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Another speaker, Rear Adm. James G. Foggo, said he is leading a Navy effort to update a maritime strategy that will be released in the spring.

Adm. Foggo, assistant deputy chief of naval operations, noted that in 2007 the Navy’s maritime strategy failed to mention China, an omission unlikely for the upcoming strategy as the Obama administration shifts its focus to Asia and the military concentrates on its new Air Sea Battle concept.

Adm. Foggo was involved in the new battle concept that seeks to better coordinate naval and air forces to counter what the Pentagon calls China’s anti-access, area-denial weaponry — missiles, submarines and other high-technology arms.

Air Sea Battle “scares a lot of people, including the Chinese,” he said.

The admiral said the military is seeking to follow the policy that came out of last year’s meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to develop closer military ties.

Adm. Foggo said it is very important for the two militaries to develop norms, standards of behavior and rules of the road so that a military “miscalculation” is avoided.

A third speaker, Navy Capt. David A. Adams, director of the Captain’s Initiatives Group of the 7th Fleet, headquartered in Japan, warned that China’s nuclear buildup and the lack of any dialogue about its strategic forces are a dangerous mix.

Capt. Adams said U.S. “strategic deterrence remains important” in the strategy for the Pacific region.

China is pursuing what he termed a “hybrid approach” to warfare that combines traditional and non-traditional capabilities, including economic warfare and cyber warfare, and the U.S. must do more to prepare for it.

“They are pursuing a hybrid approach to warfare, not the big war, but it could be high-tech, hybrid, low-tech, legal, financial, cyber,” Capt. Adams said. “And we’re already losing that war in the South China Sea today. And we’re not focused on that, and our strategy, that peripheral conflict.”

To better deal with China, the United States needs to bolster strategic advantages of submarines and air power, he said. More aircraft carriers and submarines should be based in the Asia Pacific as well.

“We have to think unconventionally, hedge against the big war, and be ready to win a hybrid war that we’re not even thinking about,” Capt. Adams said. “And if we lose a war, if the Navy has its Vietnam, it’s going to be a dirty, hybrid paramilitary war in the Pacific.”

The panel discussion on China was held at the annual Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association conference. Video of the conference was posted by the U.S. Naval Institute.

‘Insidious’ cyber war

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday warned of a new form of conflict that he said poses a major national security threat.

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