Entering the Dragon's Lair: Chinese Antiaccess Strategies and Their Implications for the United States
Mar 21, 2007
China could employ "antiaccess" strategies to prevent U.S. military forces from deploying or operating overseas. These actions could result in defeat for the United States, in the sense that China would accomplish its military and political objectives while preventing the United States from accomplishing some or all of its objectives. The United States can take short- and long-term steps to mitigate the Chinese antiaccess threat.
U.S. defense analysts are concerned about the possibility that China—a potential U.S. adversary in a conflict over Taiwan or South Korea—could employ an "antiaccess" strategy to prevent U.S. forces from deploying to a combat theater or to limit the locations from which they could operate. Such a strategy would be more attractive to China—and potentially more effective—than a force-on-force battle against the U.S. military, which remains superior to the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in technology, doctrine, training, and experience.
A RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) study of Chinese military doctrinal writings finds that China could employ several types of antiaccess strategies in a future conflict with the United States, including
These actions could result in defeat for the United States—not in the sense that U.S. military forces would be destroyed but in the sense that China would accomplish its military and political objectives while preventing the United States from accomplishing some or all of its objectives.
The United States can do much to mitigate the Chinese antiaccess threat. The following near-term measures could be taken using existing capabilities:
Taking measures such as these would strengthen deterrence of potential aggression by China.
In the longer term, the United States should consider investing in new or improved capabilities, such as the following:
These measures and capabilities would help ensure that U.S. forces remain capable of responding rapidly and effectively to potential crises in the region.