Maintain U.S. national and economic security and leadership in promoting global stability and preserving global navigational freedoms.
The U.S. has always recognized and defended the traditional freedoms of navigation and overflight on and over the world's oceans for military and commercial purposes. Internationally agreed-upon freedoms of navigation key to our ability to import raw materials and export finished products to global markets are essential to our economic security. Freedom of navigation is also essential for national security, enabling the worldwide movement of U.S. military forces and the sealift and airlift needed for their support.
The complex global political/military environment of the post-Cold War era puts a premium on forces that can move quickly anywhere in the world's oceans, including through more than 250 international straits, to provide military presence for diplomatic purposes without infringing on any nation's sovereignty, to project power from the sea, to enforce United Nations sanctions, or to conduct humanitarian operations. In the past decade, there have been twelve U.S. and coalition military operations that were critically dependent on internationally recognized transit rights and high-seas freedoms of navigation. Forward presence of ocean-based military assets supports U.S. intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities, providing a better understanding of developing international tensions and potential threats, deterring hostilities, and promoting global stability and security.
The customary international freedoms of navigation that are critical to economic, national, and international security are codified in the Law of the Sea Convention. Continued exercise of our navigational rights and freedoms is essential to the future strength of our nation and to global stability.
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