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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" (PDF), 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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68 news items

The National Interest Online

The National Interest Online
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:27:16 -0800

The Western Pacific “island chains” are a persistent feature of Asia's maritime geography. While their underlying fundaments remain constant, their specific strategic importance has evolved over time. Different major powers have thus interpreted, then ...

the Diplomat

the Diplomat
Mon, 02 Sep 2013 03:46:53 -0700

Maritime Geography: The Foundation of American Power. Image Credit: Wikicommons. Maritime Geography: The Foundation of American Power. “That oceangoing behemoths can reach inland metropolises is a reminder of how geography has blessed North ...

The Diplomat

The Diplomat
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 05:19:39 -0800

Highlighting India's unique maritime geography with a central location in the IOR, the authors deem it obligatory for New Delhi to play a strong security role in the region. In this, they underscore the need to protect Indian and regional interests ...

The Wire

Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 03:03:45 -0800

Highlighting India's unique maritime geography with a central location in the IOR, the authors deem it obligatory for New Delhi to play a strong security role in the region. In this, they underscore the need to protect Indian and regional interests ...

War on the Rocks

War on the Rocks
Wed, 04 Nov 2015 00:09:04 -0800

Any open conflict with China is likely to be long and painful. But there is a built-in asymmetry with respect to the strategic positions held by the two nations. China is the disadvantaged partner in terms of trade volumes, maritime geography, alliance ...

The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 02:56:15 -0700

Worse for China, its naval power projection capability is limited, and the maritime geography is strategically unfavorable. The first and second island chains contrain China, putting it in a position where all of its maritime trade must pass through ...

Diplomatic Courier

Diplomatic Courier
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 14:18:45 -0800

As an archipelagic nation, its maritime geography is a defining feature of the Philippines. As President Benigno Aquino III opened the Philippines Chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Summit (APEC) summit for 2015, he emphasized the importance ...

Ceylon Daily News

Ceylon Daily News
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:15:00 -0700

“Combined this with our maritime geography, I strongly believe that we can develop the maritime economy into a hub status with the help of the stakeholders of the industry.” “ The sector need more contribution for the national GDP of the country which ...
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