Mar 28 Wed

Melting Ice, Growing Islands: The Law of the Sea in a National Security Context

12:30PM - 05:00PM Washington College of Law YT01-01

Issues related to the Law of the Sea have been topics of much discussion both domestically and around the globe, highlighted by major developments in geopolitical hotspots. In the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the Department of Defense identified the central challenge to US security as “strategic competition” with revisionist powers seeking to implement an authoritarian model, specifically indicating particular concern with Russia and China. Actions by these revisionist powers in the past year indicate that maritime superiority in their respective spheres of influence is central to their long term strategies.

Russian and Chinese interest in the Arctic in recent years has been amplified by ongoing questions of what effect protracted ice melt has on natural resource claims in the region. Russian actions, including the buildup of ice-breakers and planting Russian flags on the arctic seabed, demonstrate a keen interest in the region. Similarly, Chinese ice-breaker production, along with taking a more active role as an observer of the Arctic Council, shows China understands the geostrategic importance of the region. Chinese actions in the South China Sea, from territorial claims over disputed waters, to projects such as the “great wall of sand” in the Spratly Islands, demonstrate a desire by China to exert increasing control over key Southeast Asian trade routes.

This symposium will examine recent developments in the field with the help of subject matter experts from the military, academia, and government. The symposium will consist of two panels, one focusing on issues related to the Arctic Ocean, and one on issues in the South China Sea.

The symposium will be opened with a Keynote Interview of Professor James Kraska by WCL Professor David Hunter and Editor-in-Chief Chris White.

Agenda and speakers will be finalized shortly

Registration is free, but required. To register, please go to
3 CLE Credits will be applied for upon request – registration for CLE is $165

For further information, contact: Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education, 202.274.4075 or


Special Events & Continuing Legal Education

Special Events & CLE



Washington College of Law
4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20016