Ratifying UNCLOS enhances U.S.national security by improving its ability to challenge excessive claims
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The time has now come for the United States to become party to this vital convention and regain its leadership position in ocean policy affairs. One benefit: Becoming a party to UNCLOS would greatly enhance homeland security. In his , former Commission on Ocean Policy, called the convention “the foundation of public order of the oceans.” "" U.S. military forces, including Coast Guard units, rely heavily on the many critical freedoms of navigation, over- flight, and operational principles codified in the convention. Under the current legal regime, the United States is not guaranteed such rights. While there is a strong argument that transit passage and archipelagic sea lanes passage have become established rights under customary international law, not all agree.
For example, the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose terri- torial waters overlap the shipping lanes in the critical Strait of Hormuz (through which much of the world’s oil passes) contends that only states that are party to UNCLOS are entitled to the full rights of transit passage.8 Moreover, neither of these critical navigational rights exists under any of the 1958 Geneva Conventions on the Law of the Sea, to which the United States continues to be bound. Becoming a party to the 1982 convention will supersede our obligations under the 1958 conventions and will ensure the entire range and ex- tent of our critical mobility rights in all the ocean waters of the world.