The War for Muddy Waters

"Pirates, Terrorists, Traffickers, and Maritime Insecurity"

Hardcover $7.79
Book: Cover Type


Historically, operations and studies regarding maritime security focus on individual threats (e.g., piracy, terrorism, narcotics, etc.) and individual measures to target them (e.g., counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics). This book explores, for the first time, an overall strategy for maritime security, integrating these issues into a single framework.

Tallis argues that as maritime security threats rise in sophistication, it will be increasingly appealing to apply military resources to counter them. Military tactics, however, may not be the ideal mechanisms for addressing challenges that are often closer to crime than they are to war. Leveraging the sea services’ capabilities, without overly militarizing maritime security, is a complicated problem set that requires a more strategic and partner-oriented approach to the challenge. At stake, in Tallis’ estimation, is the war for tomorrow’s most important communities, their human security, and the muddy waters on which they and the global system rely.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"In an age where 'maritime security' has become a catch-all term in parts of the policy world, Tallis provides an outstanding addition to the literature. His forward-looking study bridges the worlds of naval strategy and policing/criminology. The novelty of the argument makes this a book for policy-makers and theorists alike." —Dr. Sebastian Bruns, Head of the Center for Maritime Strategy and Security, Institute for Security Policy University of Kiel, Author of US Naval Strategy and National Security: The Evolution of American Maritime Power and editor of the Routledge Handbook of Naval Strategy and Security
"In his highly relevant and groundbreaking work, Joshua Tallis highlights the perils of transnational threats expanding from the teeming littorals and margins of U.S. strategic attention and advances a brilliant and much needed theoretical framework that policymakers and strategists will find indispensable in understanding the challenges of this maritime operating environment, a confusing and complex context where crime and war overlap and intertwine as to be indistinguishable." —Peter D. Haynes, author of Toward a New Maritime Strategy: American Naval Thinking in the Post-Cold War Era
"Urban slums house a significant slice of humanity. Such slums are frequently littoral environments that navies shun and criminals thrive in - muddied waters, in all senses. On this sprawling security challenge, Josh Tallis offers us both limpid prose and fresh insight. A highly valuable study, and a strikingly original one." —Dr. Timothy Wilson, Director of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism & Political Violence, University of St Andrews
"Maritime crimes continue to pose a significant contemporary security challenge. In building a productive bridge between criminology and security studies, this book provides a key resource for revisiting the responses to maritime insecurity. In the thorough analysis, we learn how to draw on policing experience and why prevention is the key." —Christian Bueger, professor of international relations, University of Copenhagen
”Tallis sets out a convincing case…. This book is topical. As we approach forward basing of OPVs and T31e, it should inform the preparation of any estimate that focuses on littoral maritime security. Readers bound for such operations would find it particularly interesting, while those setting out the navy’s case for enduring forward presence may find it useful.” —The Naval Review
“What makes The War for Muddy Waters an invaluable addition to collections on modern piracy is that Tallis uses a different approach to examine and address dangers that navies and nations face today and in the future. Since pirates and terrorists have access to modern technologies and tend to think outside normal parameters to achieve their goals, it makes sense that those who study maritime security issues and devise strategies to address these issues should do so as well.” —Pirates and Privateers
The War for Muddy Waters will expose the reader to the broader but equally relevant world of maritime security beyond limited naval issues.” —CIMSEC
“Joshua Tallis promises a discussion of maritime insecurity in littoral regions, and he delivers.” —Journal of Advanced Military Studies
"...Tal­lis brings valuable insights on human security to the maritime domain and encourages a paradigm shift in how to envision security within it. Readers interested in maritime strategy, human security, and the vital re­lationship between the two will greatly profit from reading it." — Marine Corps History