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Sources Of Evolution Of The Japan Air Self Defense Force's Strategy

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The Japan Air Self-Defense Forces JASDF activities, training, and weapons after the first decade of this century seem to deviate from the exclusively defense-oriented policy. This thesis investigates what is driving the evolution of JASDFs strategy behind this behavior and what is the most influential driver of that evolving strategy. This thesis first examines the JASDFs strategic changes in terms of ends, ways,and means, and assesses these changes through the concepts of defensive defense and offensive defense to illuminate the JASDFs strategy. Then, this thesis analyzes four possible drivers of the JASDFs strategic evolution the Peoples Liberation Armys PLA air power, the North Korean threat, the conservative swing of Japanese domestic politics, and the offensive nature of the air strategy. This thesis argues that the JASDFs strategy has evolved from the defensive defense strategy to the offensive defense strategy after the early 2000s. In addition, even though the evolution of the JASDFs strategy is a combined result of the four independent variables, the strongest driver is the modernization of the PLAs air power. Therefore, the improvement of the relationship between Japan and China is the most important factor in curtailing an arms race in Northeast Asia.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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