U.S. critical security interests are continually harmed by its non party status to UNCLOS
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If one were to travel back in time and inform the high-level members of the eighteen agency National Security Council Interagency Task Force which formulated United States oceans policy under Presidents Nixon and Ford during the principal formative Convention process – an effort never matched before or since in the care with which it reviewed United States international oceans interests – that the Convention today in force, powerfully meeting all United States oceans interests, would not yet be in force for the United States nine years after being submitted to the Senate, the news would have been received with incredulity. As this suggests, the Congress should understand that United States oceans interests, including our critical security interests, are being injured – and will continue to be injured – until the United States ratifies the Convention. Among other costs of non-adherence we have missed out in the development of rules for the International Law of the Sea Tribunal and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, and in ongoing consideration of cases before the Tribunal as well as ongoing consideration of the Russian continental shelf claim now before the Continental Shelf Commission; we have had reduced effect in the ongoing struggle to protect navigational freedom and our security interests against unilateral illegal claims; and we have been unable to participate in the decisions of the meetings of States Parties. These are not just my conclusions. They are the conclusions of every Chief of Naval Operations and every Secretary of State who has considered these issues and of all the law of the sea experts I work with on a continuing basis.
U.S. failure to ratify UNCLOS has damaged U.S. national security and economic growth by forclosing valuable opportunities, increasing the costs for military operations, and crippling U.S. maritime leadership as our adversaries become more aggressive.