The Limits and Implications of the Air-Sea Battle Concept: A Japanese Perspective

Masahiro Matsumura


To cope with China’s rapid military buildup in the maritime East Asian theatre, the U.S. has shown forth a rudimentary operational “Air-Sea Battle” concept that aims to produce qualitative advantage through the joint use of air and naval power. It emulates after the “Air-Land Battle” concept that was designed to outdo the quantitative advantage of Soviet military power in the continental European theatre. This paper will first discuss on China’s emerging military strategy characterized by “Anti-Access and Aria-Denial” (A2AD), in the context of its evolving grand and defense strategies. Then it will analyze the limits and implications of the Air-Sea Battle vis-à-vis China’s A2AD, with a focus on their political and strategic dimensions that are hardly factored in the current debate. The study will present a policy proposal for the U.S., Japan, and Taiwan according to optimistic, realistic, and pessimistic scenarios.

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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.