Paul D. Taylor

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In September 2005, fifty-five chiefs of navies and coast guards, along with twenty-seven war college presidents from around the world gathered in Newport for the Seventeenth International Seapower Symposium. We shared perspectives on a broad range of issues important to the global maritime community and individual countries through the mechanism of regionally oriented seminars (eight of them). The two days produced comprehensive lists of key concerns from each region, the similarity of which was remarkable.

As the symposium drew to a close, a consensus was articulated that maritime security was fundamental to address these concerns, that the scope of security challenges reached beyond the waters of individual nations, and most importantly, that the responsibilities in the maritime domain—the great “commons” of the world—were shared. Moreover, the need was expressed for regional and global mechanisms that allowed maritime nations to more routinely and effectively bring their particular capabilities together to ensure a free and secure maritime domain. The host of the ISS, Admiral Mike Mullen, summarized the key proposition of the symposium: “Because today’s challenges are global in nature, we must be collective in our response. We are bound together in our dependence on the seas and in our need for security of the vast commons. This is a requisite for national security, global stability, and economic prosperity.”