The equation is simple: Effective maritime interdiction = framework + assets + surveillance + intelligence. Having an effective maritime-interdiction capability is a core national-security interest. Given the interconnectivity of the global supply chain, all nations are sustained and enriched by overseas trade within which illicit trafficking often hides in plain sight. Since its founding in 1790, the U.S. Coast Guard has been effectively conducting high-seas maritime interdiction, a seminal mission that has continued to evolve.
To support that capability, the need for investment in ships, maritime-patrol aircraft, and intelligence is reasonably well understood. However, few comprehend the maritime-interdiction framework. To most, it seemingly serves only a very narrow interest. Since the national-security value of maritime interdiction is not always apparent, it is helpful to consider it in a broader context. The maritime cocaine-interdiction framework is a useful case study in this regard.