Department of Defense Report to Congress: Annual Freedom of Navigation Report, Fiscal Year 2021   [open pdf - 403KB]

From the Document: "Formally established in 1979, the Freedom of Navigation (FON) Program consists of complementary diplomatic and operational efforts to safeguard lawful commerce and the global mobility of U.S. forces. The Department of State (DOS) protests excessive maritime claims, advocating for adherence to international law, while the Department of Defense (DoD) exercises the United States' maritime rights and freedoms by conducting operational challenges against excessive maritime claims. In combination, these efforts help preserve for all States the legal balance of interests established in customary international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. [...] DoD's operational challenges are also known as 'FON assertions,' 'FON operations,' and 'FONOPs.' The regular and routine execution of these operations supports the longstanding U.S. national interest in freedom of the seas worldwide. [...] This report illustrates that U.S. FONOPs challenge a wide variety of excessive maritime claims made by allies, partners, and competitors. They are not focused on any particular excessive claimant, and they are not executed in response to current events. Rather, their purpose is to reinforce international law peacefully and in a principled, unbiased manner. A number of like-minded U.S. allies and partners continue to voice strong public support for the Law of the Sea Convention as the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. Moreover, many nations continue to comment favorably on the United States' peaceful vigilance of excessive maritime claims. The United States invites these and other nations to conduct their own freedom of navigation operations and to publicly--and peacefully--contest excessive maritime claims."

Report Number:
Department of Defense, 1-F88C38D
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy: https://policy.defense.gov/
Media Type:
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