- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Pentagon lifted the veil of secrecy Wednesday on a new battle concept aimed at countering Chinese military efforts to deny access to areas near its territory and in cyberspace.

The Air Sea Battle concept is the start of what defense officials say is the early stage of a new Cold War-style military posture toward China.

The plan calls for preparing the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to defeat China’s “anti-access, area denial weapons,” including anti-satellite weapons, cyberweapons, submarines, stealth aircraft and long-range missiles that can hit aircraft carriers at sea.

Military officials from the three services told reporters during a background briefing that the concept is not directed at a single country. But they did not answer when asked what country other than China has developed advanced anti-access arms.

A senior Obama administration official was more blunt, saying the new concept is a significant milestone signaling a new Cold War-style approach to China.

“Air Sea Battle is to China what the maritime strategy was to the Soviet Union,” the official said.

During the Cold War, U.S. naval forces around the world used a strategy of global presence and shows of force to deter Moscow’s advances.

“It is a very forward-deployed, assertive strategy that says we will not sit back and be punished,” the senior official said. “We will initiate.”

The concept, according to defense officials, grew out of concerns that China’s new precision-strike weapons threaten freedom of navigation in strategic waterways and other global commons.

Defense officials familiar with the concept said among the ideas under consideration are:

• Building a new long-range bomber.

• Conducting joint submarine and stealth aircraft operations.

• New jointly operated, long-range unmanned strike aircraft with up to 1,000-mile ranges.

• Using Air Force forces to protect naval bases and deployed naval forces.

• Conducting joint Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force strikes inside China.

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