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Time to Win Some Books!

Between 28 July and 3 August 2014, Offiziere.ch, the Facebook pages “Sicherheitspolitik” and Army HQ will hold another security policy contest with the support of KOG Schaffhausen, “Seidlers Sicherheitspolitik“, “Aussen- und Sicherheitspolitik“, #carbine and CIMSEC.

Ipsa scientia potestas est!” – “knowledge (itself) is power!“. This English saying can be traced back to the philosoph Francis Bacon and alludes to the importance of (scientific) knowledge in the age of enlightenment. In another connection, this statement has grown in importance over time. Anyone with superior knowledge, who knows the intentions of others, has a clear advantage. Yet there are different methods of intelligence gathering. The least harmful form of intelligence gathering is also used on websites like the Next War blog or offiziere.ch: OSINT or Open Source Intelligence – the gathering of intelligence from publicly available sources. At the other end of the scale lies the comprehensive monitoring and retention of the communication streams of every citizen (data retention).

sneakycontestpartThis edition of our security policy contest is less about data collection mania and more about strategic intelligence gathering. This can, of course, also be done through the targeted interception of communications data (COMINT), but a variety of gathering methods may also be used. Thus, for example, even aircraft are loaded with high resolution cameras and other sensors. Such “spy aircraft” are still employed today. In 2005 one of these planes, which was probably operating in Iranian airspace, crashed. It could fly at a height of over 21,000 m (70,000 feet), which was originally supposed to protect it from detection and shooting down by air defence missiles.

• What spy plane is referred to?
• What is the technical term which refers to the gathering of information
from images and/or video recordings?
• In the image on the right, an important part of this aircraft can be seen.
What is it?

The (hopefully correct) answers should be sent to einsatz@offiziere.ch. The preferred prize can also be specified in the e-mail, although we cannot guarantee this.

The prizes will be drawn from among the correct entries. They will first be drawn from among the entries for which all three questions have been answered correctly. If nobody manages this (hey! don’t disappoint me!), the draw will be made from the entries that have two correct answers.

2 x “Demokratie und Islam” von Cavuldak, Hidalgo, Hildmann und Zapf (gesponsert von Springer VS).
2 x The Lieutenant Don’t Know: One Marine’s Story of Warfare and Combat Logistics in Afghanistan by Jeffrey Clement.
2 x Jahrbuch Terrorismus 2013/2014 von Stefan Hansen und Joachim Krause.
1 x Die Wehrmacht im Stadtkampf 1939-1942 von Adrian E. Wettstein (gesponsert von Lukas Hegi).
1 x “Shadow Wars: Chasing Conflict in an Era of Peace” by David Axe.
1 x “Life Begins at Incoporation” by Matt Bors.
1 x “Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It” by Morten Jerven.
1 x “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety ” by Eric Schlosser.
1 x “Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition” by Ben Schott.
1 x Civilian Warriors: The Inside Story of Blackwater and the Unsung Heroes of the War on Terror by Erik Prince (siehe auch “Sea Control 29 – Interview with Erik Prince“).

Fisheries Crime: Bridging the Conceptual Gap and Practical Response

This is an article in our first “Non Navies” Series.


 Fisheries crime is a major and increasingly significant threat not only to the security of the maritime environment but also to the sustainability of marine living resources. In a study conducted by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on transnational criminal activities in the fishing industry, it was highlighted that:

  • Fishers trafficked for the purpose of forced labour on board fishing vessels are severely abused;
  • There is frequency of child trafficking in the fishing industry;
  • Transnational organised criminal groups are engaged in marine living  resource crimes in relation to high value, low volume species such as abalone;
  • Some transnational fishing operators launder illegally caught fish through transhipments at sea and fraudulent catch documentation;
  • Fishing licensing and control system is vulnerable to corruption;
  • Fishing vessels are used for the purpose of smuggling of migrants, illicit traffic in drugs (primarily cocaine), illicit traffic in weapons, and acts of terrorism; and
  • Fishers are often recruited by organised criminal groups due to their skills and knowledge of the sea and are seldom masterminds behind organised criminal activities involving the fishing industry or fishing vessels.[1]

Some of the specific incidents of transnational crime in fisheries include the hijacking of the MV Kuber for the purpose of transporting terrorists and arms into Mumbai; hijacking of fishing vessels and involvement of fishers in piracy attacks in the western Indian ocean;[2] smuggling of weapons into off the coast of the Red Sea; human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour in Thailand fishing industry; and the illegal capture and trade of high value species by criminal syndicates in Australia and South Africa.[3]

Factors that make the fishing industry susceptible to transnational organised crime include the global reach of fishing vessels, ineffective monitoring of fishing vessels, lack of transparency on the identity of beneficial owners of vessels, continuous decline of global stocks, poor socio-economic conditions of fishers and fishing communities, lack of effective flag and port State jurisdiction, corruption, and inadequate international regulation on the safety of fishing vessels and working conditions of fishers.[4] Although fisheries crime is a burgeoning problem globally, its extent is difficult to determine with accuracy due to the elusive nature of illicit activities.

What is Fisheries Crime?

There is currently no legal definition of fisheries crime, fisheries-related transnational crime, or transnational crime in fisheries. To begin with, the scope and nature of IUU fishing as set out in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IPOA-IUU) does not cover fisheries crime.  The definition of illegal fishing in various domestic legislation also shares the same limitation.

The relationship between illegal fishing (and broadly illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing or IUU fishing) and transnational crime was first raised at the 9th meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (UNICPOLOS) and at the meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime in 2008.[5] There were divergent views at these meetings on the potential link between illegal fishing and organised crime and it was decided that further studies are required before such connection may be established.[6] In 2010 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 64/72 on sustainable fisheries where it noted concerns “about possible connections between international organized crime and illegal fishing in certain regions of the world…bearing in mind the distinct legal regimes and remedies under international law applicable to illegal fishing and international organized crime.[7] Succeeding UN General Assembly resolutions on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, as well as those on Sustainable Fisheries recognised the same conceptual correlation between illegal fishing and international organised crime but have yet to provide guidance on what their legal characterisation is.

The careful treatment of these two separate but related issues in international discussions is somehow justifiable. Apart from the lack of adequate studies on the subject, addressing transnational crime in fisheries is also muddled by jurisdictional issues. Illegal fishing is primarily a fisheries management issue addressed under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) while transnational crime is dealt within the mandate of the UNODC. At the domestic level, addressing transnational crime in fisheries may involve a number of institutions such as our fisheries, customs, immigration, defence (navy), coastguard, and the police authorities. One can ask the question as to whose responsibility it is to respond to an incident involving cocaine trafficked by a fishing vessel? Is fishing vessel control still the issue here, or is this mainly a security threat? Is there sufficient relationship between resource sustainability and maritime security?

Now let us try to understand the complexity in finding the legal link between illegal fishing and transnational crime.

Is fisheries crime a transnational crime? Although the scope of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) does not include fisheries-related crime, the international agreement defines the transnational element of organised crime which may also be applied to fisheries. Art 3(2) of the Vienna Convention provides that a crime is transnational in nature if: it is committed in more than one State; it is committed in one State but a substantial part of its preparation, planning, direction or control takes place in another State; it is committed in one State but involves an organized criminal group that engages in criminal activities in more than one State; or it is committed in one State but has substantial effects in another State.[8] Examples of transnational crime include drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, including women and children, terrorism, internet-based criminal activities, money laundering, and corruption. Similar to these examples, the transnational element of fisheries crime may in the same vein make it a ‘serious crime’ within the same definition in Article 3(1). The definition of ‘organised criminal group’ under the Vienna Convention may also be used as a guide to generally characterise the operations of those involved in fisheries crime.

Is fisheries crime an organised crime? Organised crime is defined as “a continuing criminal enterprise that rationally works to profit from illicit activities that are often in great public demand. Its continuing existence is maintained through the use of force, threats, monopoly control, and/or corruption of public officials.”[9] This definition covers some of the examples we mentioned earlier such as trafficking in people in the fishing industry. It may also be emphasised that within the context of organised crime, activities are not limited to those involving criminal syndicates,[10] and therefore may encompass elements of corruption particularly in fishing vessel licensing.

Is fisheries crime a crime against nature or environmental crime? Although numerous studies have been conducted on the role of criminal law in addressing resource and environmental related offences,[11] the classification of illegal fishing, and broadly IUU fishing, as an environmental crime has not been uniformly and clearly established in international law unlike illegal logging, illegal traffic in wildlife, and illicit traffic in hazardous waste.[12] Existing literature defines transnational environmental crime, or sometimes referred to as eco-crime, as certain behaviour regarded as harmful or potentially harmful to the environment. In fisheries this largely includes illegal capture and trade of high value species involving organised criminal groups[13] and depending on the criteria set on what constitutes environmental crime, such characterisation may not necessarily include some of the examples of fisheries crime we highlighted above.

The argument that fisheries crime is both a transnational organised crime and environmental crime highlight the need for a thorough understanding of the nexus between fisheries and environmental law and transnational criminal law. Strengthening domestic legislation is therefore a key step in addressing this problem. This may include a clear identification of what activities may constitute fisheries crime, integrating provisions against criminal acts within fisheries legislation, and/or amending crimes-related legislation to link illegal fishing to transnational crime, and hence making it a predicate offence to money laundering.

Recognising issues in defining the scope of fisheries crime, a number of states in Australia have amended their legislation to include provisions on “trafficking in fish”. For example the New South Wales Fisheries Management Act (1994) provides for indictable species and quantity of fish which is currently limited to 50 abalones (Haliotis rubra) and 20 eastern rock lobsters (Jasus verreauxi). Trafficking in fish under this provision is punishable by a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. This legislation also provides that a court may also impose an additional penalty for the offence of up to ten times the market value of the fish as determined by a number of factors including the price and weight of the fish.[14] Changes to legislation have resulted in increased monitoring of the sale and transport of abalone and eastern rock lobster and successful prosecution of offenders.

Global Cooperation in Monitoring, Control, Surveillance and Enforcement to Combat Fisheries Crime

While the main issue for academics is finding the legal definition and scope of fisheries crime, our navies, coastguards, police, and other enforcement officers understand that the absence of such should not deter States from preventing and eliminating problem. Global and regional cooperation to combat fisheries crime is crucial to effectively deal with the transnational aspect of these illicit activities. Apart from discussions at the UN, a concrete and practical example of a global initiative to detect, suppress and combat fisheries crime is INTERPOL’s Project Scale which was launched in 2013. The objectives of Project Scale include raising awareness regarding fisheries crime and its consequences; establishing National Environment Security Task Forces to ensure cooperation between national and international agencies; assessing the needs of vulnerable member countries to effectively combat fisheries crimes; a and conducting  operations to suppress crime, disrupt trafficking routes, and ensure the enforcement of national legislation. A Fisheries Crime Working Group was established under this initiative to develop the capacity, capability and cooperation of member countries to effective address fisheries crime. The Fisheries Crime Working Group also aims to facilitate the exchange of information, intelligence, and technical expertise between countries for the purpose of fisheries law enforcement. To date a number of countries have cooperated within the INTERPOL network and have called upon the international organisation to issue Purple Notices to illegal fishing vessels. INTERPOL’s Purple Notices are used to seek or provide information on the modus operandi, objects, devices and methods used by criminals.

The Code of Conduct Concerning the Repression of Piracy, Armed Robbery Against Ships and Illicit Maritime Activity in West and Central Africa adopted by 25 West and Central African countries in 2013 is a novel example of regional cooperation that recognises IUU fishing as a “transnational organised crime in the maritime domain” together with other well-established transnational criminal activities. Although the Code of Conduct does not provide specific characterisation of IUU fishing activities that may constitute transnational criminal acts, it provides a strong framework for cooperation to share and report incidents, interdict vessels engaged in IUU activities, apprehend and prosecute persons engaged in such illicit activities; and facilitate proper care, treatment and repatriation of fishermen and other personnel subject to transnational crime. The Code of Conduct also incorporates elements of the Djibouti Code of Conduct in the western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, as well as the Memorandum of Understanding on the integrated coastguard function network in west and central Africa developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Maritime Organization of West and Central Africa (MOWCA).

Strengthening Regional Cooperation

While multilateral cooperation to combat fisheries crime is still in its infancy, there are existing regional mechanisms that may be used to help to address the problem. Even though regional fisheries bodies do not have jurisdiction against fisheries crime, some of its measures may be used to promote awareness and identify specific fishing activities and vessels that may be used to perpetrate transnational crime. Flag State and port State measures may be used to investigate and take action against potential involvement of organised criminal groups in fishing activities while trade-related measures may be utilised to monitor the transit and prohibit the importation and exportation of fisheries products involved in such illicit activities. With more than 40 regional fisheries bodies established in the world’s oceans, sharing vessel and incident information with and through INTERPOL may be the most effective way to combat fisheries crime. Channels of cooperation may also be established between regional fisheries bodies and financial task forces established to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. There are currently anti-money laundering task forces established in the Asia Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, South America, Middle East, North Africa, West Africa, and Southern Africa that can enter into information exchange arrangements with relevant regional fisheries bodies and may also serve as conduits of information to the INTERPOL Fisheries Working Group and relevant work of the UNODC.

As the legal definition of fisheries crime is explored and the appropriate legal framework developed, there are more practical measures which can be adopted by States to combat the problem. These measures draw upon existing mechanisms and network of cooperation between States in order facilitate intelligence gathering and sharing of information and encourage inter-agency and cross institutional collaboration between relevant organisations in order to address an emerging maritime security issue.


[1] See UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Transnational Organized Crime in the Fishing Industry: Focus on Trafficking in Persons, Smuggling of Migrants, Illicit Drug Trafficking (UNODC: 2010), pp 1-3.

[2] United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, The Globalization of Crime: A Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment (UNODC: 2010) p 196.

[3] Gavin Hayman and Duncan Brack, International Environmental Crime: The Nature and Control of Environmental Black Markets, (London: Royal Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2002), at 7; See for example, Katherine M Anderson and Rob McCusker, ‘Crime in the Australian Fishing Industry: Key Issues,’ Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice No 227 (Canberra: Institute of Criminology, 2005).

[4] Ibid., p. 3.

[5] United Nations, Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, Report of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime on its Fourth Session, Vienna, 8-17 October 2008, CTOC/COP/2008/19, 1 December 2008, para. 210.

[6] United Nations General Assembly, Sixty-third session, Item 73(a) of the provisional agenda, Oceans and the law of the sea, Report on the works of the United Nations and the Law of the Sea at its Ninth Meeting, A/63/174, 25 July 2008, paras. 71 and 73.

[7] United Nations, Sustainable Fisheries, including through the 1995 Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks and Related Instrument, UNGA Resolution 63/112, 05 December 2008, para. 59.

[8]Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, opened for signature 15 November 2000, 40 ILM 335 (2001); UN Doc. A/55/383 at 25 (2000); UN Doc. A/RES/55/25 at 4 (2001), (entered into force 29 September 003), art 3(2).

[9] Jay S Albanese, Organized Crime in our Times (Newark: LexisNexis, 2007), p. 4

[10]Ibid, p. 5.

[11] A number of institutions have conducted studies on the protection of the environment by means of criminal law such as the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute of Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), and International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy. See United Nations, Economic and Social Council, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Report on the first session, 21-30 April 1992, Economic and Social Council Official Records 1992 Supplement No 10, E/1992/30, E/CN.15/1992/7, para. IV(1)(a).

[12]  Environmental Investigation Agency, Environmental Crime: A Threat to Our Future (London: Emmerson Press, 2008).

[13]Donald R Liddick, Crimes Against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment (Sante Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011), pp. 72-93.

[14] Australia, Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), sec. 21C.


Dr Mary Ann Palma-Robles is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS), University of Wollongong, Australia. Apart from fisheries crime, her most recent research also focuses on trade measures to combat IUU fishing, fishing vessel and naval vessel encounters in disputed territories, and labour conditions in fisheries.  

The Mumbai Attack: Terrorism from the Sea

This is an article in our first “Non Navies” Series.

Nearly six years ago, Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT, meaning Army of the Righteous) launched a sophisticated raid on the Indian port of Mumbai. Ten LeT operatives held the city captive from 26-29 November 2008, killing 164 people and injuring more than 300 others. Fascinating in its counterterrorism aspects, the Mumbai attack is particularly noteworthy for those of us in maritime professions because of how they got there: by sea. LeT highlighted in detail how an irregular organization can circumvent landward control measures by turning to the maritime environment.

A pre-26/11 U.S. Department of State fact sheet on Lashkar-e-Taiba.
A pre-26/11 U.S. Department of State fact sheet on Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Violent extremist organizations (VEOs) such as LeT succeed in irregular warfare by going where government authority is absent or insufficient. The Indo-Pak coast is no exception. The expansive region has supported the livelihood of fishermen and merchants for centuries, making it a permeable environment where minimal government presence was (and remains) tolerant of transient craft. Such an environment offers myriad advantages compared to overland routes where government checkpoints and patrols are far more rigorous. VEOs continue to pursue these overland routes for infiltration or smuggling, but LeT minimized the chance of their high-stakes attack being interdicted by Indian authorities when they chose to come by sea.

The raid itself wasn’t the first iteration of LeT’s maritime infiltration. For example, in late-2006/ early-2007 eight operatives rendezvoused at sea with Indian LeT members aboard an unidentified fishing vessel and returned with them to reconnoiter Mumbai. This gave them ample opportunity to assess the coastal pattern of life, including security presence and traffic density, as well as to gather imagery of everything from landing sites to target location from the perspective of the raiding party. Once ashore they split into two-man teams, just as the raiding party would do, observing the area by travelling from safehouse to safehouse. They were not discovered during the seaborne infiltration nor during the reconnaissance of Mumbai. However, two of the eight were arrested in March 2007 by the Jammu & Kashmir police (Jammu & Kashmir being a state in northern India). During interrogation the two suspects gave specific information about their infiltration of Mumbai as well as LeT’s desire to use the sea as a routine ingress. Neither this shot-across-the-bow nor corroborating intelligence provided by U.S. and Indian agencies proved sufficient to energize India’s maritime security agencies.

After more than a year of training on the Mangla Dam reservoir in Kashmir, the raiding party departed Karachi on 21 November 2008 aboard motor vessel HUSSEINI. They spotted the Indian fishing vessel KUBER two days later in Pakistani waters. Though their plan had been to hijack a Mumbai-based craft in Indian waters, KUBER’s Indian registry enticed them to seize it as an early opportunity. They were able to come alongside, possibly by feigning distress, and quickly commandeeredthe fishing boat. The raiding party embarked KUBER and transferred all of her crew except the master to HUSSEINI. The raiders started towards Mumbai after the equipment was moved aboard and HUSSEINI returned to Karachi. The four fishermen taken from KUBER were executed, their bodies left adrift on the sea.

The transit to Mumbai was filled with map reconnaissance, table-top rehearsals, equipment prep, as well as probable comms checks and intel updates from LeT’s ad hoc operations center in Pakistan. KUBER arrived off the coast of Mumbai unscathed and unaddressed by maritime authorities on the evening of 26 November. The master was bound and his throat slit. The raiding party assembled their inflatable Gemini boats (counts vary from one to three), transferred their equipment and began the 4 NM insert under cover of darkness. KUBER was left adrift with a GPS, satellite phone, and other materials that would prove instrumental in developing the backstory during the subsequent investigation.

It’s unknown where the inflatable craft parted company (assuming there was more than one), but multiple beach landing sites were used. In the truest sense of camouflage, the boat(s) were not colored black and green to blend into the night, but bright yellow to blend

One of the boats used by LeT to insert into Mumbai.
One of the boats used by LeT to insert into Mumbai.

into the menagerie of local craft- undoubtedly a result of the early reconnaissance. At one site the operatives cheerfully claimed to be college students. At the other site they responded gruffly to locals, telling them to mind their own business, possibly even displaying their weapons. They continued unhindered in both cases, abandoned their craft on the beach, and shortly thereafter waltzed into history as executioners in a horrific raid.

To recap: LeT reconnoitered by sea, trained on Pakistan’s inland waterways, departed a major sea port (Karachi), hijacked a fishing vessel illegally operating in Pakistani waters/EEZ, transited unmolested across 500 NM of Indo-Pak littorals, amphibiously inserted into the Mumbai metropolis unchallenged, and came ashore unnoticed save for a handful of local fishermen accustomed to illicit maritime activity.

LeT violated the Indo-Pak littorals with impunity and conducted a raid heralded as a wake up call for maritime terrorism. This raid indeed required a great deal of competence, but VEOs embracing riverine or littoral waters as a maneuver space should not have come as any surprise. Then and now, the Niger River Delta and the Gulf of Guinea were abused by criminal organizations on a daily basis; Philippine waters were plagued by Abu Sayyaf; Colombian Riverines routinely battled the FARC and AUF; and in the U.S.’s backyard were organizations trafficking drugs, money, and violence through the Caribbean, Western Pacific, and Rio Grande. Oceans and waterways are indeed the vital connective tissue of the world, but they are open for both legitimate and illegitimate business alike.

So how do nations prevent VEOs from gaining an advantage in the maritime domain? First, by viewing the fight against irregular enemies as more than a footnote to the Mahanian themes used to define influential maritime powers. Thirteen years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught our landward compatriots a valuable lesson: maneuver warfare is on the back-burner and irregular adversaries are in. The world’s maritime agencies must adapt that lesson themselves or risk learning its reality firsthand in the aftermath of attacks like Mumbai, the USS COLE, or SUPERFERRY 14.

One way of adapting that lesson would be borrowing two key themes from counterinsurgency: presence and engagement. Simply put, government authority must be present to win. That’s easier said than done when talking about enormous littoral and riverine areas. The key must then be cooperation. Within a country, that means developing a culture of partnership amongst government agencies (e.g. Customs, Coast Guard, local law enforcement) to supplement each other’s presence and intelligence efforts. No one agency can be everywhere, but a network of agencies can cover waterspace far more effectively. That cooperation and partnership must also be extended across national borders since, as we have seen, VEOs are not bound by such borders. Here we can find a blend of Mahanian themes and irregular fights- countries who can project seapower beyond their local shores can train and enable

U.S. Navy Riverines discuss tactics with their Colombian counterparts using a hasty terrain model.
U.S. Navy Riverines discuss tactics with their Colombian counterparts using a hasty terrain model.

the local seapower partner nations, thereby strengthening both. But they must have the right tools (i.e., riverine and littoral units) with the mindset for the job, neither of which can be best employed until irregular warfare moves beyond its footnote status.

Next, local maritime communities must be engaged. The fishing and merchant culture which was mentioned earlier as giving rise to the permeable maritime environment may be the best asset for monitoring it. These tradesmen have numerous networks, both formal and informal, that if partnered with or sourced by human intelligence professionals may reveal nefarious activity (e.g., combat training on Mangla reservoir or strangers who are out of place in Mumbai). Additionally, reliable engagement builds trust, which in turn builds security by aligning the interests of local communities and lawful government for mutual benefit. If the government is the trusted partner of the community, then this is precisely anathema to the VEOs which wish to destablize the community or exploit the disconnect from government to conceal their operations.

VEOs and irregular warfare in the maritime domain are not up-and-coming prospects, they have been here for some time. High-visibility attacks such as the Mumbai raid bring them to the foreground every so often, but after the 24-hour news cycle returns to mundane matters these VEOs continue to skillfully exploit the world’s waterways. There is, frankly, nothing new about what has been said here. But for the time being, these suggestions bear reiterating so we can fuel the discussion and move the ball forward.

Alan Cummings is a 2007 graduate of Jacksonville University. He served previously as a surface warfare officer aboard a destroyer, embedded with a USMC infantry battalion, and as a Riverine Detachment OIC. The views expressed here are his own and in no way reflect the official position of the U.S. Navy. 

Sea Control 45 – West Africa Naval Development

seacontrol2This week, we discuss naval development in West Africa with Dirk Steffen of Risk Intelligence and Paul Pryce of the NATO Council of Canada, We cover the challenges of developing state maritime security apparatus, particularly procurement, capabilities & training, as well as the rising challenges of private demand for security vs. public supply that can cause corruption, confusion, as well as innovation.

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West African Naval Development

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