Entering the Dragon's Lair

Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States

by Roger Cliff, Mark Burles, Michael S. Chase, Derek Eaton, Kevin L. Pollpeter

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Abstract

U.S. strategists have become increasingly concerned that an adversary might use “antiaccess” strategies to interfere with our ability to deploy or operate military forces overseas. The authors analyzed Chinese military-doctrinal publications to see what strategies China might employ in the event of a conflict with the United States. They then assessed how these strategies might affect U.S. military operations and identified ways to reduce these effects. It appears possible that China could use antiaccess strategies to defeat the United States in a conflict — not in the sense of destroying the U.S. military but in the sense of accomplishing China’s military and political objectives while preventing the United States from accomplishing all or some of its own. The United States can, however, take steps to counter such threats, including strengthening active and passive defenses at theater air bases, diversifying basing options for aircraft, and strengthening defenses against covert operative attack. In addition, the U.S. military needs to acquire or improve its capabilities in a number of areas, including ballistic and cruise missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, and minesweeping.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Contemporary Chinese Military Strategy

  • Chapter Three

    Elements of Chinese Military Strategy with Potential Implications for U.S. Theater Access

  • Chapter Four

    Potential Effects of Chinese Antiaccess Measures

  • Chapter Five

    Countering Chinese Antiaccess Threats to U.S. Forces

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusion

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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