Using 1202 Authorities to Counter China’s Maritime Militia

War on the Rocks – As the People’s Republic of China expands claims within the South China Sea, the United States should work with partners to find a way to deter further expansion while avoiding escalatory actions that could spark conflict. To do so, the United States government should leverage Section 1202 of the National Defense Authorization Act. This section allows for the United States military to create, develop, train, and maintain partner relationships with irregular maritime forces from across the region. By working with partners, the United States empowers regional nations to defend their respective interests against the encroachment of China while reducing the need for American naval forces to be the sole ever-present bulwarks in the region.