Infinity Journal Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2012 - page 14

Volume 2, Issue 2, Spring 2012
Infinity Journal
Page 12
seeking the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party or its
surrender too dangerous to contemplate. The United States
does not understand the Communist Party decision process
for the employment of nuclear weapons,but it does know the
Party is adamant that it must remain in control of China.Thus,
the U.S.war termination goal is the cessation of hostilities and
return to pre-war boundaries.
Priorities and sequencing
The first priority in execution will be reinforcing the defenses of
those nations who choose to ally themselves with the United
States. Next, U.S. forces will establish the distant blockade.
Then, U.S. forces will establish the maritime exclusion zone
inside the first island chain. Finally, the United States will
dominate the area outside the first island chain to tighten
the blockade against China and insure the continued flow
of trade to our allies.
Sequencing will follow priorities. However it should be noted
that due to the different forces required for each of the
required steps, further study may find that multiple steps
can be initiated simultaneously. Of particular importance
is the peacetime preparation necessary for the strategy to
succeed.Thus diplomatic and military preparation will begin
immediately. Because the strategy is transparent, the United
States can explain it to allies and openly exercise all elements
of the plan.
Theory of Victory
Offshore Control seeks to allow the Chinese Communist Party
to end the conflict in the same way China ended its conflicts
with India, the UN (in Korea), the Soviet Union and the
Vietnamese. It allows China to declare it “taught the enemy
a lesson” and thus end the conflict. By forbidding strikes that
destroy Chinese facilities on the mainland, it both reduces
the probability of escalation and makes it easier for the
Chinese to claim they taught “the enemy” a lesson, declare
victory, and terminate the conflict. Offshore Control does
not seek decisive victory. This recognizes that the concept
of decisive victory against a nation with a major nuclear
arsenal is obsolete.
Advantages of Offshore Control
A strategy cannot be evaluated in isolation, but must be
compared against the outcome of another competing
strategy. Unfortunately, to date the Department of Defense
has merely published the operational concept of Air-Sea
Battle, but not a strategy. While many media reports have
suggested that Air-Sea Battle is that strategy, it is in fact the
anti-thesis of strategy. It is totally focused on the tactical
employment of weapons systems with no explanation of how
it leads to favorable conflict resolution. The Pentagon’s new
Joint Operational Access Concept states “Air-Sea Battle is a
limited operational concept.”[vii] In considering the possible
advantages of OffshoreControl,this author can only compare
it to a strategy that employs Air-Sea Battle as its operational
“way” of achieving the ends. Obviously, comparing an
operational concept to a strategy is unsatisfactory, but
until the Pentagon publishes a strategy, it is the only option
available to this author. The primary advantages of an
offshore control strategy are:
Increased deterrence and assurance due to feasibility and
The idea that an air-sea strike campaign can defeat a
continental size power in a short war is dubious at best and
certainly ahistorical. In addition to lacking feasibility, Air-
Sea Battle lacks transparency. It can neither be publically
discussed, nor openly exercised, because many of the
technologies are highly classified. This creates a dilemma,
since both deterrence and assurance are rooted in a
confidence that the stated strategy can be executed. It
will be difficult for other nations to have confidence in an
approach they are not allowed to understand. In contrast,
Offshore Control will be essentially unclassified.Through joint
and combined exercises both enemies and potential allies
will be able to see that the United States has sufficient trained
forces to execute its strategy in time of war.
Reduced reliance on allies
Offshore Control does not require bases in allied nations
except Australia. Even these bases will only be needed to
support the blockade the routes north and south of Australia
and the Straits of Malacca,Sunda,and Lombok.Partner states
will only be asked to allow U.S. forces to protect that nation’s
sea and air space from Chinese attack. Combined exercises
will focus on defense of allied territories. Since the defense
will rely heavily on land-based air defense and short-range
sea defense to include mine-and-counter-mine-capability,
the U.S. can encourage potential partners to invest in these
capabilities and exercise with them regularly in peacetime.
Maritime pre-positioning of defensive assets in theater can
add to both a rapid reinforcement capability and a reason
to conduct exercises with friendly nations.
Greater opportunity to cooperate with allies
In keeping with the concept that the strategy must be feasible
in peacetime, the United States will not request any nations
to allow the use of their bases to attack China. The strategy
will only ask nations to allow the presence of U.S. defensive
systems to defend that nation’s air, sea and land space. It
will encourage peacetime training exercises to develop
interoperability, but will not require commitments to join the
U.S. side in the event of a conflict. Given potential allies trade
relations with China and their clear understanding that
Chinese missiles can range their nations, it is highly unlikely
any allies will participate in training exercises designed to
strike the Chinese mainland.
A strategy cannot be evaluated in
isolation, but must be compared
against the outcome of another
competing strategy.
Offshore Control: A Proposed Strategy
T.X. Hammes
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