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Understanding the Anti-Access and Area Denial Threat: An Army Perspective

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,21 May 2015

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The US Department of Defense has designated newly developed technologies with increased range and lethality, designed to prevent opposing forces from maneuvering to or within an operational area, as anti-access and area denial threats. These threats represent one of the most significant challenges to US military superiority and could potentially threaten US interests abroad if the US does not take steps to balance those threats with new strategies. Understanding the capabilities referred to by the anti-access and area denial labels, and the ways potential adversaries may employ those capabilities, provides the first key to mitigating their presence, deterring their use, and defeating them in combat if necessary. Development of AirSea Battle by the US Air Force and US Navy, coupled with the application of capabilities as outlined by existing joint doctrine, may provide a way to accomplish the imperative set forth in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance to project power despite anti-access and area denial challenges. Additionally, operational level planners must consider a critical review of joint doctrine with respect to the new and emerging threats posed by increasingly sophisticated anti-access and area denial weapons, as well as how to integrate the ideas presented by the AirSea Battle concept into existing or newly developed joint doctrine. In the resource-constrained era of the near future, the joint force will require efficient solutions to difficult problems such as the one caused by anti-access and area denial weapons. The Army must recognize its role in overcoming these threats and the implications they will have on the way the Army operates as part of the joint force. Finally, the Army, in coordination with the other services, must organize and train to defeat anti-access and area denial threats both to strategically deter anti-access and area denial capabilities from being used against them, and in anticipation of defeating them.

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