Center for Strategic Communication

LOST no more

By BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.), CEO of ASP


George Will’s opinion article “the LOST sinkhole” published on June 23 discussed, rather disparagingly, what he considered the deficiencies of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOTS) & Convention. This piece is a key example of partisan politics invading and crippling the national security needs of our country.  Not only was Will’s misrepresentation of the treaty worrisome, but additionally, the innuendo that our senior military leaders mislead Congress because “the civilian leadership” wanted them to was, at best, unfair.

On June 14, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee heard from “24 stars” — some of our senior-most military leaders— who specifically stated that their testimony was based on the Armed Forces’ internal national security recommendations. They were not (and have never been) instructed to kowtow to some “party line.”

The facts of the Law of the Sea as it would apply to the military simply cannot be overlooked any longer: this is a treaty that bolsters military strength holistically. As General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argues: “Under the Law of the Sea Convention we can be both strong through our physical presence [and] with force when necessary, and smart [by leveraging] law to mitigate the need for physical assertion.”

Why not choose to avoid the use of force where we can? Amidst all this partisan cross-fire can we not at least identify this one point of commonality and agree to keep our brave men and women in uniform out of needless harm’s way?

General Charles H. Jacoby Jr., Commander of U.S. Northern Command and Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command both testified about the changing nature of law and order on the high seas.

With the developments in accessibility to the natural treasure trove of resources in the Arctic and the ever-shifting political climate in the South China Sea, these military leaders speak for “nearly two decades of military leaders” in supporting US ratification of a convention that would ensure an essential legal framework for the expansion of US sovereignty and national interests.

Take a look at our “Separating Fact from Fiction” information sheet below.

It is time to take partisan politics out of this debate – national security is not a Republican or Democrat cause. We should listen to the advice of our military commanders, and stand up, as all Americans should, for our national security.


Law of the Sea – Separating Fact From Fiction