The future of maritime power-or sea power, to use its more traditional titledoes not lie exclusively upon the sea. It lies, to a great extent, beyond the sea. Or, rather, it should lie beyond the sea. That is because maritime power/sea
power, properly understood, is as much an abstract concept as it is a concrete reality. But it is an abstract concept with tremendous effects. This concept is very evident in the works of its primary articulator of the previous turn of the century, Alfred Thayer Mahan. It is also evident in the trends that define the start of our new, recent century. In the pre-9/11 dialogue, these trends were often summarized in the term
globalization. Yet, globalization is certainly not a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been a constant throughout history, one that has been largely shaped by sea power-either in its practical form of maritime commerce, or through its inspiration of strategies to utilize the realms of communications and access that humans cannot normally inhabit. Arguably, the historical drivers of globalization have been the human ability to navigate across the vast oceans and ever greater efficiencies in oceanic transport. (Moran 2002, pp. 221-229; Tangredi 2002b, pp. 2-6) Conceptually, the future of sea power is about two different endeavours:
(1) mastery of the maritime realm, and (2) the projection of the concepts and culture of the maritime realm into maritime-like fluid environments, such as space and cyberspace, so that these environments can be mastered in turn. Practically, sea power has always been about the security and/or denial of
access-access to materials, markets, communications, exchange and international influence. Of course the immediate future and the far future may be two different things.
To understand both futures of maritime power/sea power, one must first understand both concept and practice.