Coast Guards: New Forces for Regional Order and Security


Sam Bateman

Asia Pacific Issues, No. 65


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: January 2003
Binding: paper
Pages: 8
Free Download: PDF


The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) created new maritime law and extended maritime jurisdiction that were expected to justify naval expansion. To some extent this has been so, but another trend is also apparent. Regional navies are concentrating on war-fighting capabilities while existing coast guards are being expanded and some countries are establishing coast guards for the first time. The protection of offshore areas and resources is a central element of national security for most regional countries and an important consideration in nation building and governance. Coast Guards are emerging as important national institutions in Asia and the Pacific with the potential to make a major contribution to regional order and security. This development reflects a concern for cooperative and comprehensive security and will facilitate regional maritime cooperation and confidence building. It is a positive factor for regional order and security and may constitute a revolution in maritime strategic thinking.