US freedom of navigation rights are a critical component of our global leadership
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Beyond this leadership role, vital and immediate core strategic U.S. interests hinge on accession. This has been articulated in congressional testimony by the nation’s mil- itary leadership—from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff down—and especially by successive Chiefs of Naval Operations. For example, Admiral Mike Mullen in written testimony before his confirmation hearings stated: The ability of military forces to operate freely on, over, and above the vast military maneuver space of the oceans is critical to our national security interests, the military in general and the Navy in particular. Your Navy’s—and your military’s—ability to operate freely across the vast domain of the world’s oceans in peace and in war make possible the unfettered projection of American influence and power. The military basis for support of the Law of the Sea Convention is broad because it codifies fundamen- tal benefits important to our operating forces as they train and fight.
Indeed, global commerce, travel, and information have greatly contributed to the growing wealth of nations and to the stability of the post-Cold War international system. The world's seas, air, space, and-more recently- cyberspace also play critical roles in states' national defense and their ability to conduct military operations worldwide. The United States relies on freedom to operate in the commons in order to protect the U.S. homeland and its vital national interests.