Global Commons and Domain Interrelationships: Time for a New Conceptual Framework?   [open pdf - 432KB]

"Over the last several years, examination of U.S. national security interests within the context of the global commons has emerged as a major policy issue in the defense community. At the highest levels of the Department of Defense (DOD), there is now an awareness that the U.S. military will be confronted by a host of challenges 'to stability throughout the global commons.' Furthermore, the Nation can 'expect to be increasingly challenged in securing and maintaining access to the global commons and must also be prepared for operations in unfamiliar conditions and environments.' In response, the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Report has now assigned 'assured access' to the commons as a top priority for U.S. military forces. As defined by DOD, the global commons comprise the geographic and virtual realms of 'space, international waters and airspace, and cyberspace.' They are a subset of the broader maritime, aerospace, and cyber domains, deriving their existence from the notion of areas that are accessible to all but owned by none. The term global commons originated in the civilian sector, where it evolved as a collective label for the areas of 'Antarctica, the high seas and deep seabed minerals, the atmosphere, and space.' The rationale for combining these four physically distinct entities under the rubric of global commons stems from their shared attribute of being 'resource domains to which all nations have legal access.' Unifying them into the higher level construct known as the global commons provides the commercial and legal communities with a methodology for addressing cross-cutting issues among a diverse set of geographies."

Report Number:
Strategic Forum Number 259; SF No. 259
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Defense University Press: http://www.ndu.edu/press/index.html
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