This paper explores the possibility of South China Sea claimants and regional countries playing an active role in developing measures to prevent untoward incidents involving government (including naval and maritime law enforcement) and non-government vessels while political negotiations take place with respect to the proposed Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China. It argues that such a comprehensive incident prevention and mitigation plan must be multidimensional and multilevel in its approach, cascading from the political, strategic, operational, to tactical levels. This study breaks down into three main sections. The first examines the framing of the existing Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and its expansion as well as any new prevention and mitigation initiatives. The center of gravity and theory of success for CUES must be at operational and tactical levels, this paper highlights, while also proposing that CUES should be expanded to include sub-surface and aerial- based actions as other potential triggers for unplanned encounters and unintended escalations at sea. The end-state calls for a comprehensive CUES in light of the multidimensional nature of the SCS maritime landscape. The second section of this paper assesses the prospects for an expanded CUES, focusing on maritime law enforcement and irregular forces. It examines the viability of expanding this mechanism through what this paper terms as “Phased” and “Blanket” Approaches, which is dependent on the regional political climate. The third, final section raises two proposals at the strategic level, and six proposals pegged at the operational and tactical levels of planning and activity to build on and enhance the existing slate of such mechanisms as CUES to promote navigational safety and risk reduction in regional waters.
About the Authors
Dr Graham Ong-Webb is Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. He is attached to the International Political Economy Programme within the School and the Military Studies Programme at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. His main research interests include security issues and the political economy of the Asia Pacific; and Singapore’s national security strategy and national resilience initiatives against the threat of global terrorism.
Graham has published in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Journal of International Studies, Indo-Pacific Strategic Review, Jane’s Intelligence Review, and World Defence Systems. His commentaries on global and regional security issues have appeared in The Straits Times, The Nation, The Jakarta Post, The World Today (Chatham House, London), and The Diplomat.
In terms of private sector experience, Graham was previously a Senior Consultant at the Control Risks Group, and Managing Editor at the Jane’s Information Group (now Jane’s by IHS Markit). In terms of teaching and research experience, Graham has held positions at the Joint Services Command and Staff College (Royal Defence Academy, U.K.); the Centre for Science and Security Studies (King’s College London); the Centre of Excellence for National Security, RSIS; the National University of Singapore; the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies – Yusof Ishak Institute; and SIM University.
Graham was educated at the National University of Singapore and the London School of Economics, and earned his doctorate from King’s College London on a Commonwealth Scholarship.
Dr Swee Lean Collin Koh is a Research Fellow at the Maritime Security Programme, part of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies which is a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). He is especially interested in researching on naval affairs in the Indo-Pacific, focusing on Southeast Asia in particular, and generally issues related to naval technologies, naval modernisation, naval arms control and the offence-defence theory. Collin also taught at the Military Studies Programme and taught various professional military education and training courses with the Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute. Prior to joining the Maritime Security Programme, Collin worked at the Military Studies Programme (2010-2014) and the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (2008-2010), both also at RSIS.
Bernard Miranda joined the Singapore Armed Forces in 1979 as a conscript and subsequently joined the Republic of Singapore Navy as a regular after a year. He holds a Master Degree in Education (Leadership, Policy and Change) from Monash University (Australia) and a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management from the Singapore Institute of Management. He served in the Singapore Armed Forces from 26 Dec 1979 to 22 Sep 2011. He retired from active service upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 50 and was re-engaged as a Defence Executive Officer to become the first Director of the National Maritime Operations Group (NMOG) – Singapore Maritime Crisis Centre.
A Naval Officer by profession, he has specialised in Training and Curriculum Development (SAFTI and Naval Officers Advanced School), Communications (ISOAC, U.K.), Electronic Warfare (IEW, UK), Amphibious Warfare (ISOAP, USA) and Combined Forces Maritime Component Commander Flag Officers Course (CFMCC) (Hawaii, USA). He was invited by the US Naval War College to conduct lectures and exercises for the CFMCC for EUROPE
COMMAND in Naples Italy, CENTCOM Bahrain and twice at the PACIFIC COMMAND in Hawaii after his successful Command of Combined task Force 151 in the Gulf of Aden.
In July 2015, Bernard left the RSN and after a short sabbatical joined the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) as an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the Maritime Security Programme. He also joined the Ministry of Trade and Industry as a Division Director in Oct 2015 and was made concurrent CIO in Aug 2016.
Conflict and Stability / East Asia and Asia Pacific / International Politics and Security / Maritime Security / Regionalism and Multilateralism / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 15/08/2017