A May Proceedings article by Under Secretary of the Navy Robert O. Work on the salience of maritime forces in the global era should be taken seriously by all sea-power advocates. However, lessons from recent conflicts suggest that this period will be a “naval century” for insurgents as well as nation-states.1 The long Sri Lankan Civil War, which began in 1983 and lasted until 2009, provides numerous examples of how the insurgent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) effectively operated in the maritime domain. Both government and insurgent maritime forces played key roles during the course of the war, and future combatants are well advised to examine the operations of those adversaries as they contemplate actions either to subvert or maintain the current world order.
The Coming Maritime Insurgent Century
Lessons learned from the Sri Lankan Civil War suggest a growth industry for future Sea Tiger–type operators.
By Paul A. Povlock