By CNN National Security Producer Mike Mount
TheUnited Statesmust secure its rights for rare minerals and oil under the ocean before countries such asChinabegin to infringe on the country’s territorial rights, according to the nation’s top diplomat andU.S.military leaders.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey urged a Senate panel Wednesday to sign onto a long-opposed international sea treaty that they say will also strengthen the nation’s ability to apply military sea power.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations committee in a rare appearance together, the three leaders called on the Senate panel to pass the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas because it was a, “matter of utmost security and economic urgency.”
The treaty would give the U.S.a 200-mile exclusive economic zone off of its coastlines as well as access to mineral and other natural resource rights within that area but allows other signatories the right of transit within the economic zone.
The panel, led by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), led a mostly bipartisan supported group of senators in favor of signing onto the treaty which has been relatively ignored by theUnited Statessince 1994. More than 160 nations are signed onto the treaty; theU.S.is the only major nation that has not signed it.
Fresh concerns that thousands of highly portable anti-aircraft missiles may be missing in Libya are prompting a new call to protect American jetliners from attack.
The fears that terrorists may have access to the Libyan missiles are revving up a decades-long debate over the vulnerability of American jetliners.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, wants to outfit hundreds of wide-body airliners with technology to protect the planes from terrorist attack. On Tuesday, she sent a letter asking the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to establish a joint program to evaluate anti-missile devices and work toward their deployment.
"The risk to commercial aircraft posed by shoulder-fired missiles has long been acknowledged by the national security community," Boxer said in her letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "Recent reporting of unaccounted for missiles in Libya is yet another reminder of this threat." FULL POST