U. S. Navy Cmdr. Jonathan Odom has a new OpEd in The Diplomat entitled: “FONOPs to Preserve the Right of Innocent Passage?   Despite popular misconception, that is hardly ‘Mission Impossible.'”

In the OpEd, Odom looks at the U.S. Freedom of Navigation (FON) program and reviews other recent commentaries on the subject especially in relation to “innocent passage.”

According to Odom, it is not an “operational impossibility” (as was asserted by another recent commentator) for a U.S. warship to conduct a FONOP challenging an excessive maritime claim, and to exercise the right of innocent passage simultaneously. To the contrary, if depicted as a Venn diagram, FONOPs and innocent passage would be overlapping circles, not mutually exclusive ones.  In fact, the United States has routinely conducted FONOPs to preserve the right of innocent passage for many years, consistent with applicable international law and longstanding U.S. FON Policy.”

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.