Academic journal article Military Review

Anti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies

Academic journal article Military Review

Anti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies

Article excerpt

ANTI-ACCESS WARFARE: Countering A2/AD Strategies

Sam J. Tangredi, U.S. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2013, 308 pages, $35.91

For strategic landpower advocates concerned over the current AirSea Battle debate, this book is an essential and foundational analysis of the anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) military problem. Given the author's background as an expert naval analyst, the book may be overlooked at first glance. From the book's title and provocative dust cover jacket depicting a U.S. aircraft carrier hit by a Chinese guided ballistic missile, one would expect a focus on the technical and tactical details of the Joint Operational Access Concept (JOAC) with a decidedly naval slant. But this book is not that at all; instead it places the narrow JOAC/AirSea Battle solution to the A2/AD problem into a far larger and properly balanced strategic perspective.

Tangredi, an award-winning naval writer and accomplished defense consultant, examines the issue of defeating A2/AD capabilities from both a historical and a modern-day strategic perspective. He uses selected historical vignettes of A2/AD successes (the Greco-Persian Wars, the Spanish Armada in 1588, Gallipoli in 1915, and the Battle of Britain/Operation Sea Lion in 1940) as well as defeats (Fortress Europe in 1944, the Pacific War in 1942-45, the Falklands War in 1982, and Saddam's failure to interdict Operation Desert Storm in 1990) to effectively argue for what he terms as "five fundamental elements" of the A2/AD problem. The JOAC paper and AirSea Battle discussions focus on just two of these: the criticality of information and intelligence, and the general predominance of the maritime domain as conflict space. However, the author insists that A2/AD warfare challenges and opportunities must be understood while considering the other three elements (perception of strategic superiority of the attacking force, the primacy of geography, and determinative impact of extrinsic events). …

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