19 April 2012

The Maritime Strategy of the United States: Implications for Indo-Pacific Sea Lanes

John F. Bradford, “The Maritime Strategy of the United States: Implications for Indo-Pacific Sea Lanes,” Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia 33.2 (2011): 183–208.

The maintenance of safe and secure sea lanes, particularly those that link the United States with its partners in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, is at the very core of US interests. Therefore, US maritime strategy seeks to sustain credible combat power in the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf/Indian Ocean so as to preclude attempts at interrupting vital sea lines of communication (SLOCs) and commerce. Given these strategic imperatives and the capability of both state and non-state actors to disrupt the Indo-Pacific sea lanes critical to global prosperity, the United States has renewed its commitment to maritime security in Asia. In recent years, the United States has made significant adjustments to its defence posture in order to bring more maritime forces closer to Indo-Pacific sea lanes and defence officials have stated their intention to further enhance US posture in Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean while maintaining US presence in Northeast Asia. Recognizing that the expansive nature of Indo-Pacific maritime territory and the complexity of the region’s maritime challenges prevent any one country from resourcing the operations necessary to provide sea lane security, the United States is also strengthening cooperation with its maritime partners by expanding relationships and trust-building efforts, contributing to the capacity of its partners and enhancing interoperability. At the same time, the United States is supporting the strengthening of maritime symposiums and regional organizations as the foundations for the security architectures necessary to ensure the security of Indo-Pacific sea lanes and sustain regional prosperity. …

For details on one of the works cited, see Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Nan Li, eds., China, the United States, and 21st Century Sea Power: Defining a Maritime Security Partnership (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010).