America's Pacific Air-Sea Battle Vision
Image Credit: U.S. Air Force

America's Pacific Air-Sea Battle Vision


In the late summer of 2011, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta signed the Air-Sea Battle (ASB) operational concept into effect, and shortly thereafter stood up the Air-Sea Battle Office at the Pentagon to help implement its core tenets.

This effort, according toGen. Norton A. Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, will help the services better organize, train, and equip themselves to provide U.S. Combatant Commanders with the capabilities necessary to maintain operational access in sophisticated anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) environments. This will be of particular importance in the western Pacific Ocean, where China is building its own A2/AD capabilities in an effort to deny the U.S. entry in its near-seas.

For Air-Sea Battle to be successful and enduring, however, Congress must forge a partnership with the Pentagon to properly support its requirements going forward.

Throughout the last six decades, America’s military strength has helped preserve a relatively stable geo-strategic environment in the Asia-Pacific. However, in the past decade China has rapidly modernized its military, including another double digit military increase next year, with aspirations of supplanting the U.S. position. If present trends continue, the regional balance of power could tilt in Beijing’s favor as it is increasingly able to deter U.S. forces from entering the region, coerce neighboring states, or – should conflict ensue – win a rapid victory. In response, the United States must work to simultaneously sustain a level of credible deterrence in the region while reassuring allies, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and strategic partners like Singapore. Air-Sea Battle is now at the center of this effort.

In short, the Air-Sea Battle Office aims to define initiatives to develop the capabilities and integration necessary to help Combatant Commanders conduct integrated, cross-domain operations in A2/AD environments. According to Schwartz and Greenert, Air-Sea Battle seeks to use “Networked, Integrated Attack-in-Depth” to “disrupt, destroy, and defeat” (NIA-D3) adversary capabilities. More specifically, the joint force (integrated air, ground, and naval forces) armed with resilient communications (networked) aims to strike at multiple nodes of an enemy’s system (attack-in-depth) along three lines of effort. If we can consider these lines in terms of an enemy archer, one could choose to blind the archer (disrupt), kill the archer (destroy), or stop his arrow (defeat). Balanced capabilities geared towards executing all three will be required.

Secretary Panetta testified before the U.S. House Armed Service Committee in October that he believed “Congress must be a full partner in our efforts to protect the country.” Indeed, like Air-Land Battle during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the success of Air-Sea Battle will hinge on the support of the Congress.

In the late 1970s, advances in Soviet military capabilities prompted U.S. war planners to develop a joint warfighting doctrine known as Air-Land Battle that aimed to sustain a credible military balance in Europe. This doctrine focused on developing capabilities and maximizing the joint effectiveness of the two services to deter Soviet aggression and prevent coercion of Western European states. After Air-Land Battle was finalized in early 1980s, the Army worked to build a consensus around the effort, first within the department and then with members of Congress through a series of briefings. These briefings described the doctrine and the weapons coming into production that would be the basis of this major doctrinal transition. Throughout the late 1970s and into the 1980s, Congress supported this effort by funding programs like the M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley team of ground combat vehicles, the Multiple-Launch Rocket System (MLRS), attack helicopters like the AH-64A Apache, and Air Force assets like the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Falcon, among others. Ultimately, Air-Land Battle and the concepts found in Field Manual 100-5 reinforced deterrence in the European theater during the Cold War and influenced the training and operational planning that led to success during the 1991 Gulf War.

While the Navy and Air Force have fashioned the Air-Sea Battle concept, established a new office to shepherd this effort, and advocated for the resources necessary to support its implementation, it will be up to Congress to authorize and provide the requisite funding for this initiative. Congress should begin by rejecting an “instant pudding” mindset that looks only at current problems while failing to adequately plan and then provide resources for long-term endeavors like Air-Sea Battle. Endless continuing resolutions, defense cuts contained in the Budget Control Act of 2011, and the “sequestration” process that essentially gambled away our defense budget for political purposes are all signs of a budgeting process that is ill-prepared for properly resourcing the Nation’s long-term defense. Indeed, the overarching Joint Operational Access Concept(JOAC), of which Air-Sea Battle serves as one key pillar, warns that one of the major threats to its implementation is that it could be “economically unsupportable in an era of constrained Defense budgets.”


[...] U.S. Air-Sea Battle Concept is an example. It seeks to counter anti-access and area denial strategies and capabilities that [...]

major lowen gil marquez
March 19, 2013 at 07:15

The AirSea battle concept of the US Armed forces will be process into the US Doctrine its application will be better to apply it in the military execise at the WESTERN PHILIPPINE SEA, This exercise in the Scarborough shoal and Spratley Island shows a great effect of real scenario, Malaysia, South Korea, Brunei, Vietnamand Taiwan willbetter if they will be a participants in the said doctrine exercise to have a mutual cooperation on this Nations in order to create a trust, confidence and cooperation both on economic, political and socio cultural environment towards the common good of the free world, specially the South East Asian Nations, AirSea Battle will be the best in all expeditionary forces with the team work of the said mention countryies aboved, After the AirSea battle exercise, it is an imperative to shift to AirLand Battle in order to have a continuing doctinal exercise so that it will create a total accomplishment of full expectrum scenario exercise that will fully accomplished the complete doctrinal concept of achieving peace in every region in the four corners of the world and protect our self from the dictatorial fascist regime like the chinese communist…


[...] more importantly, rules of engagement are inherently political.  Civilian leaders, and their politically attuned senior military [...]

[...] than strategist, has not propounded meaningfully, or at length, about Air-Sea Battle. But he has made clear that the “pivot”-and endorsement of Air Force and Navy budget predominance based on ASB [...]

January 25, 2013 at 17:13

[...] Churchill’s strategic rationale is instructive, particularly for leaders in Washington, D.C., who advocate a U.S. military buildup in the [...]

January 24, 2013 at 00:39

It looks like Forbes simply tacked his name on the latest press release from Lockheed/Boeing/Raytheon.  A good little corporate scutboy, like practically all of the Congress.  

But leave aside the lust for profit, which is so obvious in Forbes' banal and idiotic and completely predictable emission.  There's a deeper question here:  Just why do Americans need to have yet another enemy?  How do most Americans — MOST Americans, not the frauds and tapeworms inhabiting the Beltway and corporate suites — benefit from antagonizing a billion Chinese.  There is absolutely no fundamental reason why China and America cannot coexist amicably, and many reasons why they must, in the world we inhabit now.

If there's an enemy here, it's self-dealing little quislings like Forbes.  He would have Americans spend another two or three generations wasting immense wealth and talent over "threats" that he and scutboys like him have fabricated and hyped.  His actions are NOT those of a patriot, or even a middling public employee.  Ridicule and shunning are the proper responses to his kind.

[...] than strategist, has not propounded meaningfully, or at length, about Air-Sea Battle. But he has made clear that the “pivot”-and endorsement of Air Force and Navy budget predominance based on [...]

[...] than strategist, has not propounded meaningfully, or at length, about Air-Sea Battle. But he has made clear that the “pivot”—and endorsement of Air Force and Navy budget predominance based on ASB [...]

Lauren Garza
August 3, 2012 at 01:49

I take it that Newport and Hampton Roads navel bases are in this congressmans district. Why is it that every four years some perceived threat from overseas suddenly pops up.

Mike Hwang
March 24, 2012 at 13:49

The US can call it military strategy any name. Ultimately it means the same thing.The US has overwhelming military superiority over China. It can destroy China many times over.
The Chinese aint going to be like the PLA of 1996 or further back in the Korea war ,Taiwan crises of the 50s and deep in history the opium war. To refresh :in the opium war the Ching dynasty decadent and oblivious to the weapons employed by the estern powers were trampled and beijing set ablaze.During the Korea war US had virtual air superiority and could have annihlated the PLA .In 1996, US carriers could have parked in in the Taiwan Straits and rained tomahawk after tomahawk without fear of retaliation by PLA forces.
2012 is adifferent scenario.Granted the US can eliminate the PLA nuclear threat to the US but it going to be easy.For the 1st time ,US forces and CONUS will be subjected to reataliation by PLA wreaking enormous and unacceptable damage.
As time goes on with the PLA upgrading, the level of destruction and damage will increase many times.
Inwords the US says it is not containing China. But its actions prove otherwise. As we know .Stalin and Hitler sign anon aggression treaty.We know what happened.
The PLA like the scout: Be prepared.

March 17, 2012 at 06:44

until i can refute your words…in a free speech way…
as “the diplomat” will not let me say…to you what i have to say..
well, i do not really “have my say”.

I have even emailed the diplomat after a few days…no answer…so it seems to me. that they print …..what they want to print.

if they even print this…well…means crapola…because..i spent hours researching…in the name of peace…and goodwill…and
they did not print my words.

i believe any censorship…is crapola. PERIOD.

i type “anything”…and it says a “moderator” has to read it first…

which, i have a little respect for…but…

“Please note, no comments that include abusive or inflammatory remarks
aimed at writers or other commenters will be accepted.”
-which i did not do.

i have made “no comments that include abusive or inflammatory remarks
aimed at writers or other commenters”.

so, even if i follow the “house” rules…i am in “crapola”…

so please …again…i humbly..and gently…and peacefully…ask…for an explanation…Oh’ ‘Diplomat”.

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