The Convention of the Law of the Sea is again under consideration by the U.S. Senate. If the U.S. finally becomes party to this treaty, it will be a boon for our national security and economic interests. U.S. accession will codify our maritime rights and give us new tools to advance national interests. The convention's primary functions are to define maritime zones, preserve freedom of navigation, allocate resource rights, establish the certainty necessary for various businesses that depend on the sea, and protect the marine environment. Flaws in the treaty regarding deep-seabed mining, which prevented President Ronald Reagan from supporting it, were fixed in 1994. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have supported ratification, as do Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama, because it is in the best interest of our nation. Yet the U.S. remains one of the few major countries not party to the convention. ... The continuing delay of U.S. accession to the convention compromises our nation's authority to exercise our sovereign interest, jeopardizes our national and economic security, and limits our leadership role in international ocean policy. ... Maritime claims not only in the Arctic but throughout the world are becoming more contentious. As aggressive maritime behavior increases, the U.S. military has become more, not less, emphatic on the need to become party to this treaty. Current and past military leaders are firmly behind accession, because while nothing in the convention restricts or prohibits our military activity, it is the best process for resolving disputes. We have been on the sidelines long enough. Now is the time to get on the field and lead.
Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker III, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice have all served as Secretary of State in Republican administrations.