Increasingly, the U.S. is becoming involved in conflicts that post indirect threats to our national security through regional destabilization. While maritime interdiction is not a panacea, it does provide many worthwhile benefits to the CINC as a viable tool to deal with crises in the "gray area" between peace and war. Three historical case studies are analyzed to determine the factors which the CINC should consider before recommending maritime interdiction as a course of action. The interdependence of this strategy's application and the target nation's characteristics are also examined. Nation size, government and cultural type, dependence upon international trade, geography and military status combine to affect the target nation's vulnerability. A critical parameter is the degree of international support. The maritime interdiction force should be closely tailored to the particular interdiction situation. Air support and defensive planning are essential elements of force structuring.