While the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere are poised to become major energy producers over the next decade, the shift in global energy production from the Middle East to the Americas will be gradual and stability in the Persian Gulf will remain import to U.S. energy security.
A U.S. Air Force C-130 equipped with a Modular Airborne Firefighting System drops fire retardant to help combat the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs that has burned more than 18,500 acres and displaced more than 30,000 people in the area. U.S. Northern Command has also used its immediate response authorities to provide bulldozers, military fire trucks and soldiers to cut fire breaks.
In our 2010 study, Broadening Horizons: Climate Change and the U.S. Armed Forces, we noted that the Department of Defense may be called on to respond to more frequent and intense wildfires as a consequence of climate-related drought and temperature rise, including in vulnerable areas in the United States.
Photo: Courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher and the U.S. Air Force.
The U.S. Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy conducted trilateral exercises in the East China Sea on June 21, 2012. According to the U.S. Navy, the exercises are intended “to improve interoperability, readiness and the capability to respond quickly to various situations in the region, ranging from disaster relief to maritime security activities.”
Like the neighboring South China Sea, the East China Sea is prone to territorial disputes, including competing claims from China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.
Photo: Courtesy of Lieutenant Commander Denver Applehans and the U.S. Navy.
Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing with top military officials to discuss the national security benefits of ratifying the Law of the Sea Convention. The panel of top military officials – referred to as the “24 star” military witnesses, with four Admirals and two Generals – voiced strong support for ratifying the convention.
The presence of several U.S. Geographic Combatant Commanders reinforced the message that the Law of the Sea Convention enables the U.S. military to safeguard U.S. interests in important maritime domains, such as the South China Sea and the Arctic.
From left to right: Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command; General William M. Fraser, III, Commander of U.S. Transportation Command; Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations; Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard; and General Charles H. Jacoby, Jr., Commander of U.S. Northern Command.
Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store on a tour of an Arctic research vessel while visiting Tromso, Norway on June 2, 2012. “The world increasingly looks to the North," Secreatry Clinton told reporters following the two-hour tour. “Our goal is certainly to promote peaceful cooperation,” she added.
Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. State Department
The United States is participating in an annual bilateral exercise in Southeast Asia, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, intended to build the capacity of partners to respond to a range of challenges, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and other missions critical to the region. In this photo, Indonesian Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts complete a tour of the guided missile frigate USS Vandegrift and USCGC Waesche in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Photo: Courtesy of Chief Mass Communication Specialist Aaron Glover and the Department of Defense.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the national security and strategic rationale for ratifying the Law of the Sea Convention. (See their full remarks here.)
The hearing was the first of three planned ones, according to reports. The other hearings – not yet scheduled – will include high-ranking military officials building on the national security message and representatives from the business community making the economic case for ratifying the convention.
Photo: Courtesy of the Department of Defense.
On Wednesday, several of us from CNAS had an opportunity to visit the Coast Guard’s 154ft Bernard C. Webber Fast Response Cutter (FRC), the first of the newest Sentinel class FRCs that are slated to replace the aging 110ft Island Class cutters. This new variant will serve to fill an endurance gap in the Coast Guard’s current patrol boat fleet by being able to perform near the coast or to deploy up to five days out at sea to conduct its missions. The missions set is diverse and includes marine environmental protection, fishery patrols, search and rescue, as well as law enforcement functions, such drug, arms and illegal migrant interdiction.
One of the key differences between the 110ft and 154ft Fast Response Cutters is the time and effort to deploy the small boats from the cutters, which is really a core function of the FRC – that is, deploying a boarding crew to perform the missions listed above. Whereas a 110ft cutter has to deploy the small boat from the deck of the cutter using a crane and many members of the crew, the 154ft cutter employs a stern-launching system where the small boat sits in a well at the stern of the ship and can be deployed by a single crew member if necessary. What is more, where the 110s took up to 20 minutes to deploy the small boats, the 154s are capable of doing it in less than a minute. This will save lives when the cutter is deployed in a search and rescue mission at sea or after a severe storm near the coast.
Special thanks to our Coast Guard Fellow Commander Shannon Gilreath for arranging this awesome visit.
Photo: The Coast Guard Cutter Bernard C. Webber off the coast of Miami in February 2012. Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.
On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta joined Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey and Senators John Warner and Chuck Hagel in a forum on the Law of the Sea Convention hosted by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Atlantic Council. Secretary Panetta urged the U.S. Senate to ratify the Law of the Sea Convention in order to protect U.S. security interests. “Treaty law remains the firmest legal foundation upon which to base our global presence, on, above, and below the seas,” Secretary Panetta said, adding “How can we argue that other nations must abide by international rules, when we haven’t officially accepted those rules.”
To learn more about the national security rationale for ratifying the Law of the Sea Convention, see our recent study Security at Sea.
Photo: Secretary Panetta addresses the audience of the Forum on the Law of the Sea on Wednesday, May 9, 2010. Courtesy of Glenn Fawcett and the Department of Defense.
There has been a lot of activity in the South China Sea recently, and if you’re like me it is difficult to keep track of it all. Well luckily you don’t have to! Our Asia-Pacific Security team is doing it for you. That’s right: checkout our Flashpoints feature, an online web portal for those studying security in the East and South China Seas, for the latest developments in the region. I particularly recommend the timeline feature.
Also, if you didn’t already seen it, don’t miss Patrick Cronin’s op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday where he puts the latest Philippine-China Scarborough Shoal scuffle in perspective and recommends how U.S. policymakers should think about engaging in the region.
Photo: Courtesy of CNAS.org.