International Law Studies


The validity of intrusive intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations in the maritime and air domains depends on the location from which the operation is conducted. Intrusive ISR conducted beyond the territorial sea and national airspace is considered an internationally lawful use of the sea that is not subject to coastal State jurisdiction or interference. Efforts by a handful of States to regulate ISR operations in and over the exclusive economic zone are clearly inconsistent with a plain reading of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Convention on International Civil Aviation (and their negotiating histories), customary international law, long-standing State practice, and deliberations before the UN Security Council and the International Civil Aviation Organization.