13 December 2019
Augmenting maritime domain awareness in southeast Asia: Boosting national capabilities in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia
By Peter Chalk
Promoting maritime domain awareness (MDA) has become an increasingly high priority area for many Southeast Asian states. The rising salience of a regional maritime ‘disorder’ that’s increasingly being shaped by the influence of so-called ‘grey area’ phenomena, combined with a growing awareness that these non-state challenges can be dealt with only through a whole-of-government approach, has prompted several regional countries to create multiagency operational fusion centres (FCs) to mitigate these dangers.
Foremost among those initiatives have been the Philippine National Coast Watch Center (NCWC, established in 2012), the Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre (MECC, set up in 2019) and the Indonesian Sea Security Coordination Centre (Baden Keamanan Laut Prebublik Indonesia, BAKAMLA, formed in 2014). While the specific drivers for the creation of these organisations has differed according to the conditional contexts of the three countries concerned, they have all faced a similar set of challenges that has stymied progress in providing a truly coordinated approach to maritime security (MARSEC) threats.