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Conflict and Cooperation in the Global Commons

A Comprehensive Approach for International Security

Scott Jasper, Editor

Publication Year: 2012

More than ever, international security and economic prosperity depend upon safe access to the shared domains that make up the global commons: maritime, air, space, and cyberspace. Together these domains serve as essential conduits through which international commerce, communication, and governance prosper. However, the global commons are congested, contested, and competitive. In the January 2012 defense strategic guidance, the United States confirmed its commitment “to continue to lead global efforts with capable allies and partners to assure access to and use of the global commons, both by strengthening international norms of responsible behavior and by maintaining relevant and interoperable military capabilities.”

In the face of persistent threats, some hybrid in nature, and their consequences, Conflict and Cooperation in the Global Commons provides a forum where contributors identify ways to strengthen and maintain responsible use of the global commons. The result is a comprehensive approach that will enhance, align, and unify commercial industry, civil agency, and military perspectives and actions.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii

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Foreword: Contested Superiority in the Commons

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pp. ix-xii

The United States has a long- standing interest in protecting access to the global commons. Since the founding of the Republic, the US military has safeguarded American lives and trade abroad. Military power not only has provided security and prosperity for the nation, it also has protected international...

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pp. xiii

This volume was inspired by the escalating impact of widespread threats to the global commons. In exchanges with US and international students at the Naval Postgraduate School, I have come to realize that they and their compatriots will be committed in harm’s way at some point in the defense of our...


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pp. xv-xvii

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Introduction: A Comprehensive Approach

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pp. 1-19

National security and economic prosperity depend on safeguarding the global commons, which are the “domains or areas that no one state controls but on which all rely.” The global commons comprise four domains: maritime, air, space, and cyber. The maritime and air domains are international oceans and skies that...


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1. Problems in Collective Action

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pp. 23-39

Soft and hard power are intrinsically tied to the measured use of global public goods that exist in the global commons. Diplomatic power relies heavily on unfettered access to airspace through which national interests are promoted by governments, to oceans in which the balance of power is enforced in accordance...

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2. The Character of Conflict

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pp. 41-53

The nature of conflict is enduring. It can be violent, often uncontrollable, and unpredictable. Moreover, it has evolved over the centuries because of various factors. Adversaries, be they state or nonstate actors, meet new challenges by adopting the weaponry and tactics at hand. Lessons are learned after each...

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3. Strategies of Deterrence

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pp. 55-67

In early 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke to cadets at the US Military Academy and the US Air Force Academy as part of a farewell tour during which he sought to engage a future generation of officers on the requirements of a twenty-first-century military. He warned them not to view the world...


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4. The Maritime Commons and Military Power

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pp. 71-87

Oceans and the airspace above them were the first internationally recognized global commons and the model for analyzing the emerging space and cyberspace domains. The role of the commons in developing and facilitating international trade is indisputable. Mitigating security threats to the maritime...

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5. Coercive Aerospace Campaigns

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pp. 89-104

Aerospace power is the key to gaining strategic advantages in any theater by the application of military force via platforms either operating in or passing through air and space. Control of the skies is a critical enabler in dominating the earth’s surface and a major determinant of victory. Air superiority provides...

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6. Aggression in Cyberspace

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pp. 105-119

Computer intrusions and attacks have become methods for aggression. The frequency of incidents coupled with their implications has driven the Pentagon to formally recognize cyberspace as a domain for military activities for the purposes of organizing, training, equipping, and when directed, operating...


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7. Building Collaborative Capacity for Maritime Security

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pp. 123-139

The introduction to this book argues that maintaining access, safety, and security in the global commons requires cooperation by diverse organizations. It proposes a comprehensive approach to identify interests and establish policies, incentives, and mechanisms for cooperative behavior. A similar...

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8. Assuring Joint Operational Access

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pp. 141-153

The doctrine of joint operational access— getting forward, staying forward, and operating along secured lines of communication— is as expensive as it is critical. Since World War II joint operational access has generated profound strategic, operational, and tactical advantages for the United States and...

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9. Shaping the Outer Space and Cyberspace Environments

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pp. 155-170

The international security environment is uncertain, dynamic, complex, and dangerous. This is due in part to the emergence of outer space and cyberspace as new arenas of competition and conflict. In the twenty-first century the United States and its allies must be able to deter and, if necessary, to fight and...


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10. Maritime Security Consortiums

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pp. 173-183

The ocean covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface. The ability to traverse, exploit, and share this vast expanse is crucial to the security and prosperity of every nation around the world. The maritime domain is essential to global mobility and trade and is an abundant source of vital resources, from...

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11. Cyber Security Social Contract

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pp. 185-198

The strategic importance of cyberspace networks and the absence of the preparedness measures to deal with cyber threats against them are recognized by both civil and military constituencies. The unfettered use of the other domains— air, sea, and space— largely depends on cyber systems for their...


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12. Setting Norms for Activities in Space

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pp. 201-214

Space is a very demanding domain in which to operate, even when nations choose not to impose barriers to each other’s success. Space can easily become a chaotic domain as more countries, national enterprises, international consortiums, and nongovernmental entities with contesting agendas seek...

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13. Establishing Rules for Cyber Security

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pp. 215-232

The comparison of cyberspace to the high seas, civil aviation, and viral diseases has generated a debate on the applicability of their regulation to the cyber domain. A group of nations led by Russia and China is calling for a new regulatory approach to the cyber domain. This debate has advanced...

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Conclusion: Avoiding Conflict and Facilitating Cooperation

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pp. 233-247

This volume brings together both security precedents and best practices to guide strategies and partnerships for responsible and sustainable use of the global commons. Despite the imperative to respond to nefarious threats to security and prosperity, considerable debate persists regarding the most effective...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 249-251


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pp. 253-256


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pp. 257-260

E-ISBN-13: 9781589019232
E-ISBN-10: 1589019237
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589019225
Print-ISBN-10: 1589019229

Page Count: 280
Illustrations: 2 maps, 5 figures, 1 table
Publication Year: 2012