In his new book The War for Muddy Waters: Pirates, Terrorists, Traffickers, and Maritime Security
(Naval Institute Press, 2019), Joshua Tallis
uses the “broken windows” theory of policing to reexamine the littorals, developing a multidimensional view of the maritime threat environment. With a foundational case study of the Caribbean, Tallis explores the connections between the narcotics trade, trafficking, money laundering, and weak institutions. He finds that networks are leveraged for multiple streams of illicit activity, but enforcement efforts sometimes only focus on a single threat. Additionally, Tallis compares these findings in two comparative case studies in the Gulf of Guinea and the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. Hybrid threats emerge as a theme in these case studies, marked by the fusion of criminality and terrorism and conventional and unconventional tactics. Ultimately, Tallis recommends actors in the maritime environment evaluate threats in this multidimensional context and collaborate with communities to achieve overarching strategic objectives.
Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner. You can tweet her @bethwindisch.