Holding the Dragon at Bay: the Role of the Air Sea Battle (ASB) Concept in Preventing Chinese Military Domination of the Western Pacific Region
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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China has risen to a position of economic and political importance in the Western Pacific Region over past two decades. Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, the Peoples Liberation Army PLA has re-organized and modernized its military forces and in particular its anti-accessarea denial A2AD capabilities. As a result the A2AD environment in the Western Pacific Region is much larger and more lethal than U.S. forces have faced in the past. Now that China is a nuclear power, any response to conflict with China must considered in the context that it could escalate to nuclear war. This paper utilized the evaluation framework to address the question of whether or not the Air Sea Battle ASB Concept is a viable answer to Chinese aggression in the Western Pacific Region. The ASB Concept was evaluated against three criteria addressing ASB as it relates to freedom of action and access, ASB in the context of PLA A2AD capability, and ASB in relation to providing escalation options without substantial risk of a nuclear conflict. Analysis indicates that ASB alone is not a viable answer and an adversary specific strategy of Offshore Control tailored to conflict with China is needed. ASB can still be useful in establishing an Offshore Control strategy by informing U.S. military force structure, training, integration, networking, and collaboration across all five domains of warfare, but in the context of conflict with China in the Western Pacific Region.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics