interests in treaty ratification, as
well as how it could strengthen
overall national security, in stark
contrast to opponents of accession
on the exact same issues.
On hand were representatives of
the American Petroleum Institute,
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
Level 3 Communications and Lockheed Martin Corp., in addition to
speakers from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and
the Center for New American
Security, and speakers shared messages by both sides of the argument.
Business leaders who comprised
the first panel of the day, “How
Ratification Will enhance and Protect
America’s Commercial and Economic Opportunities,” spoke of urgency in terms of economic interests.
The subsequent panel examined
more widely the regulatory, military,
foreign policy and national security
arguments for and against the treaty.
A theme across both panels, and underscored by the
day’s keynote speakers, was the notion that the economic
strength achieved by joining the Convention would bolster national security and maintain U.S. dominance.
“Aside from the compelling practical benefits, ratification now represents an unprecedented opportunity,”
Dempsey said. “First, the Convention offers an opportunity to exercise global security leadership. Over 160
nations are party to it, including every Arctic nation
and permanent U.N. Security Council member. Even
so, the world looks to us for leadership.
“We have the world’s largest and most capable Navy,
the world’s largest economy and the largest Exclusive
Economic Zone [EEZ]. We will become the leader
within the Convention as soon as we enter it, and that’s
never been more important,” he said.
Representing corporations and commercial interest
groups, a handful of panelists presented a range of scenarios illustrating the economic opportunities at stake.
Arguing that accession to Law of the Sea is long overdue, the panelists’ remarks reflected how members of
industry are adding pressure on Capitol Hill this year for
joining the convention in order to legally ensure U.S.
rights to sponsor companies and gain equal opportunities for claims to gas, oil and deep seabed minerals.
Jennifer Warren, vice president, technology policy
and regulation at Lockheed Martin, discussed the company’s history and interest in deep seabed exploration,
which dates back more than 40 years. She said it has
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., left, speaks with Secretary of Defense Leon
E. Panetta at the Forum on the Law of the Sea held at the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel May 9.
straits. After objections were raised in 1982 by then-President Ronald Reagan and other maritime allies of
the United States regarding certain provisions in Part XI
of the Convention related to deep seabed mining and
technology transfer, subsequent negotiations led to an
agreement in 1994 to modify Part XI to address these
objections. While the United States signed the agreement, it remains the only NATO nation aside from
Turkey that has not acceded to the Convention.
In 2004 and 2007, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of accession to the Convention, but
on both occasions, it was not followed by a vote of the
full Senate. Under Senate rules, a treaty that is voted out
of committee favorably but not voted upon by the full
Senate is returned to the committee at the end of that
two-year session of Congress.
This year, Congress is scheduled to be in session
through the first week of August, and observers on Capitol Hill speculate that there is an opportunity in June
or July, and, possibly, during the lame-duck session following November elections, for a vote. Once on the
Senate floor, it would require 67 votes in favor for the
Senate to provide its advice and consent to the president
as required by the Constitution so that he can accede to
the convention on behalf of the United States.
Central themes within the day-long forum underscored the message that the sovereignty campaign aims
to impart, and speakers discussed an array of topics that
revolved around America’s commercial and economic