Strategic Developments In The Western Pacific: Anti-Access/Area Denial And The Airsea Battle Concept


  • Kyle D. Christensen DRDC CORA


This article offers an initial review and assessment of the US 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review’s direction to the US Air Force and Navy to develop an AirSea Battle concept for defeating adversaries equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. The article contends that the development of these A2/AD systems, particularly by China in the Western Pacific, could become an operational challenge to the freedom of action of military forces in the region. This will require being able to maintain, and if necessary, re-establish freedom of action in the Western Pacific.

The article begins by assessing the strategic context of China’s A2/AD strategy. It then goes on to describe in greater detail the AirSea Battle concept as a response to A2/AD strategies. Finally, it assesses the AirSea Battle concept’s utility from a coalition perspective. The article highlights a requirement for increased anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations, research on underwater superiority, and the creation of a Centre for Advanced Underwater Warfare Excellence (CAUWWE).

Author Biography

Kyle D. Christensen, DRDC CORA

Mr. Kyle D. Christensen is a Strategic Analyst at DRDC CORA. From 2003-2009, Mr. Christensen worked in the Directorate of Maritime Strategy. He conducted extensive research on Arctic and Asia-Pacific maritime security and defence issues. His most recent research focuses on factors that will continue to shape the evolution of Asia-Pacific security dynamics. His publications include China in the Arctic: China’s Interests and Activities in an Ice-Free Arctic (DRDC CORA LR 2010-210); The South China Sea in the Current Strategic Environment: Its Importance as a Key Strategic Area (DRDC CORA TM 2009-035); How We Would Fight China: A Strategic Assessment (2006, MWB); and several articles on Arctic security.