Strategic Chokepoints and Littorals Week Kicks Off on CIMSEC

By Dmitry Filipoff

CIMSEC received a tremendous response to our call for articles on strategic chokepoints and littorals, issued in partnership with U.S. Marine Corps University’s Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity, and as a part of Project Trident. Because of the high volume of excellent submissions received, this topic week will be extended through June 12. 

The authors took insightful and creative approaches toward exploring the significance of strategic chokepoints and littorals. One major theme is that chokepoints, usually thought of as fixed areas, are becoming more flexible in definition and function. Whether it be new chokepoints emerging in the Arctic as the ice thaws, or more abstract chokepoints flowing from gaps in operational concepts, it is clear that the nature of the chokepoint itself is evolving. What remains consistent is that the final value of influencing chokepoints and littorals is not defined by simply controlling adjacent geography, but whether economic and military access is ultimately preserved and sustained.

Another critical theme the authors point to is how great power competition is affecting the role of chokepoints and littorals. Chokepoints and littorals have often been considered as an arena for mainly competing against non-state actors or third-rate states in the developing world. But with great power competition on the rise, chokepoints and littorals are emerging as the front line in potential battlegrounds. Authors looked at the role of new technology and warfighting concepts in contesting chokepoints and littorals in great power conflict, especially through the lens of emerging constructs such as U.S. Marine Corps’ stand-in forces and expeditionary advanced bases.

Below is the lineup of articles featuring during the topic week, which will be updated as more publications are finalized.

Sea Control 180 – Narrow Seas: The Black Sea with Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges (ret.) by Jared Samuelson
Let Me Get this Strait: The Turkish Straits Question Revisited” by Paul Pryce
The Assumption of Access in the Western Pacific” by Elee Wakim and Blake Herzinger
Mine the Littorals and Chokepoints: Mine Warfare in Support of Sea Control” by Major Brian Kerg, USMC
There are no Strategic Chokepoints” by Captain Jamie McGrath, USN (ret.)
An Emerging Strategic Geometry – Thawing Chokepoints and Littorals in the Arctic” by Robert C. Rasmussen
The Strategic Littoral Geography of Southeast Asia” by Pete McPhail, Arthur Speyer, Bret Rodgers, Steve Ostrosky, Jesse Burns, and Dan Marquis
Chiseled in Space: Temporary, Non-Geographic Chokepoints in the Battle of the Atlantic” by Heather Venable
Thinking Like a Pirate: Contesting Southeast Asia’s Chokepoints” by Drake Long
Sea Control 181 – The ‘Amphibious’ 8th in the Pacific War” with Jared Samuelson, Major General Pat Donahoe, and Don Chisholm
Sink ‘Em All: Envisioning Marine Corps Maritime Interdiction” by Dustin League and Dan Justice
Seeing the World Through Points” by Captain H. Clifton Hamilton, USMC
Guarding the Gates: Is International Naval Control of the Bab Al Mandeb Feasible?” by Elizabeth White
Developing Security in a White Water World: Preparing for the Arctic” by Ian Birdwell
Does Tomorrow Ever Truly Die?” by Capt. John Holmes, USMC
Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations and Mine Warfare in Littoral Control” by Mark Howard

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

Featured Image: The Strait of Taiwan, located between the coast of southeast China and Taiwan. (Gallo Images/Getty Images)

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