Maritime security is a global concern, which has sparked interest in numerous stakeholders. The maritime domain, which enshrines all the surrounding areas of a sea or ocean, as well as people, vessels, and cargo, is of complex nature due to its size. While the maritime domain facilitates the movement and flow of goods, it is subject to disruption and exploitation by people, organizations, and nations. Individuals and organizations against the United States have continuously shown the desire to exploit the state’s maritime domain. Therefore, the U.S. has a responsibility to protect its waters and all related activities against any harm from terrorists, criminals, and other unlawful tendencies. The National Security Presidential Directive/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (NSPD/HSPD) enables the U.S. to enhance security by protecting the maritime domain.
The National Security Presidential Directive/Homeland Security Presidential Directive ensures that the National Strategy for Maritime Security is achieved. The U.S. coordinates and cooperates with international and non-governmental organizations to deliver unmatched security for the maritime domain (II Policy 2). The maritime domain has been plagued by major issue like piracy particularly on the Somalia border. There have been numerous attacks on shipping vessels where pirates have swindled million of dollars in ransom to release hostages (U.S. Department of State). Such activities have undermined the delivery of critical humanitarian aid to various countries including Somalia. Such threats required the U.S. to enhance international efforts for maritime security. The ability to protect its people, property, economy, territory, friends, and allies will enable the U.S. to reap the benefits of a stable global economy. NSPD/HSPD protects the maritime domain interests through the following ways.
- Preventing terrorism, crime, and all other unlawful activities in the maritime domain
- Heightening the country’s national security and homeland security by preventing exploitation of U.S. population centers, borders, critical infrastructures, ports, harbors, and coasts (II Policy 3).
- Enhancing the response and recovery processes from attacks the maritime domain
- Optimizing security awareness in the maritime domain in support of the U.S. forces and to improve security actions by the U.S. government to curb potential threats.
- Enhancing international relationships and facilitating integration of U.S. allies and non-governmental and international organizations in order to develop security frameworks that work towards protecting the maritime domain.
- Overseeing seamless, coordinated implementation of policies and bodies at the federal level for the security interests of the maritime domain.
Importantly, these actions are conducted in a manner that boosts global commerce and adheres to the freedom of the seas for other activities like the legitimate commercial and military operations as well as other activities that are consistent with the constitution (II Policy 3). U.S. Law of the Sea (LOS) provides the states the navigation and overflight freedoms on a worldwide scale. (U.S. Department of State).
There are eight policy actions developed in support of the National Strategy for Maritime Security. These include the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Global Maritime Intelligence Integration, Domestic Outreach, Coordination of International Efforts and International Outreach, Maritime Threat Response, Infrastructure Recovery, Maritime Transportation System Security, and Maritime Commerce Security (II Policy 5). This directive does not affect the operation of the existing authorities of the department and agency heads. The NSPD/HSPD directive strictly aims at boosting the internal management processes by the executive branch (U.S. Department of State).
II Policy. National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-41/Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-13. FAS. 21 Dec, 2004. https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd41.pdf. 19 Sep, 2018
U.S. Department of State. Maritime Security and Innovation. U.S. Department of State. Diplomacy in Action. 20 Jan, 2017. https://2009-2017.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/opa/maritimesecurity/