Category Archives: Project Trident

Project Trident Call for Articles: The Law of Naval Warfare

By James Kraska

Submissions Due: May 17, 2021
Week Dates: June 7-11, 2021

Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to:

The Stockton Center for International Law (SCIL) at the U.S. Naval War College is partnering with CIMSEC to launch the latest Call for Articles of Project Trident to solicit writing on the law of naval warfare and its evolving impact on the future of international maritime security. SCIL is a leading research institute for the study of international law and military operations that produces original analysis for national decision-makers, senior military leaders, scholars, and legal practitioners throughout the world in order to better grasp the role international law plays in naval, joint, and combined operations. The Stockton Center also publishes International Law Studies, the oldest journal of international law in the United States.

The threat of armed conflict at sea is ever-present. Emerging naval technology, new operational, force employment, and warfighting concepts, and contending interests in the oceans risk undermining maritime security. In peacetime, the majority of seafaring States abide by the law of the sea most of the time, either as a matter of customary international law or as a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other agreements. During armed conflict, states apply the law of naval warfare. Yet much of the law in this regard was developed at the Hague Conference in 1907 and by state practice during the world wars. There has been no new codification of the law of naval warfare since Geneva Convention II in 1949. In the event of armed conflict at sea today, states must apply these legacy rules to new situations, making their application and legal outcome uncertain. Furthermore, current naval forces, maritime law enforcement organizations, and state-sponsored maritime militia promote different approaches to the principles and norms of customary law.

New technology continues to transform the maritime domain. The inherently interconnected nature of cybersecurity and the increased risk that comes with autonomous unmanned platforms could pose legal challenges in conflict. Gray-zone operations just below the threshold of declared armed conflict are deliberately taking advantage of legal ambiguities, and the definition of a combatant, or hostile act or intent, is becoming more and more blurred. Maritime militia, coast guard vessels, armed merchantmen, and civilian-crewed military logistics vessels can all present legal complications in a naval warfare context. With respect to tactics and operations, warships may feel compelled to blend with civilian traffic to decrease their detectability and take advantage of the element of surprise. On the strategic level, nations may choose to employ blockades, minefields, and other measures that present legal challenges.

In the future, will today’s definition of armed conflict at sea remain relevant? Who will be considered belligerents, and who (or what) will be considered valid targets? What activities will constitute an attack? International law and its application must evolve to reflect the changing realities of naval warfare with the emergence of new technologies and gray-zone activities.

Authors are invited to write on these topics and more as we look to understand the interplay between evolving laws surrounding naval warfare and the future of international maritime security. Submissions will be jointly reviewed and approved by CIMSEC and SCIL, and will be reviewed for quality of writing, analysis, and legal rigor.

Send all submissions to

James Kraska is Chair and Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law in the Stockton Center for International Law at the Naval War College and Visiting Professor of Law and John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization at Harvard Law School. He has served as Visiting Professor of Law at the College of Law, University of the Philippines and Visiting Professor of Law at Gujarat National Law University. He previously was Mary Derrickson McCurdy Visiting Scholar at Duke University Marine Laboratory and Chief of Naval Research Fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has published numerous books and scholarly articles and is Editor-in-Chief of International Law Studies and the treatise, Benedict on Admiralty: International Maritime Law. He is also a Permanent Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Kraska served as a U.S. Navy officer and lawyer, with multiple tours of duty in Japan and the Pentagon. 

The views presented do not necessarily reflect the views of the Stockton Center for International Law, the U.S. Naval War College, or the Department of Defense.

Featured Image: The 5-inch gun aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) fires during a live-fire gunnery exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeremy Graham)

Project Trident Call for Articles: Maritime Infrastructure and Trade

Submissions Due: April 19, 2021
Week Dates: May 3-7, 2021
Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to:

By Jimmy Drennan

CIMSEC is partnering with Maersk Line, Limited to launch the Project Trident call for articles on maritime infrastructure and trade! Maersk Line, Limited provides end-to-end transportation solutions to support the unique requirements of the U.S. government. As the largest owner and operator of U.S. flag vessels trading internationally and the largest participant in the VISA/MSP programs, these network ensures reliable and regular connection to all corners of the globe.

Security and prosperity go hand-in-hand, and as the complexity of the global economy grows, so too does its dependence on the maritime domain. The increasing connectedness of national and regional economies, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, have highlighted the importance of infrastructure and trade in maritime security.

Last year, shipping carriers rejected U.S. agricultural exports worth hundreds of millions of dollars in favor of returning empty containers to China, which faces a container shortage due to a surge in consumer goods. Government stimulus packages and shifting consumer trends resulting from the pandemic have put a strain on global container capacity, and China is making it more profitable for shippers to bring back empty containers than American agricultural exports. Meanwhile, containers full of American goods stack up in slammed ports like Los Angeles and Long Beach. The growing intricacies of the global supply chain demonstrate the need for a coordinated maritime strategy.

Port capacity and accessibility is rapidly changing as the developing world increasingly becomes more urbanized and developed, thereby increasing their demand of the global maritime commons. The volume of commercial maritime traffic is ever increasing, and the ability of ports to keep pace is in flux. Ports have significant geopolitical value as well, especially as China is securing long-term leases on port infrastructure beyond its borders.

The global shipbuilding industrial base remains heavily concentrated in China, Japan, and South Korea, which account for around 90 percent of all ships launched in recent years. In 2018, the world’s global merchant fleet totaled 50,000 vessels with a combined value of $851 billion, and a total deadweight tonnage of 1 billion. The shipbuilding industrial base in the United States is dominated primarily by military shipbuilding contracts while large-scale commercial shipbuilding capacity has largely gone overseas. The shipbuilding industrial base of China, both commercial and military capacity combined, is overshadowing that of the United States, raising questions about their respective abilities to mobilize industry in a time of conflict.

Often overlooked is the critical, but often opaque world of shipping finance and insurance. For example, China is rapidly becoming the preferred option for ship financing as western banks exit the market space. U.S. Military Sealift Command contracts with foreign tanker companies to charter ships for some overseas operations. These ships are sometimes leased to tanker companies from Chinese banks, with little to no awareness by the U.S. government.

Data is the new lifeblood of global commerce and the shipping industry is in the midst of a digital revolution. The industry is looking to seize opportunities posed by emerging technologies and networks, but must be considerate of the associated cybersecurity concerns and the risks of failing to keep pace with change.

CIMSEC wants your ideas on how infrastructure and trade will impact the future of international maritime security. What could be the maritime security impacts of Sino-American economic interdependence, changing infrastructure capacity, rapid port development, decarbonization, digital revolution, and other trends and facets of global maritime infrastructure?

Authors are invited to answer these questions and more as we consider the future of maritime infrastructure and trade. Send all submissions to

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at

Featured Image: A container terminal (bellergy via Pixabay)

Maritime Cybersecurity Topic Week Kicks Off On CIMSEC

By Dmitry Filipoff

This week CIMSEC will be featuring submissions sent in response to our call for articles on maritime cybersecurity, issued in partnership with Cyber Nation Central as a part of Project Trident.

Maritime security is infused with cybersecurity concerns through the ubiquitous presence of computers, networks, and digital systems that have become a foundation of maritime activity. Cyberspace, like maritime space, is an endlessly complex commons, filled with inexorable activity and far flung connections. Yet amongst cyberspace lie threats that are often unnoticed until they strike, and by then they have often caused considerable damage. Cybersecurity threats are in many ways outpacing the defenses that attempt to address them, and the maritime industry and naval powers have been woefully behind. These CIMSEC topic week authors look to address these concerns and posit how maritime cybersecurity can be enhanced and stay ahead of the curve.

Below are the articles and authors being featured, which will be updated with further submissions as Maritime Cybersecurity Week unfolds.

Sieges, Containerships, and Ecosystems: Rethinking Maritime Cybersecurity,” by LCDR Ryan Hilger
Sea Blind: Pacing Cybersecurity’s Evolving Impact on Maritime Operations,” by Mark McIntyre and Joe DiPietro
Perils of A New Dimension: Socially Engineered Attacks in Maritime Cybersecurity,” by Leonid Vashchenko
Tackling Maritime Cyber Threats: A Call for Cross-Stakeholder Cooperation,” by Henrik Schilling

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content. Contact him at

Featured Image: The server room at the United Kingdom’s National Archives (Wikimedia Commons)

Project Trident Call for Articles: The Future of Maritime Cybersecurity

By Jimmy Drennan

Submissions Due: Extended to February 22, 2021
Week Dates: March 1-5, 2021
Article Length: 1000-3000 words
Submit to:

CIMSEC is partnering with Cyber Nation Central to launch the latest Project Trident call for articles, this time on the impact of cybersecurity on future international maritime security. Cyber Nation Central “focuses on industry and government leadership in cyberspace defense, and its mission is to create cyber-secure renditions of physical nations for the U.S. and its global partners.” Cyber Nation Central seeks to spur cybersecurity innovation and bring practical transformation, think tank expertise, and strategic advice to corporations and governments to solve the most pressing problems in national cybersecurity infrastructure, specifically the autonomous and connected systems in transportation, defense, and healthcare sectors.

The December 2020 reveal of a major cyberattack on U.S. federal networks reaffirmed the ever-growing importance of cybersecurity. The need to defend computer networks against attack now influences almost every aspect of the global political and economic landscape, and the maritime sector is no exception.

Maritime networks are inherently distributed and vulnerable to attack. One cybersecurity firm noted after a year of investigation that “shipping is so insecure we could have driven off in an oil rig.” Criminals, terrorists, and nation-states are taking note. In the last three years, cyberattacks on maritime infrastructure and shipping have increased 900 percent. Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation each suffered network breaches in 2020; the cruise industry is a particularly desirable target due to the amount of personal and financial data they carry. Shipping companies have already incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in losses resulting from computer virus infections, and some speculate that the financial impact of coordinated attacks on certain ports could rise into the billions.

Cybersecurity has rapidly become an essential element of naval warfare as well. Not only must navies be able to defend their own networks, but they must also maintain offensive and maneuver capabilities in the cyber domain. Given the dependence of modern warships on electronic data and networks, achieving maritime superiority in conflict may soon be impossible without first achieving cyber superiority.

Authors are invited to write on any topic related to maritime cybersecurity, particularly the following:

1. What investments, infrastructure, and technological innovation should governments and private entities pursue to achieve maritime cybersecurity

2. How could cybersecurity shape future naval conflict and naval force development?

3. Given the global rise in cyber whaling,1 what measures should be taken to “cybersecure” maritime senior leaders and executives from threats specifically targeting them as the holders of the most sensitive “digital crown jewels” (data, access, etc.)? What domino effect could this method of cyber warfare cause in maritime security?

4. Is cyber “security” even possible in the burgeoning cyber “arms race”?

5. With cyber-hacking becoming less and less prevalent as a technical problem and, instead, 97 percent of hacking crimes done via social engineering, what behavioral training should maritime entities undergo to foster a culture of cybersecurity?

6. What maritime cybersecurity policy areas should lawmakers rethink or consider introducing, and to what end?

7. What improvements could be made in cybersecurity technology distribution speed and effectiveness? How can the cyber supply chain be improved?

8. What cybersecurity recruitment and talent management strategies should maritime entities pursue?

Authors are invited to answer these questions and more as we consider the future of maritime cybersecurity. Send all submissions to

Jimmy Drennan is the President of CIMSEC. Contact him at


1. Phishing that targets the most senior stakeholders of organizations through their (1) professional networks/devices, (2) personal networks/devices containing professional information, and (3) families’ home networks/devices, allowing hackers to exploit the information to breach the broader organizational network.