command and control by the field commander can be provided reliability by maritime forces during the initial days of the operation. Contributions made by maritime forces are vital during the first few crucial days when things like collection, management, and utilization of information is of key importance. There are lot of examples where sea bound units of maritime forces are used as temporary headquarters during the times of conflict. However, these temporary headquarters could provide a full range of support to the main offices of the invading forces. A ship of maritime forces that is fully equipped has the capability to provide self-contained facilities that can range from highly effective joined up command and control, capabilities to process intelligence, communications, handling of media, and deck for handling fighter jets. These kinds of headquarters can be set up in a short span of time without the need for sophisticated support infrastructure. These kind of command and control facilities are mainly valuable during the times when precursor operations are conducted, times of conducting combat operations, and while enforcing the peace of any region.
Battle Space Dominance
As the boundaries between the various armed elements like sea, land, and air started to blur, a new concept of the integration of various battle combat elements called as Battle Space Dominance has emerged. Battle space dominance involves controlling multiple environs like land, surface, and electromagnetic spectrum. Inspite of the involvement of all the wings of military in battle space dominance, it is the maritime forces of a country that have an edge in completely integrating all these military elements properly. No other military elements other than the Naval Ships have the unique ability to take people and aircraft across the continents during the times of war.
Provision of Cover
Maritime forces can provide cover during the times of crisis in a better than other conventional forces. Cover involves providing support to units that are cut off from the main command centre and the less powerful units. Maritime forces use their wider access to sea to provide better cover to land based forces.
All these advantages of maritime security forces over the conventional forces highlight their role in protecting maritime security and in the broad maritime policy of a country.
The above discussion highlights the importance of a maritime policy for any country. In view of this discussion, it is important to take good care at the time of drafting the maritime policy. The factors that are discussed to be playing a key role in the success of the maritime policy of a country should also be kept in mind at the time of developing a maritime policy. The importance of maritime security and the contribution of maritime forces to the security of a nation also make it imperative to give maritime security a central role while developing the maritime policy of a country.
- Barry, C 2008, ‘NATO’s combined joint task forces in theory and practice’, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, 38, no. 1, pp. 81-97.
- BMVI n.d., Maritime development plan, Available from: <http://www.bmvi.de//cae/servlet/contentblob/86722/publicationFile/59099/maritime-policy-maritime-development-plan.pdf>. [16 July 2014].
- CPMR 2006, The European maritime policy guidelines and recommendations, Available from: <http://www.cpmr.org/pub/docs/88_eos_final_report_en.pdf>. [16 July 2014].
- DHS n.d., Maritime infrastructure recovery plan, Available from: < http://www.dhs.gov/maritime-infrastructure-recovery-plan>. [16 July 2014].
- Europa n.d., Guidelines for developing national maritime policies. Available from: < http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/maritime_affairs_and_fisheries/maritime_affairs/pe0003_en.htm>. [16 July 2014].
- FMTBU 2009, Guidelines for a “Maritime Development Plan” within the context of an integrated German maritime policy, Available from: <idynamic.lv/component/option,com_attachments/…/task,download/>. [16 July 2014].
- GMCC n.d., Global MOTR Coordination Center (GMCC), Available from: < http://www.dhs.gov/global-motr-coordination-center-gmcc>. [16 July 2014].
- IMP MED 2012, Integrated maritime policy for the Mediterranean, Available from: < swww.imp-med.eu/En/image.php?id=375>. [16 July 2014].
- NSPD 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-41, Available from: <org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd41.pdf>. [16 July 2014].
- Slater, J 1998, ‘The maritime contribution of joint forces’, The RSUI Journal, vol. 143, no. 6, pp. 20-24.
- Strachan, H 2007, ‘Maritime strategy’, The RSUI Journal, vol. 152, no. 1, pp. 29-33.
- Trelawny, C 2013, ‘Maritime security beyond military operation’, The RSUI Journal, vol. 158, no. 1, pp. 48-52.
- US Navy 2007, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, Available from: < http://www.navy.mil/maritime/maritimestrategy.pdf> [16 July 2014].
- Virginia 2005, National plan to achieve maritime domain awareness, Available from: < http://www.virginia.edu/colp/pdf/NSMS-National-Plan-to-Achieve-Maritime-Domain-Awareness.pdf>. [16 July 2014].