Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


For the last decade, the United States has been engaged in "Freedom of Navigation" exercises with ships and aircraft in sea areas of disputed jurisdiction. At times these exercises have evoked armed responses from the nations concerned. What has been the purpose of these precipitous activities on the part of the u.S.? What is the legal basis for this activity, and has it served the interests of the international community or the United States? This paper will examine the elements of international law pertaining to disputes rising from territorial sea claims and their impact on passage and overflight. It will review some of the historic disputes that persist today, namely the Gulf of Sidra and the Black Sea, and examine the actions the interested parties have taken. In summation, an assessment will be made regarding the benefits and disadvantages of such actions. Is there a better method for conflict resolution in this area or has the program been a success?