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Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, a professor at China’s National Defense University, said recently that “the Americans are making very, very important strategic mistakes right now” in their approach to China. His comments followed a strong statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who stated that “China has undertaken destabilizing, unilateral actions asserting its claims in the South China Sea.”
In response to China’s military modernization and growing anti-access/area denial capabilities, the US military has adopted an ‘‘Air Sea Battle’’ (ASB) concept entailing extensive strikes on the Chinese mainland. Critics argue that ASB creates grave escalation risks and may incite an expensive arms race. Less discussed, but also of serious concern, is that ASB was adopted with little to no civilian oversight, in a case of ‘‘structural inattention.’’ It has also been facilitated by ‘‘subterranean factors’’ including the interests of influential military contractors and the military’s own inclination toward conventional warfare.
Full article here.
In May 2013 the Pentagon released an unclassified summary of the top-secret Air-Sea Battle (ASB) Concept. ASB serves to focus the Pentagon’s efforts to organize, train and equip the armed forces against advanced weapons systems that threaten the US military’s unfettered freedom of access and action in the global commons. While officials claim ASB is merely improve service interoperability and could be applied in any number of conflict situations, this article argues that in fact the doctrine represents the Pentagon’s plan for confronting China’s increasingly capable and confident military.
Full text here.
“China: Making an Adversary.” International Politics 48.6 (November 2011) p. 647-666.
“Who Authorized Preparations for War With China,” Yale Journal of International Affairs, June, 2013.
On the face of it, the Pentagon’s Air-Sea Battle plan makes eminently good sense; it is a clear response to a clear challenge. China has been developing a whole slew of weapons (especially anti-ship missiles) over the past two decades that are of great concern to the U.S. military.