|Senior Military Leaders Oppose LOST|
|News Releases - Military & Veterans News|
|Written by Travis Korson|
|Friday, 15 June 2012 07:58|
Washington, D.C., June 14, 2012- A distinguished group of retired senior U.S. military leaders – who earned between them 33 stars – released a letter voicing strong concerns that ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST) would be detrimental to the national interests of the United States. This letter was sent on the day Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, convened a hearing on LOST featuring six currently serving U.S. military commanders – what he has called his “24-star panel” – who will argue in favor of ratification.
The letter states in part:
“Much is being made at the moment of the support of the U.S. military for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). In your Foreign Relations Committee hearings to date, you have invited testimony from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and six other serving four-star commanders. We wish respectfully to challenge the perception that military personnel uniformly support this accord by expressing our strongly held belief that LOST’s ratification would prove inimical both to the national security interests and sovereignty of the United States.”
The letter goes on to list five reasons why this is the case, including:
The military leaders who have signed this letter are:
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., of the Coalition to Preserve American Sovereignty, said:
“The United States Senate and the American people owe a debt of gratitude to the distinguished signatories of this letter. They have once again answered the call to serve, this time in the form of providing a badly needed military perspective on the national security implications of LOST. With this important input, Senators are on notice that the argument the U.S. military unanimously supports this treaty is unfounded – and no substitute for a critical evaluation of the treaty and other, similarly flawed claims made by the treaty’s proponents.”
Text of the Letter
June 14, 2012
Hon. John Kerry
Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
444 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-0802
Dear Chairman Kerry:
Much is being made at the moment of the support of the U.S. military for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is better known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). In your Foreign Relations Committee hearings to date, you have invited testimony from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and six other serving four-star commanders. We wish respectfully to challenge the perception that military personnel uniformly support this accord by expressing our strongly held belief that LOST’s ratification would prove inimical both to the national security interests and sovereignty of the United States.
This conclusion is ineluctable given five facts about the Law of the Sea Treaty:
One example of how untenable such assurances will prove can be found in the area of anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Of necessity, ASW training to be effective must necessarily replicate actual combat operations and thus involve the periodic use of high-power sonars and explosives. Unfortunately, some assert that these training activities cause harm to ocean wildlife, like dolphins and whales, and have sought to use judicial means to restrict or preclude them.
We must, therefore, recall that, during the Clinton administration, Secretary of State Warren Christopher called LOST “the strongest comprehensive environmental treaty now in existence or likely to emerge for quite some time.” That being the case, the U.S. armed forces must reckon with the prospect that what they consider to be essential and exempted military activities will be treated under LOST as environmental predation very much within the jurisdiction of its Tribunal and arbitration panels. The effect of adverse rulings, especially if enforced by federal judges, could prove devastating to our power projection and other defense capabilities.
For all these reasons (among others), it is our considered professional military judgment that the United States should remain unencumbered by state-party status in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea—free to observe those provisions we chose to and unencumbered by the others. We have demonstrated in the three decades since President Reagan refused to sign LOST that as a non-party great power we can exercise great and essential influence on matters involving the oceans without being relegated to one vote among 160-plus, obliged to abide by the will and whims of a generally hostile majority without the benefit of a veto to protect American national interests. There is no basis for contending that we will be better off if we have a so-called “seat at the table” under such circumstances.
We hope our insights and conclusions will be made part of the record of your Committee’s deliberations on this matter and would welcome an opportunity to participate in such deliberations if that would be helpful to you and your colleagues.
Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, USA (Ret.)
Former Commanding General, U.S. Army Special Forces Command;
Former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence
Adm. Thomas B. Hayward, USN (Ret.)
Former Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. G.E.R. Kinnear II, USN (Ret.)
Former U.S. Member of the NATO Military Committee
Gen. Richard L. Lawson, USAF (Ret.)
Former Deputy Commander-in Chief, Headquarters U.S. European Command
Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, Jr., USN (Ret.)
Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, USAF (Ret.)
Former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, USAF
Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, USN (Ret.)
Former Director of Navy Research, Development Testing and Evaluation
Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., USMC (Ret.)
Former Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps
Adm. Leighton “Snuffy” Smith, USN (Ret.)
Former Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Navy Forces Europe and
NATO Allied Forces Southern Europe
cc: Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
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