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The four kinds of navigable water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Maritime geography is often discussed in terms of three loosely defined regions: brown water, green water, and blue water.

Definitions[edit]

The elements of maritime geography are loosely defined and their meanings have changed throughout history. The USA's 2010 Naval Operations Concept defines blue water as "the open ocean", green water as "coastal waters, ports and harbors", and brown water as "navigable rivers and their estuaries".[1] Robert Rubel of the US Naval War College includes bays in his definition of brown water,[2] and in the past US military commentators have extended brown water out to 100 nautical miles (190 km) from shore.[3]

During the Cold War, green water denoted those areas of ocean in which naval forces might encounter land-based aircraft and brown water, land-based artillery.[2] The development of long-range bombers with antiship missiles turned most of the oceans to "green" and the term all but disappeared.[2] After the Cold War, US amphibious taskforces were sometimes referred to as the green-water navy, in contrast to the blue-water carrier battlegroups.[4] This distinction disappeared as increasing threats in coastal waters forced the amphibious ships further offshore, delivering assaults by helicopter and tiltrotor from over the horizon. This prompted the development of ships designed to operate in such waters - the Zumwalt class destroyer and the littoral combat ships. Rubel has proposed redefining green water as those areas of ocean which are too dangerous for high-value units, requiring offensive power to be dispersed into smaller vessels such as submarines that can use stealth and other characteristics to survive.[2] Under his scheme brown water would be zones in which ocean-going units could not operate at all, including rivers, minefields, straits and other choke points.[2]

Regions[edit]

Brown water[edit]

The brown water environment starts from the shoreline through to the end of the continental shelf.

A "brown-water navy" focuses on coastal operations and primarily takes a defensive role.

Green water[edit]

The green water environment extends from the outer edge of the brown-water layer past any continental shelves, archipelagos and islands; perhaps a few hundred miles from shore. It is the most important maritime arena, including most coastal traffic and territorial waters, in which are found the great majority of a nation’s maritime police, customs, environmental, and economic concerns.

A "green-water navy" is capable of defense of its nation in depth and is a significant offensive force within its territory.

Blue water[edit]

The blue water environment extends from the outer edge of the green-water zone through to the deep ocean of the world.

A "blue-water navy" can project its nation's power throughout the world. The blue water policy was a long-standing political philosophy in Britain in the eighteenth century, which sought to advance British power through use of the Royal Navy, although the term "blue water" did not appear until 1834.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Naval Operations Concept 2010 - Implementing the Maritime Strategy" (pdf). US Naval Service. p. 16. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Rubel, Robert C. (Autumn 2010), "Talking About Sea Control", Naval War College Review 63 (4): 44–46 
  3. ^ Burkitt, Laurie; Scobell, Andrew; Wortzel, Larry M. (July 2003). "The Lessons of History : The Chinese People's Liberation Army at 75" (pdf). Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College. p. 185. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Gillespie, T.C.; Lesher, S.M.; Miner, P.D.; Cyr, B.P. (23 March 1992), Composite Warfare and The Amphibians (pdf), Marine Corps University, pp. 9–24, retrieved 7 May 2012 
  5. ^ Shorter OED

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritime_geography — Please support Wikipedia.
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the Diplomat
Mon, 02 Sep 2013 03:46:53 -0700

Maritime Geography: The Foundation of American Power. “That oceangoing behemoths can reach inland metropolises is a reminder of how geography has blessed North America.” James-R-Holmes_q. By James R. Holmes for The Diplomat. September 02 ...
 
Lawfare (blog)
Sun, 14 Dec 2014 10:56:15 -0800

The premise of this project will be familiar to many of you: maritime competition in Asia has been steadily increasing in recent years, and doing so in an environment of informational opacity. Maritime geography makes it difficult to monitor events at ...

Forbes

Forbes
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:30:00 -0700

Located west of Istanbul, on the European side of the country, the Thrace region benefits from its proximity to Istanbul's population as well as its pivotal maritime geography: the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Aegean Sea all border and ...

The Diplomat

The Diplomat
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 22:47:15 -0700

As a natural consequence of the maritime geography and complex array of security challenges within, naval modernization programs in Southeast Asia have always been characterized by the quest for a balanced set of capabilities. They not only reflect ...
 
The Diplomat
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 04:15:22 -0800

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Daily Beast

Daily Beast
Sat, 08 Nov 2014 03:47:35 -0800

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the Diplomat

the Diplomat
Fri, 13 Jun 2014 05:58:38 -0700

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thebahamasweekly.com
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