Small Wars Journal

Air Sea Battle: Concept, Cover or a Charge of the Light Brigade in Waiting?

Air Sea Battle: Concept, Cover or a Charge of the Light Brigade in Waiting? By Harlan Ullman, United Press International

The Air-Sea Battle concept is the subject of a two-day conference held at UK Defence Academy, Shrivenham, England, the home of Britain's center for military education and teaching.

The Air-Sea Battle was the product of both U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy thinking. It has since evolved into a major and controversial construct for projecting force through air and missile power using both land and sea based systems. The stated intent was to use this concept as a means for evaluating the strengths, weaknesses and gaps of the joint air-naval force in order to coordinate these capabilities better and serve as a future blueprint for technological development.

But the concept became caught up in the Obama administration's "strategic pivot" to Asia. As a result, few outside the Pentagon now believe that Air-Sea Battle was anything but an unsubtle message to China that the U.S. would use military force in the Pacific as a counter weight to China's military expansion. In military lingo, the threat was defined as an "anti-access, area denial capability" directed against American power…

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