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Sea Control 137 – Security Cooperation with Derek Reveron

By Matthew Merighi

Join the latest episode of Sea Control for a conversation with Professor Derek Reveron from the U.S. Naval War College to talk about how the United States military conducts its security cooperation mission and his book on the subject, Exporting Security.

Download Sea Control 137 – Security Cooperation with Derek Reveron

The transcript of the conversation between Professor Derek Reveron (DR) and Senior Producer Matthew Merighi (MM) begins below. This transcript has been edited for length and clarity. Special thanks to Associate Producer Ryan Uljua for helping produce this episode.

DR: Great to be here. And just as the standard disclaimer I am speaking my own personal views and I don’t represent the Navy, the War College, or the Department of Defense.

MM: So, as is Sea Control tradition, please introduce yourself. Tell us a little bit about your background and what were the major things you did which got you to where you are today.

DR: I have a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois in Chicago and the book represents a fusion of the two parts of my professional life. On the one hand, I’ve been a Navy Reservist for almost 27 years and in that role my career has been marked by the conflicts in the Balkans, Bosnia and Kosovo, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

And then there is the other side of my life which is my academic career that examines U.S. foreign policy and defense strategy. Where the two came together came when I was serving at the NATO headquarters in Kosovo in 1998/99 and I witnessed how the Supreme Allied Commander, Wesley Clark at the time, was both a military leader and, in the academic sense, a policy entrepreneur. He was a senior diplomat working closely with foreign heads of state and the U.S. Secretary of State as well. When I came back from that, I examined others in a similar vein: General Zinni in the late 1990s at CENTCOM and then I got to work with Admiral [William] Crowe a little bit when he was teaching at the Naval Academy and talked to him a little bit about his time at PACOM. What I learned is Combatant Commanders are as much policy entrepreneurs as they are warfighters. They have to be national security leaders, not just military leaders. 

MM: You said that’s what prompted you to write your book Exporting Security. Tell us a bit about it. Why specifically write this book? Also, there is a second edition which came out just last year. What prompted you to write not only the first version but the second version as well?

DR: The first edition I wrote during the height of the [Second] Iraq War. It was very clear what the military was doing in a combat zone but when we started looking at the U.S. exit path and strategy success was based on building the Iraqi forces to take over for U.S. forces. I looked more broadly outside of combat zones to see what else the U.S. military was doing and, partly being as a professor, I was able to work with other security cooperation offices primarily in Latin America and East Africa to see what they were doing and the ways they were helping their countries address what I call security deficits.

The second edition was nice to revisit because I found with the first edition that I tilted too much towards weak states and failed states while ignoring developed states. The second edition takes a couple of things into account. One, I got to serve for a year in Afghanistan working at the main NATO training command for the Afghan security forces where we did industrial-scale security cooperation. And then second, looking at the things the U.S. was doing to help developed countries, such as Japan deal with its security concerns on China, Saudi Arabia as it relates to Iran, and then European countries as it relates to Russia. So the second edition takes into account how the U.S. helps developed countries take care of their security deficits.

MM: What are the ways the U.S. addresses security deficits? What are the different levers to pull, methods, and TTPs you end up using for that kind of work?

DR: The simple approach is through Foreign Military Sales. Some of the most important exports from the United States are weapons and training. If you take a particular example of a C-130 transport plane, I think more are flying on other countries’ flags than flying the U.S. flag. As a professor I am deeply involved in the education of foreign military leaders. At the Naval War College we have about 70 countries that send officers and these are top performers.

At any one time, 15 percent of the world’s navies are led by Naval War College graduates. There is a leader development dimension in addition to that. Finally, through exercises is where it all comes together because coalition warfare is the norm. When I was in Afghanistan we had 50 countries that we were working with. Interoperability is key and you get it by operating common platforms through defense exports, from common training and doctrine through education and training, and then you practice that through exercises.

MM: You’ve talked a little bit about some of the reasons embedded in this; not just how we do it but also why. I want you to expand on that a bit more. You mentioned both operational but also strategic reasons why this mission is important. Walk us through what the U.S. gets out of this security cooperation arrangement.

DR: So there’s two sides of it. There’s what we get out of it but also American generosity and political culture explain a lot. There was an officer from Chad who captured the political culture side: “if your neighbor’s house is burning, you should put it out so it doesn’t jump to your own house.” But there is an effort by the U.S. to help other countries be better because if they help them be stronger to deal with their own security challenges than the U.S. will not have to intervene.

Additionally, in combat zones, for the U.S. to redeploy, it needs to hand off the security situation to some other military. In the Balkans we look to NATO to do those missions and we still have KFOR running in Kosovo. In Afghanistan and Iraq it was all about handing it off to the Afghans and the Iraqis. But I think the overall goal is to stabilize the region. So in South Korea, where North Korea is in the news daily now, this is probably one of the best security cooperation success stories because the Koreans were able to use U.S. training and equipment to create a very capable military. So now you have a 700,000-person South Korean force supported by a 30,000 U.S. force.

MM: You also mentioned some of the economic aspects of these relationships and what they can do for the defense industry and industrial base which underpins some of our security advantages. Walk us through some of the political economy aspects of security cooperation too.

DR: From a U.S. domestic perspective, defense weapons are a huge export for the United States. That has multiple aspects: employs Americans, keep lines open, and lowers unit cost. Could you imagine how much an F-35 would be if we didn’t also have international partners buying into that system and bringing that cost down? I haven’t been able to confirm but, informally, someone told me that  international buyers of the P-8 caused the purchase price for the U.S. to drop by 10 percent. And then on the other end of why security even matters is economic opportunity. Admiral Stavridis when he was the Commander of SOUTCOM said “money is a coward.” Countries that lack security aren’t going to get investment or trading partners.

MM: So those are the benefits. What are some of the drawbacks of or pushback against the security cooperation mission? This reflects some of the things I saw in the Air Force, and I should put in the caveat that my views do not reflect those of the United States Air Force. There is pushback from some and, if not hostility, skepticism about the security cooperation mission. Walk us through why security cooperation can be a controversial topic in some military circles.

DR: There’s a lot of pushback on the idea and a lot of it has to do with our performance in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Without a doubt we could use the “f”-word, failure, in some of these places. I think there are three million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, so their impressions of building partner capacity is based on their personal experience. We all know it is dissatisfying. At this point, the Iraqis should have had the capability to deal with the emergence of ISIS and bringing regional stability. The Afghans today are taking greater casualties than they were five years ago in spite of a hundred billion dollar effort to build their force.

So we have those experiences and then some positive experiences. If we want to compare industrial scale efforts, I would also raise South Korea because that was a rebuild effort from scratch in the 1950s and their military today is fantastic. If we look at another more recent small-scale effort, Plan Colombia began in the early 2000s with a modest amount of U.S personnel, training, and equipment like helicopters to build an air mobility command. Using that, the Colombian military brought their government from the brink of failure back to a great, strong, democratic, capitalist country.

But if we look more broadly one of the reasons why failure is going to be more common is that we are non-exclusive. That over the last 15 years we’ve tripled the number of Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs) from 40 to 120. If we look at funding for International Military Education and Training (IMET) it’s doubled. Foreign Military Financing, where you can use U.S. grants to buy equipment, has more than doubled. We’re extremely non-exclusive and any time you take the non-exclusive approach and plant seeds everywhere, you’re not always going to get flowers. So there are probably going to be more failures than successes.

My answer to critics on this point is that it’s a foreign policy program. I know we want to measure outcomes based on what we think we’re doing and there’s always an effort to make armies, navies, and air forces better, but there is a foreign policy dimension to this that we cannot overlook. Sometimes what that means is we get a better relationship or the U.S. gets base access. There are clear cooperative benefits such as working with Japan and Israel on missile defense. That’s security cooperation too. It’s not just Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

MM: You’ve outlined why security cooperation is important and answered some of the skepticism about the mission. But how do you answer the broader question which came up during the last presidential election about the role of the military. I think there was a quote, at one point, that the military’s job is to “break stuff” and it should only be doing kinetic missions. How does the military, which is already overstretched with its current obligations, balance the kinetic mission with the security cooperation mission?

DR: This is an old idea. One of the inspirations for me was Marine General [Charles] Krulak and his experience in Somalia in the early 1990s. He talked about the three-block war where, at any one time, a Marine unit could be fighting, conducting peacekeeping, and conducting humanitarian assistance all at the same time. This is an important debate. I get pushback from both sides: the humanitarian community says “you’re militarizing foreign policy; this should be the work of NGOs, not military personnel.” My response is usually “I agree entirely and that is the preferred outcome” but in certain spaces where it is to dangerous for NGOs to operate, like Iraq and Afghanistan, you do find that the military is operating in those spaces.

From the military, I get the same sort of criticism that the U.S. military’s role is to fight and win the nation’s wars, kill people, and break things. And then I’ll usually highlight that the military is largely a logistics force. I think in the Army there is a 1:6 ratio of lethal trigger-puller to support. How I see security cooperation is: what are those six people doing when they’re not fighting war? The U.S. military has the largest logistics capability in the world. The U.S. military has the largest deployable medical capability in the world. So when President Obama wanted to respond to the Ebola crisis, he looked to the U.S. military because it could bring its own logistics and medical capability to help countries overcome the security deficit created by the disease.

Without a doubt it is controversial but it also goes into how do you conceptualize war. The kind of work I’ve been doing is really about how to prevent conflict. I think how you do that is through strength and partnership. My refrain is “even Switzerland flies the F-18.” It has more fighter aircraft than Nigeria does. Countries need a minimum level of national security both from a defense perspective, such as protecting their airspace, but also the internal perspective which deals more with policing.

MM: Walk us through a couple of other examples beyond Ebola, Iraq, and Afghanistan of how the U.S. has used its robust logistics capability for the security cooperation mission.

DR: Let me try to navalize this a bit.

MM: We are a maritime security podcast after all.

DR: I’m a Navy reservist but the irony is the two times I’ve been mobilized for deployments I’ve worked for the Army. So I probably have more insights there. The Navy is extremely embedded in the concept of security cooperation. For example, in the book I reference how in 2005 two thinkers, Admiral [John] Morgan and Admiral [Charles] Martoglio proposed the idea of the 1,000 ship Navy. It wasn’t 1,000 U.S.-flagged warships but it was the idea that the oceans are too big and too much maritime insecurity for one country to deal with it alone. The U.S. would instead use its logistics and intelligence capabilities to organize maritime coalitions. We see this today where three maritime coalitions are operating out of Bahrain that patrol the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf, and those important waterways and chokepoints. That’s security cooperation: countries that are working together to reduce security deficits at sea.

We saw it pay off about a year ago when the U.S. had an aircraft carrier gap in the region, so France assumed command of CTF-50 and used the Charles DeGaulle, its aircraft carrier, as the lead strike element. That was possible because the U.S. and France and other navies in the region had already been exercising together and promoting interoperability. That’s something where the U.S. benefits along those lines. You look at bilateral relationships in Northeast Asia: for every F-35 South Korea or Japan buys, that’s one more in-theater the U.S. could have in a time of crisis or one less the U.S. would need to provide. Coalition warfare is the norm and we need to promote that through interoperability and information sharing.

MM: I’m glad we’re getting to the maritime dimension of this. In the maritime chapter of your book, you talk about some issues which most people don’t think about they think about the sea services. You talk about illegal fishing, piracy, trafficking, and pollution. What makes the maritime domain different for conducting security cooperation versus on the land and in the air? How do those issues you identify play into the Navy’s and the Coast Guard’s capabilities for dealing with these challenges?

DR: In general, I’m united about the idea of security deficits. Regardless of where it is, a security deficit is when a country lacks the ability to protect its national security without others’ help. And in this case other tends to be the United States because we are the largest military dollar-wise and very professional. The U.S. has no shortage of soft power; almost every country in the world wants U.S. attention. The source of the deficits change though. In Latin America on the ground, its transnational gangs and trafficking organizations. At sea in East Africa, it was maritime piracy but the deficit was on the land. The Somali government couldn’t control its water space and that created the deficit at sea which allowed the pirates to challenge commercial shipping.

Same thing with airspace. We take for granted in the U.S. that we have a good idea of what is happening in our airspace. That’s not true in many parts of the world, so the U.S. will promote air understanding through exporting radars and building command and control networks. At sea, we have to recognize that the U.S. Navy is focused on sea control and naval warfare but the other 100 or more navies and coast guards in the world aren’t. They are more concerned about migrant flow, illegal fishing, and maritime piracy. When the U.S. Navy wants to work with these countries, that’s where it has to meet them. They have to focus on what concerns them, not what concerns us. But I will also argue that, if we work together on how to combat maritime piracy, we can bring the same interoperability to a combat scenario.

MM: As you mentioned, a lot of the world’s navies are more like coast guards. What do you see as the proper balance between the roles of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard for doing the security cooperation mission? Should the Navy be more adept at dealing with law enforcement issues even though it’s not allowed to do them in the U.S.? Do you see the Coast Guard as having a larger role in the security cooperation mission despite its smaller size?

DR: I don’t want to upset some of your listeners by using the Grey Zone concept because I know it’s controversial but, by U.S. law, we want to separate war from police very cleanly. In general I agree that the Navy should lead in issues of war and the Coast Guard should lead in issues of law enforcement. What I have found in my reading of military history and personal military experience is that war and peace do not separate so neatly on the battlefield. What about when a drug trafficking organization uses a semi-submersible vehicle? Is that really a police problem or is it a Navy problem? In general, the Coast Guard does not practice anti-submarine warfare (ASW); the Navy does. It really depends. Would I want the Coast Guard to develop an anti-submarine warfare capability? I would say no because it’s time-consuming and expensive. But would it make sense for the Navy to do ASW during some of its build-ups? I’m more open-minded to that. Is there a shortage of vessels whether they are grey-hull [Navy] or white-hull [Coast Guard]? Absolutely. Is there any amount of vessels the U.S. can deploy to solve the gaps on its own? Absolutely not. That is why I think the global initiatives are important for U.S. national security.

MM: One of the ideas you discuss is the Global Fleet Station concept. Walk us through that. What is the concept, how does it work, and how has it been utilized so far?

DR: This is a small-scale attempt for the U.S. Navy to work with partners around the world. In Africa it’s called the Africa Partnership Station. In the Western Hemisphere, there’s a version called Southern Partnership Station. The Pacific has Pacific Partnership Station. It’s a mobile training platform, the Navy will go from port to port doing short courses. In many cases, you aren’t going to be able to solve the long-term security problems these nations have with a week’s worth of training. But it’s not intended to do that. It’s one way to supplement other security cooperation programs.

As a professor, I believe one learns best when teaching others. So the sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen who embark on these programs are teaching but they’re also learning. There’s been good efforts on the part of the Ghanaian and Nigerian navies to combat armed robbery at sea activity which has come through these training programs. I would start with being realistic on what the U.S. can actually do. I’ve got a good friend at Tulane who takes a more isolationist view of U.S. foreign policy. To him, we’re at a great point in our history: we’ve got a strong military and a strong economy, oceans to protect us, and safe neighbors, so we should pull back. If I could quote former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, he said “we can give them training, we can give them equipment, but we obviously can’t give them the will to fight. But if we give them training, we give them equipment, give them support, and give them some time, I hope they will have the will to fight.” I would say that’s broadly true. We can train and equip but we can’t give the will to fight. An outside actor like the United States can only have so much influence.

MM: Throughout the course of your research, you’ve given a great and detailed description of how the U.S. does the security cooperation mission. You also mentioned that the United States, for the most part, is the international partner of choice whether because we are a superpower or because we can be in more places due to our mastery of logistics. In your research, have you come across other ways of doing the security cooperation mission used by other countries, say what Japan is starting to do in Southeast Asia, the French support mission in Mali, or the nations operating under the NATO banner in Afghanistan? Are there other security cooperation models which you found interesting or noteworthy for our audience?

DR: I think in general other countries follow the U.S. model but, really, the U.S. doesn’t have a model. This is one of the criticisms: there is no one-size-fits-all approach where you can measure things. To me, that’s the right approach. I understand why people want to see performance measurements. But it’s a foreign policy program and not every project is going to be successful.

For example, the Chinese have replicated U.S. hospital ships that are doing medical diplomacy missions. They’ve replicated the idea of war colleges and staff colleges bringing foreign personnel to study. Let me use another successful example of Canada. Canada had been training Jamaican helicopter pilots for decades. They’d fly them up to Canada for training and it would be very expensive. So at one point they said they’d like the Jamaicans to be self-sufficient in this. So Canada helped stand up a helicopter training program so it could train its own pilots. But now what happened is that Jamaica became a regional center to train pilots from throughout the Caribbean and central america. And that to me is a great idea: put a training base in another country. That’s a lesson I think we could learn. We’ve done that with peacekeeping center. The other one with Plan Colombia.

The question you ask is ‘what do these countries look like when they graduate? Do these countries ever graduate?’ It is a foreign policy program so, for example, I don’t envision Israel ever graduating from the U.S. foreign assistance program. It’s an important relationship and in some ways it’s a two-way relationship such as through missile defense. But it’s also a U.S. foreign policy priority for Israel to have the strongest military in the region. In Colombia, their graduation is that they’re now training militaries from other parts of the hemisphere against drug traffickers and insurgents. To me that’s great news. It’s great that we have a long-term relationship with them but also that they are spreading out to train others to improve hemispheric security.

MM: So if you were president for a day and could move those bureaucratic levers, what would you do if you could make changes to how the U.S. security cooperation mission works? Would there be personnel changes, would you invest in certain technologies, would you put more resources or attention into certain regions? What would be your wish list for what you would like the U.S. to do to improve its security cooperation mission?

DR: The first thing would be to preserve and strengthen the dual-key approach. One of the concerns people have is militarizing foreign policy. Beginning with Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates, they put in a dual-key approach that any program would need to be approved by both State and Defense. What I found working with different embassies around the world is ambassadors look at these programs as deliverables to their host government. All countries have national security challenges; even Switzerland buys the F-18. So we need to make sure we preserve that foreign policy dimension.

The second would be to look long term. We’re on annual budgets if we’re lucky but these programs take a long time to develop. As we know with our military it takes a decade or longer to get a senior NCO or mid-grade officers. So we need to be in less of a hurry. Finally, we need to embrace the idea that our partners’ failure is not our failure. I had to embrace this idea a bit when I was in Afghanistan. One of the problems with U.S. military culture is that can-do attitude which works wonders most of the time, but with security cooperation and assistance programs, we need to make sure the U.S. is not doing the work for others. That success is when they can stand on their own.

This strikes me as there is a little more patience today in Iraq, as you can see in General [Joseph] Votel’s testimony to Congress in the last few weeks. We’re moving at an Iraqi pace. I’m sure that’s frustrating for some who’d say that, if it was the U.S., we’d be done by now. But the point is what happens after ISIS is defeated. It’s the Iraqis are still there. They need to be the ones with the skill and investment in their national security.

MM: That’s a good point to start wrapping up. So, as is Sea Control tradition, what are you reading? What would you recommend to people who are interested in learning more about security cooperation or otherwise?

DR: I recently picked up Nadia Schadlow’s book War and the Art of Governance. I didn’t intend to read it fully because I had grading to do but I really liked her book. I thought it was sort of a bookend for my work. I look at phase zero, before combat activities, while Nadia looks at post-conflict and the important role that stability operations play in building foreign forces after conflict. Her work looks at how stability ops are a critical part of U.S. Army history and her bigger conclusion, which I find compelling, is that we suffer from a denial syndrome. That we still have this notion that wars look like what we see on the History Channel with victory in the Pacific or D-Day invasion and we don’t have documentaries on post-conflict reconstruction in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the Balkans.

Beyond that, I’ve got a couple of my own book projects I’m working on including looking at the other side of this coin: what generates human insecurity. If you look at conflict data, the event where countries which invade other countries is pretty rare right now. Obviously you have examples like Russia and Ukraine, the U.S. and Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon. But there’s a lot of conflict in the world, at security below the state level with transnational actors. So I’ll be looking at that and how it generates U.S. foreign policy responses.

MM: I’ll take this opportunity to plug Exporting Security again on your behalf. I’m personally a big fan of the security cooperation mission and there’s not a whole lot of scholarship on it and I appreciate you writing about this mission which normally flies under the radar. Thank you for being on Sea Control, good luck with your book projects, and hopefully we can get you on another time to talk about your new research.

DR: Thank you for your time, Matt, and thank you for all of the work you guys are doing with CIMSEC. Keep promoting the importance of maritime security and promoting the role that navies play and making sure we can drink coffee in the morning.

Derek Reveron is a professor of national security affairs and the EMC Informationist Chair at the U.S. Naval War College and author of Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military. These views are his own.

Matthew Merighi is the Senior Producer for Sea Control. 

India as a Net Security-Provider in the Indian Ocean and Beyond

India’s Role in the Asia-Pacific Topic Week

By Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan (ret)

With the Indian economy continuing to register arguably the highest rate of growth amongst the major economies of the world and the rise of India as a major reckonable power in her own right, come commensurate levels of international responsibility. As the country’s erstwhile National Security Adviser and ex-Foreign Secretary, Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon, had put it, sooner rather than later India will have to make real political and military contributions to stability and security in this region that is so critical to our economy and security. What has inhibited us since the Seventies have been limited capabilities and the fact that other States were providers of security in the area.  Now that both those limiting factors are changing, our approach and behaviour should change in defence of our interests.”[1]

India is actively pursuing and promoting the ‘blueing’ of her burgeoning ocean economy, with her trade to GDP Ratio (Openness Index) recording a decadal average of 40%. The Prime Minister’s firm declaration of national intent for India to be a net security-provider in the Indian Ocean and beyond, means the various connotations of maritime security (defined as freedom from threats emanating ‘in’, ‘from’, or ‘through’ the medium of the sea[2]) can no longer be denied centrality in any serious consideration of India’s national security. 

India’s requirement to ensure stability in her maritime neighborhood underpins her acceptance of this role of providing net security. This need for regional stability is informed by a number of reliable studies[3] that show political instability in one’s neighboring countries has a powerful and frequently adverse effect upon one’s own national economy. The magnitude of this effect is similar to that of an equivalent rise in domestic political instability in one’s own country. This negative effect is felt through a number of channels of inter-State commercial interaction. Amongst the principal ones are ‘space-time-and-cost’ disruptions of external trade. These, in turn, affect domestic manufacturing and local consumption and hence, money-flows and market-dynamism. Another is the sharp spurt in military expenditure and outlays as mitigating mechanisms against one’s own country being ‘infected’ by the malaise of instability affecting one or more neighboring or proximate countries. Likewise, increased uncertainty and risk dissuades overseas business-investment[4] as well as physical capital accumulation, not limited to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) alone. Tourism, which is an important source of revenue and economic buoyancy for many island nations in the Indian Ocean, is similarly adversely affected by catalysts of regional instability — an increased threat of piracy, for example.  Indeed, there is “strong empirical support for the proposition that a country’s growth rate depends not only on domestic investment but also on the investment of its neighbouring countries”[5].

In fact, there is growing clarity within New Delhi’s corridors of power that, as Zoltan Merszei famously said, Money is a coward.  Investment capital will not flow down a hazardous, unlit street where the risk is visibly higher than the potential reward[6].” The Business Dictionary defines ‘Risk’ as “the probability of loss inherent in financing methods, which may impair the ability to provide adequate return”[7]. In geopolitical terms, risk may be considered to be the probability of occurrence of an event factored against the degree of loss that is anticipated, should the event occur. In the context of this discussion, I hold that money does not go where there is excessive politico-military uncertainty, since such a condition defines excessive risk.

The 2011 edition of the ‘World Development Report,’ which focused specifically upon conflict, security, and development, emphasizes that violent conflict was undoubtedly one of the biggest drivers of poverty in the developing world[8]. One of the biggest risks for developing countries, it argued, was that of being caught in a ‘conflict trap’ — a vicious circle whereby poverty stokes conflicts, and conflict in turn increases poverty. With the weight of evidence that links regional instability to low economic growth in all nations in the near proximity of the politico-militarily unstable one, and recalling that the core national interest of India is to assure and ensure the material, economic, and societal well-being of the people of India, ensuring stability in her maritime neighborhood is quite clearly a major national imperative.    

It is this requirement for regional stability that provides the context of India being perceived — both externally and, increasingly, internally as well — as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.  Perhaps the first time that such a sentiment was formally expressed on an international stage was at the 2009 edition of the “Shangri La Dialogue” organized annually in Singapore by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), wherein Mr. Robert Gates, who was then Secretary of Defesce of the United States, said, “We look to India to be a partner and net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond….”[9].  This was repeated in the 2010 edition of the “Quadrennial Defense Review” of the USA, which emphasized, “….as its military capabilities grow, India will contribute to Asia as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and beyond.”[10]  However, the most categoric and unequivocal declaration of this intent occurred at no less than the Prime Ministerial level, when the erstwhile Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh said — “…We live in a difficult neighborhood, which holds the full range of conventional, strategic, and non-traditional challenges ……….. Our defense cooperation has grown and today we have unprecedented access to high technology, capital, and partnerships. We have also sought to assume our responsibility for stability in the Indian Ocean Region.  We are well positioned, therefore, to become a net provider of security in our immediate region and beyond…”[11]

India Minister of State Defense Rao Inderjit Singh speaks during the plenary session at the 14th Asia Security Summit, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue 2015 in Singapore on May 30, 2015. The United States on May 30 called for an "immediate and lasting halt" to reclamation works in disputed waters in the South China Sea, saying Beijing's behaviour in the area was "out of step" with international norms. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
India Minister of State Defense Rao Inderjit Singh speaks during the plenary session at the 14th Asia Security Summit, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue 2015 in Singapore on May 30, 2015.  ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The opportunity is clearly recognized [12] and the apex level of political signalling seems sufficient. And yet, one continues to encounter misgivings about whether India has the military capability to play the role of a net security provider for the region. These are largely remnants of a half century of muddled thinking[13] that viewed ‘security’ only in terms of the defense of territory within a state system whose defining characteristic was an incessant competition for military superiority with other nation-states, all lying within a classic state of anarchy without superior or governing authority. Yet, for most people of the world, threats to individual security, such as disease, hunger, inadequate or unsafe water, environmental contamination, crime, etc., remain far more immediate and significant. Thus, as nation-states such as India begin to incorporate the many facets of ‘Human Security,’ they find themselves moving away from the earlier, excessively narrow definition.  Consequently, new terms such as ‘Non-Traditional Security’ and ‘Human Security,’ drawn from the 1994 Report of the UNDP[14], have made their way into our contemporary security lexicon and established themselves within our individual and collective security consciousness. Apart from ‘Military Security’ which does, of course, continue to enjoy primacy in a world system defined by sovereign nation-states, the UNDP lists as many as seven components of Human Security: Economic Security, Food Security, Health Security, Environmental Security, Personal Security, Community Security, and, Political Security[15]

Threats arising from a lack of maritime security could be faced by individuals themselves or by one or more of the levels by which individuals organize into societies and into nation-states.  They could arise from natural causes or from manmade ones, or from the interplay of one with the other, as in the case of environmental degradation, or, global warming. Indeed, there is a growing realization that climate change has a very significant security dimension that impacts us at the national, regional, and global levels — and, going in the other direction, at subnational and human (individual) ones. As Sir David King, the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change, points out, “A growing body of credible, empirical evidence has emerged over the past decade to show that the climate change that has occurred thus far – involving an increase of 0.8°C in global average temperatures – is already influencing dynamics associated with human, sub-national, national and international security”[16].  Perhaps even more disconcerting is the ease with which the various security impacts of climate change transcend the traditional stove-piping of internal and external security. 

For instance, as rising global temperatures create enhanced heat and water stress, agricultural failures at a national level are very likely across entire regions. The probability is high that substantially lowered levels of food security will result in human migration, in turn causing a whole slew of ills ranging from a sharp increase in ‘barbarism’ to demographic shifts. The Syrian unrest — and the consequent rise of the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh[17] as a transnational threat — offers an illustrative case. The West Asian, the North African, and the Mediterranean regions have all being experiencing a drying trend over the last few decades, with a notable decline in winter precipitation — in conformity with the forecasts that had already been made by climate-modelling.[18] As a consequence of the extreme drought suffered by Syria between 2007 and 2011, involving severe and widespread crop-failure and the loss of livestock, there was a mass internal displacement of some two million farmers and herders into urban areas that were already stressed with Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. By 2011, around a million Syrians faced extreme food insecurity and another three million had been driven into extreme poverty[19]. While several factors — such as political insensitivity, a lack of democratic mechanisms for the venting of public frustration and brutal State repression — drove the political unrest and conflict that followed (and contributed to the appeal of the ISIL/ISIS/Daesh), it is difficult to pretend that this widespread impoverishment and large-scale displacement — which was a result of climate change — did not play a major role[20]

Today, threats to human security, such as religious extremism; international terrorism; drug and arms smuggling; demographic shifts — whether caused by migration or by other factors; human trafficking; environmental degradation; energy, food and water shortages; all figure prominently as threats that are increasingly inseparable from military ones. Likewise, the linkages between ‘external’ and ‘internal’ threats arising from the impact of climate change are clearly discernible in the maritime space as well. For instance, the Republic of the Maldives is located a mere 250 nm south-west of India. Its constituent islands and atolls have an average elevation above the current Mean Sea Level of just five feet (the highest elevation is a mere eight feet!). Thus, it is extremely susceptible to a rise in sea levels because of global warming.  The 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predicts that in a ‘high emissions’ scenario, there will be a global rise by 52-98 cm (20.47 to 36.22 inches) by the year 2100[21]. Even with a regime of aggressive reduction in emissions, a rise by 28-61 cm (11 to 24 inches) is predicted and this could be disastrous for Maldives — its population is about 336,000 people, many or all of whom could suddenly become ‘boat people!’ Where will they all go? Probably to India! Clearly, India needs to have multi-dimensional contingency plans in place to deal with the obvious security implications of the unfolding of such a scenario. 

A global map indicating areas impacted by a six meter rise in sea levels. Source: NASA.
A global map indicating areas impacted by a six meter rise in sea levels. Source: NASA.

Such realizations are leading Indian security-planners to embrace concepts such as ‘cooperative’ instead of ‘competitive’ security and ‘comprehensive’ rather than merely ‘military’ security. These are the very concepts that constitute the foundation of India’s ability and willingness to be a net security-provider in the Indian Ocean and beyond. This ability is premised not so much upon India’s arguable capacity by way of material wherewithal, but instead, upon India’s widely acknowledged and impressive capability — organisation, training, operational and maintenance philosophies, procedures, practices, etc. It is important to differentiate between ‘Capacity-building’ and ‘Capability-enhancement.’ Capacity-Building is most often used in the context of material wherewithal — i.e., the provision of hardware. This could include platforms, infrastructure, equipment, or spares, any or all of which might be provided to entities that have a need to develop a certain capacity to undertake one or more maritime (or naval) role.

For example, when the coastal police are given shallow-draft patrol boats with which to carry out patrols in coastal waters, this would constitute capacity-building‘Capability Enhancement’ on the other hand, refers to the realization of a potential aptitude or ability. In a maritime context, it implies that the potential recipient already has the capacity (or some proportion of it) to undertake a naval/maritime role, and further inputs will now enhance his existing capability to exploit the material wherewithal so as to derive better results. Capability-enhancement is mostly by way of intangibles and cognitive processes. To continue with the example of the coastal police, the provision of patrol-boats would have built some reasonable capacity. However, once the coastal police imbibe the various methods, procedures and processes that will enable them to logistically-support, maintain, repair, and operationally deploy these boats, their capability in terms of coastal patrolling would have been enhanced. Likewise, a certain navy (or maritime-security force) may well possess operationally viable sea-going Offshore Patrol-Vessels (OPVs). This would be capacity. On the other hand, if the crew aboard the OPV in question did not know how to distinguish between, say, a ‘demersal’ trawler (one designed to catch fish that live close to the seabed) and a ‘pelagic’ trawler (one designed to catch fish that swim close to the surface of the sea), it might be unable to establish ‘suspicious’ behavior as a function of the depth of water in which it is operating. When India provided the Tarmugli (now renamed PS Topaz) and the Tarasa (now renamed PS Constant) to Seychelles, India was engaging in capacity-building. However, the ‘planned preventive maintenance’ needed to sustain these ships in an operational state might well require additional ‘capability-enhancement’ inputs from India by way of maintenance-philosophies, maintenance-schedules, technical-training, etc.

There is considerable evidence that India is, indeed, rising to the occasion. Examples of regional capacity-building are the provision (against generous Lines of Credit) of patrol vessels, short/medium-range maritime patrol aircraft, coastal surveillance radars, shore-based AIS Stations, spares, etc., to several of India’s maritime neighbors. Recipients include Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Regional capability-enhancement by India is extremely vigorous.  This incorporates, inter-alia, infrastructure-development such as the setting-up of an afloat-support organisation for ships and patrol craft, the creation of a dockyard in Maldives, airfield development and allied support facilities in Mauritius, and a wide variety of maritime training — in India as well as in-country training by Indian training-teams. It also includes the conduct of extensive hydrographic surveys by specialized Indian ships and aircraft. Indian ships and aircraft make a major effort in regional surface and airborne EEZ-surveillance to counter maritime crime such as illegal immigration, human-trafficking, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, and piracy. Beneficiaries once again include vulnerable Indian Ocean nation-states such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Myanmar, Vietnam, etc.

A critical success in India’s regional endeavors has been the creation of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). IONS is the current century’s first (and to date the only) robust and inclusive regional maritime-security organizational structure within the Indian Ocean. It was launched by New Delhi in 2008 with active participation of very nearly all 37 littoral nations of the Indian Ocean region at the level of their respective Chiefs of Navy/Heads of national maritime forces. It is broadly modeled upon the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) and has gained impressive traction over the past eight years. Its inclusiveness is evident from the fact that both India and Pakistan — often associated with being arch rivals and even spoilers, at times — are active and enthusiastic members. For the moment, suffice to say that it represents a unique opportunity to progress common responses to common regional threats.

A visualization of nations included in various common security forums and organizations.
A visualization of nations included in various common security forums and organizations, demonstrating the broad inclusivity of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).

Indeed, the current and future maritime plans and processes through which India can translate this statement of intent into tangible reality lie at the core of India’s willingness to be a net security-provider.

Vice Admiral Pradeep Chauhan (ret.) retired as Commandant of the Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala. An alumnus of the prestigious National Defence College.

[1] Shiv Shankar Menon; “We Must Now Choose”; lecture on “India’s Changing Geopolitical Environment” at the ‘Changing Asia’ series of Lectures, New Delhi, 23 Jan 2016, available at url: http://www.outlookindia.com/article/we-must-now-choose/296484

 [2] Address by Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, inaugurating the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Seminar at New Delhi, 14 February, 2008; available at url: http://archivepmo.nic.in/drmanmohansingh/speech-details.php?nodeid=633

 [3] Alberto Ades, (Goldman, Sachs & Co) and Hak B Chua (Malaysian Management Institute); “Thy Neighbour’s Curse: Regional Instability and Economic Growth”.  JSTOR: Journal of Economic Growth, Vol 2, No 3, (Sep. 97), pp 279-304; available at url:   http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40215960?uid=3738256&uid=2134&uid=2483820223&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3&uid=2483820213&uid=60&sid=21104638501903

[4] Ari Aisen and Francisco Veiga; “How Does Political Instability Affect Economic Growth?”; IMF (Middle East and Central Asia Department) Working Paper, January 2011.

[5] Hak B Chua; “Regional Spillovers and Economic Growth“.  Yale University, Economic Growth Center, September 1993

[6] Zoltan Merszei; speech at the Empire Club of Canada on 16 February, 1978; available at url: http://speeches.empireclub.org/61635/data?n=2 (accessed on 18 May 2014)

 [7] http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/financial-risk.html (accessed on 18 May 214)

[8] http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWDRS/Resources/WDR2011_Full_Text.pdf (accessed on 18 May 214)

[9] Dr Robert Gates; “America’s security role in the Asia–Pacific”; The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue: 14th Asia Security Summit; 30 May 2009; available at url: http://www.iiss.org/en/events/shangri%20la%20dialogue/archive/shangri-la-dialogue-2009-99ea/first-plenary-session-5080/dr-robert-gates-6609 (accessed on 07 August 2015)

[10]Quadrennial Defense Review Report”, Department of Defense, United States of America; February 2010; p.60

[11] Press Information Bureau, Government Of India (Prime Minister’s Office); “PM’s speech at the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony for the Indian National Defence University at Gurgaon”, 23-May, 2013; available at url: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mbErel.aspx?relid=96146 (accessed on 07 August 2015)

[12]  Shivshankar Menon; “India in the 21st century World”; Address at the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents (IAFAC); 13 February 2014; available at url: http://www.irgamag.com/resources/interviews-documents/item/7409-india-in-the-21st-century-world (accessed on 10 Aug 15)

 [13] In April 1968, the then Minister of state for External Affairs, Mr B R Bhagat, told the Indian Parliament:  “… If we dispersed our efforts and took on responsibilities that we are not capable of shouldering, it would not only weaken our own defence but would create a false sense of security and might even provoke a greater tension in this area.”

 [14] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); “Human Development Report, 1994”; Oxford University Press, 1994;  available at url: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/255/hdr_1994_en_complete_nostats.pdf (accessed on 08 August 2015)

See also:

Oscar A Gómez and Des Gasper;  “Human Security”; United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report Office, available at url: http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/human_security_guidance_note_r-nhdrs.pdf (accessed on 08 August 2015)

 [15] UNDP “Human Development Report, 1994”, Op Cit; p. 24

 [16] David King, Daniel Schrag, Zhou Dadi, Qi Ye and Arunabha Ghosh; Report on “Climate Change: A Risk Assessment”, Ed. James Hynard and Tom Rodger; Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) [University of Cambridge, UK], Commissioned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office; p. 120

[17] ISIL: Islamic State of Syria in the Levant = ISIS: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also sometimes expanded to Islamic State of Syria and al-Sham) = Daesh (an Arabic acronym formed from the initial letters of the group’s previous name in Arabic: “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fil Iraq wa al-Sham”, where ‘al-Sham’ was commonly used during the rule of the Muslim Caliphs from the 7th Century to describe the area between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates, Anatolia [in present day Turkey] and Egypt).

See:  Faisal Irshaid; “ISIS, ISIL, IS or Daesh? One Group, Many Names”; BBC Monitoring, 02 December 2015; available at url: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27994277

[18] Hoerling et al. (2012); “On the Increased Frequency of Mediterranean Drought”, Journal of the American Meteorological Society; (See also NOAA [ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Press Release “NOAA Study: Human-caused Climate Change a Major Factor in More Frequent Mediterranean Droughts”’ October 27, 2011; available at url: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20111027_drought.html

[19] CP Kelley, Shahrzad M Mohtadi, MA Cane, R Seager and Y Kushnir (2015); “Climate Change in the Fertile Crescent and Implications of the Recent Syrian Drought”; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11, pp. 3241-3246

[20] F Femia and C Werrell; ‘Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest”; The Center for Climate and Security; available at url: http://climateandsecurity.org/2012/02/29/syria-climate-change-drought-and-social-unrest/  

 [21] Chapter 13 of ‘Working Group 1’ Contribution to the 5th IPCC Report; available at url: https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_Chapter13_FINAL.pdf 

Maritime Security Cooperation and the Coast Guard

By Derek S. Reveron

Given shrinking global fleets and growing seaborne challenges, the United States has embraced security cooperation to augment its own force to improve maritime security around the world.[1] The country looks to its partners to address sub-national and transnational actors who generate maritime insecurity. As such, the U.S. builds global maritime partnerships to respond to piracy, illicit trafficking, and other illegal activities to protect important sea-lanes. And where limited capacity exists, the United States helps to build national capabilities with new countries such as East Timor, post-conflict countries such as Liberia, or long-time allies such as the Philippines.

.S. Coast Guard Ensign looks for safety hazards from aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward's bridge as the ship docks at the pier in Monrovia, Liberia, during an international mission in support of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) June 17, 2011.
Coast Guard Ensign looks for safety hazards from aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward’s bridge as the ship docks at the pier in Monrovia, Liberia, during an international mission in support of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) June 17, 2011.

This effort to build global maritime partnerships is not new. A decade ago, Vice Admiral Morgan and Rear Admiral Martogolio wrote, “policing the maritime commons will require substantially more capability than the United States or any individual nation can deliver.”[2] This thinking underlies the tri-service maritime strategy signed by the Coast Guard Commandant, Chief of Naval Operations, and Commandant of the Marine Corps. The strategy called for fostering critical relationships overseas, screening ships bound for our ports, and responding to threats approaching our coastline.[3] To be effective, the partnerships include navies, coast guards, commercial shipping companies, and port operators. This is logically based on the importance of seaborne trade, the size of the world’s oceans, and interconnectedness of the maritime transportation system.

There is renewed interest in protecting the maritime commons. The United Nations General Assembly is “concerned that marine pollution from all sources, including vessels and, in particular, land-based sources, constitutes a serious threat to human health and safety, endangers fish stocks, marine biodiversity and marine and coastal habitats and has significant costs to local and national economies.”[4] Many countries lack the resources to protect their fisheries and enforce environmental laws giving rise to security deficits on the seas. This lack of government presence further enables criminal groups to traffic drugs, people, and weapons. They thrive in the vastness of the oceans and relative lack of maritime domain awareness or response capabilities in most of the world. The result is that Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations generate, remove, and launder between $18 billion and $39 billion in wholesale drug proceeds annually.[5] These groups use the profits to equip themselves with the latest equipment and employ various means such as semi-submersible vehicles, which challenge governments’ abilities to interdict.

To meet these challenges, partners generate demands for U.S. assistance. When the Caribbean was identified as America’s third border, for example, the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic “recognize[d] the importance of close cooperation to combat new and emerging transnational threats that endanger the very fabric of our societies.”[6] U.S.-Caribbean engagement programs are designed to enhance cooperation in the diplomatic, security, economic, environmental, health and education arenas. Through the Central American Regional Security Initiative, for example, partner countries supported 67 percent of illicit trafficking disruptions in 2012.[7]


A Coast Guardsman trains with foreign servicemembers.
A Coast Guardsman trains with foreign servicemembers.

For the United States, the global illicit drug trade is a significant transnational security threat that undermines democratic governments, terrorizes populations, impedes economic development, and hinders regional stability. The UN Office of Drug Control and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa warned that, “States in the Caribbean, Central America and West Africa, as well as the border regions of Mexico, are caught in the crossfire between the world’s biggest coca producers, the Andean countries, and the biggest consumers, North America and Europe.”[8] This formulation places Caribbean countries as victimized bystanders to a Yankee drug problem[9], but the State Department recognized that this view is changing and partners see drug trafficking as a shared problem in that “We all face a thinking, well-financed enemy and we must all, every legitimate nation-state and international authority, work together to thwart this network.”[10]

Indeed, there is a shared insecurity enabling cooperation on shared challenges like transnational organized crime. But this has not been easy. Drug traffickers successfully exploit weak security institutions and take advantage of political tension created by U.S. drug policy and declining presence. The challenge for the United States, however, is to build renewed relationships without overwhelming these countries with its military and law enforcement efforts. With its intervention history and large size, the U.S. military too easily scares its partners. The U.S. Marine Corps, for example, is larger than almost every country’s military in the Western Hemisphere and Africa. Further, a slowing defense budget is reducing military deployments in the Western Hemisphere where the Coast Guard already supplies the bulk of ships and aircraft to disrupt drugs bound for the United States.[11]

Royal Malaysian Navy sailors stand security watch during a boarding exercise aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mellon as part of Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism 2010. SEACAT is a weeklong at-sea exercise designed to highlight the value of information sharing and multinational coordination.
Royal Malaysian Navy sailors stand security watch during a boarding exercise aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mellon as part of Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism 2010. SEACAT is a weeklong at-sea exercise designed to highlight the value of information sharing and multinational coordination.

Maritime security cooperation can offset U.S. absence and empower its partners. Under international law, countries have basic obligations under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. These laws form the basis of partnerships as countries seek to prevent security incidents on ships and in ports through the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.[12] And trust can be reaffirmed through programs like the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Container Security Initiative to reduce illicit trafficking. While countries ratify these agreements, they often lack the maritime capability and capacity to patrol their waterways, ports, and territorial waters.

Given its history, law enforcement capabilities, and place in the federal government, the U.S. Coast Guard is well-positioned to build partnerships and promote maritime security. Under Title 14 of the U.S. Code, the Coast Guard has jurisdiction both in territorial waters and on the high seas. As the service responsible for protecting U.S. ports and its lead responsibility for maritime drug interdiction, the Coast Guard has the expertise and experience to work with maritime partners around the world. While the Coast Guard has no independent funding authority to conduct security cooperation, it can draw program support from the Foreign Assistance Act and Section 1206 of Title 10, which provides funding for international education, training and equipment.

Congress intended international military education and training (IMET) to accomplish three principal goals. First, foster increased understanding between the United States and foreign countries in order to enhance international peace and security. Next, enable participating countries to become more self-reliant by improving their ability to utilize defense resources obtained through foreign military financing (FMF). Finally, increase the awareness of internationally recognized human rights issues.[13]

The Coast Guard provides international education at its Academy and technical training through its various schools. New London counts 114 international cadet graduates since 1971, while schools and mobile training teams train thousands of students annually from more than 80 countries.[14] In support of U.S. embassies around the world, the Coast Guard conducts boarding officer training, engages with maritime police, and trains search and rescue personnel so countries can meet their international legal obligations. International coast guard officers also attend DOD-funded schools such as the US Naval War College, where it can count among its alumni the current heads of coast guards in Bangladesh, Belize, Cape Verde, Jamaica, and Seychelles.

Augmenting military training and education is the FMF program that supplies grants and loans to finance American weapons and military equipment purchases. Working with allies and partners, the United States seeks to develop regional capabilities to protect trade, natural resources, and economic development. This includes establishing maritime domain awareness through the automated identification system, an array of coastal radar systems, and improved command and control. Most countries lack significant maritime capacity to protect their territorial waters let alone their Exclusive Economic Zones. Nigeria, for example, which is the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, counts about 7,000 maritime enforcement personnel with several offshore patrol vessels to include former US Coast Guard cutters Gallatin and Chase. More broadly, the Coast Guard supported delivery of over 300 vessels and trained the crews of 56 countries.[15] Through FMF, excess defense articles programs, and other authorities, the United States transfers weapons to increase maritime capacity.

Security cooperation also includes maritime security sector reform, which is an area of increasing importance. Sustained maritime security sector reform includes governance, civil and criminal authority, defense, safety, response and recovery, and economy.[16] It focuses on improving civil-military relations, promoting collaboration among regional partners, and fostering cooperation within partners’ governments. The United States has learned that contemporary security challenges often require whole-of-government solutions and regional cooperation. Consequently, it seeks to foster this same approach around the world. Programs support legislative reform (e.g. seizing assets from drug traffickers), enhancing cooperation between police and defense forces (e.g. building bridges among bureaucratic rivals), and managing the legacy of past human rights abuses (e.g. integrating human rights training in programs).

To be sure, the United States has a long history of global presence and supporting almost every country in the world. Fiscal austerity is likely to restrict this presence, yet security cooperation can offset U.S. assets through U.S. partners. As my colleague Ivan Luke has written, “strategists and practitioners will need to be smart about how they approach peacetime missions.”[17] With growing international trade and security deficits, the Coast Guard’s unique civil-military blend makes it an ideal service to conduct maritime security cooperation.

Derek Reveron is a professor of national security affairs and the EMC Informationist Chair at the U.S. Naval War College and author of Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military. These views are his own.

[1] Derek S. Reveron, Exporting Security: International Engagement, Security Cooperation, and the Changing Face of the U.S. Military, (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2010).

[2] Vice-Admiral John Morgan, Jr. and Captain Charles Martoglio, “The 1,000-Ship Navy: Global Maritime Network,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 131, (November 2005), p. 18.

[3] Cooperative Strategy for Twenty-First Century Seapower, October 2007.

[4] February 28, 2008.

[5] Office of National Drug Control Policy, National Drug Threat Summary, (Washington, DC: ONDCP, 2009) http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs31/31379/index.htm

[6] “U.S./CARICOM/Dominican Republic Statement on Third Border Initiative,” January 14,2004. http://www.america.gov/st/washfile-english/2004/January/20040114144116nesnom0.569256.html#ixzz0AZrjgdVl

[7] U.S. Southern Command, “Posture Statement of General John F. Kelly, United States Marine Corps Commander, United States Southern Command before the 113th Congress Senate Armed Services Committee,” March 19, 2013.

[8] Quoted in UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Annual Report 2009, (New York: United Nations, 2009),  11. http://www.unodc.org/unodc/data-and-analysis/WDR.html

[9] Horace A. Bartilow and Kihong Eom, “Busting Drugs While Paying with Crime,” Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 5, Iss 2, (April 2009), pp. 93-116.

[10] Department of State, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, (Washington, DC: Department of State, 2008). http://www.state.gov/p/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2008/vol1/html/100772.htm

[11] U.S. Southern Command, “Posture Statement of General John F. Kelly, United States Marine Corps Commander, United States Southern Command before the 113th Congress House Armed Services Committee,” February 26, 2014.

[12] ISPS is an amendment to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention (1974/1988).

[13] Committee on International Relations and Committee on Foreign Relations, Legislation on Foreign Relations through 2002, (Washington, DC: Congress, 2003), chapter 5.

[14] U.S. Coast Guard, International Training Handbook, Edition 14, p. 12.

[15] U.S. Coast Guard, International Training Handbook, Edition 14, p. 12.

[16] Maritime Security Sector Reform Guide, December 2010.

[17] Ivan Luke, “Naval Operations in Peacetime: Not Just ‘Warfare Lite,’” Naval War College Review, Spring 2013, p. 24.