Asserting the freedom of navigation: Does the US go too far?

November 30, 2015

Freedom of navigation operational assertions (FONAs) are assertive operations carried out mainly by the U.S. Navy when other nations impose what the U.S. considers excessive restrictions on the freedom of navigation anywhere in the world. Sent by the Pentagon through naval ships or aircrafts, FONAs demonstrate that the U.S. will not accept such restrictions and it is only in special areas that they require higher approval. In a new article in Armed Forces & Society, researcher Amitai Etzioni discusses the dual nature of FONAs; while they are an important component of the liberal international order and essential to U.S. national security, they are also assertive in nature, overly used, and can easily escalate into dangerous clashes between nations. Indeed, the targets of these operations include not only less friendly nations such as China and Russia but also close allies such as Canada.

Through a four-part analysis of the U.S. use of FONAs, Etzioni finds that FONAs operate on a limited budget and personnel and are therefore less visible to the public and less subject to scrutiny. However, he concludes that FONAs should be a last-resort option instead of a first-step in an attempt to police navigation.

"The United states is a major naval power compared to other nations that either do not have much of a navy or rely much more on their land forces; hence, on the face of it, the unencumbered right to move forces about the seas advantages the United States," the researcher wrote. "However, it does not follow that military assertions are the preferred way to ensure this freedom, especially as the first step to counter what the Unites States views as excessive restrictions. Instead, moves such as operational assertions should serve as a fallback option should diplomatic steps and multilateral steps fail."
Find out more by reading the full article "Freedom of Navigation Assertions: The United States as the World's Policeman," available free for a limited time here:


Related National Security Articles from Brightsurf:

Men less likely to see food as national security issue amid pandemic
On average, men not only showed less empathy toward temporary agricultural laborers but also were less likely to see food supply and production as national security issues, according to a study led by a Washington State University researcher.

National trash: Reducing waste produced in US national parks
When you think of national parks, you might picture the vast plateaus of the Grand Canyon, the intricate wetlands of the Everglades, or the inspiring viewscapes of the Grand Tetons.

UBC study: Publicizing a firm's security levels may strengthen security over time
New research from the UBC Sauder School of Business has quantified the security levels of more than 1,200 Pan-Asian companies in order to determine whether increased awareness of one's security levels leads to improved defense levels against cybercrime.

3-D printing of weapons threatens security on global, national and personal level
A new RAND Corporation paper suggests additive manufacturing could benefit military adversaries, violent extremists and even street criminals, who could produce their own weapons for use and sale.

National Academies review of the draft Fourth National Climate Assessment
The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to review the draft Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) -- a congressionally mandated report that evaluates the state of climate science and the broad range of impacts of climate change in the United States every four years - and the draft Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2) - a report that feeds into the overall assessment process developed by USGCRP.

Morgridge, UW scientists explore national security implications of gene editing
A trio of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research participated in an international think tank this month on the intersection of genome editing technology and national security.

Installing solar to combat national security risks in the power grid
Power grid vulnerabilities are one of the most prevalent national security threats.

Bring your own (security) disaster
Bring your own device (BYOD) to work is common practice these days.

Blurring of national security interests & global health agendas are an unavoidable reality
Society must align the overlapping priorities and often clashing interests of medical intelligence, national security agendas and the global health community, according to global health advocates writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Steve Elgar named National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow
Steve Elgar, a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been selected as a 2016 National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow by the Department of Defense.

Read More: National Security News and National Security Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to