The Value of the Freedom of the Seas

28 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2017

Date Written: July 01, 2013


As nations determine how to best balance their use of scarce national resources in today’s complex, interconnected and sometimes troubled global economy, it is vitally important that they make the correct security and economic decisions for their citizens and national economic, political and social institutions and interests. Decisions made today to husband national resources will have follow-on repercussions on the future stream of those very same resources. It is costly to invest in naval and military capability; in the long run, it may also be costlier not to. This paper will define the freedom of the high seas and why these freedoms are important to a nation’s security, diplomatic, social and economic goals. While it may not be possible to reduce the value of naval and supporting military capability and infrastructure required to ensure these goals are met to concrete transactional costs and benefits; objective and subjective benefits will be hypothesized – economic, diplomatic, political, and military value. It will explore the need for strategic alliances between nations as each determines the price it is able or willing to pay for a maritime force to safeguard those goals. Finally, it will make strategic recommendations on how to best protect those freedoms.

Keywords: Freedom of the Seas, Naval Strategy, Maritime Security, Maritime Strategy, Law of the Sea

Suggested Citation

Combes, William, The Value of the Freedom of the Seas (July 01, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

William Combes (Contact Author)

Baltic Defence College ( email )


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