Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Blackwaters for the Blue Waters: The Promise of Private Naval Companies

Blackwaters for the Blue Waters: The Promise of Private Naval Companies

In September 2005, the then U.S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Michael Mullen, introduced the concept of a ‘‘1,000-ship Navy.’’1 This transnational network of regional navies, shipping companies, and law enforcement agencies would unite behind common causes, in particular, countering highseas and coastal threats such as piracy, international smuggling, and interdicting potential terrorist activity. The ad hoc collection of bilateral, regional, and global efforts would fluctuate based on ever-changing threats and challenges and might include both formal agreements and informal understandings. This noble concept of enhancing capability through cooperative security is based on assuming common goals and goodwill where national navies pursue their respective states’ security and collective navies pursue more constabulary roles.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Department of the Navy or the U.S. Department of Defense. The author thanks the following individuals for their assistance: Admiral William Crowe, USN (Ret); Captain J. Talbot Manvel, USN (Ret); Robert Kaplan, Stanley Weeks, Donald Henry, Stephen Wrage, Mike Mendenhall and Stephen Brooks.