While biological weapons are banned under both the law of armed conflict and the Biological Weapons Convention, what about SynBio weapons that defy the classic “biological” label?
James Kraska is Chair and Charles H. Stockton Professor of International Maritime Law in the Stockton Center for International Law at the U.S. Naval War College, where he is a tenured full professor. He is also a Visiting Professor of Law and John Harvey Gregory Lecturer on World Organization at Harvard Law School, where he teaches International Law of the Sea. He is also Distinguished Fellow at the Law of the Sea Institute, University of California Berkeley School of Law, a Permanent Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and U.S. representative to the International Group of Experts for the San Remo Manual on the Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, produced by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Kraska is Editor-in-Chief of "Benedict on Admiralty: International Maritime Law" and co-author of the forthcoming, "Emerging Technology and the Law of the Sea" (Oxford University Press).
Subscribe to this Lawfare contributor via RSS.
Reuters reports that on May 24 the guided missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105) transited within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef, a feature in the South China Sea occupied by China.
On January 11, Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson testified in his hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that perhaps the United States should deny China access to its artificial islands in the South China Sea. Tillerson is correct that in recent years the United States has forgotten basic lessons of deterrence when it comes to China and the South China Sea.
On December 16 a Chinese warship snatched a U.S. underwater drone literally from under the eyes of the crew of a U.S. survey ship. The USNS Bowditch is an unarmed naval oceanographic vessel that was recovering two underwater drones in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ), about 50 miles northwest of Subic Bay.
The recent Philippine-China Arbitration Award determined that China’s construction of artificial islands, installations and structures on Mischief Reef, Subi Reef, and Hughes Reef were unlawful interference with the Philippines’ exclusive sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the seabed of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.
As part of the September 2015 fanfare visit by Xi Xinping to the United States, the United States and China signed an arrangement on rules of behavior for safety of air-to-air encounters of military aircraft. The deal is supposed to avert aviation incidents in international airspace between military aircraft of the United States and China. In a deadly 2001 incident, for example, a Chinese F-8 fighter jet interceptor collided with a U.S.
It has been apparent for several years that the navies in the Asia-Pacific are on the greatest submarine development and acquisition spree since before World War II. Most states that operate submarines plan to expand their force, including Japan from 16 to 22 boats; Australia from 8 to 12, and China, from about 60 now to more than 70 by 2020.