Editor's Note: Thank you to the Infinity Journal for providing the PDF to the article Friedman mentions below.
Since I have posted here about Air-Sea Battle on more than one occasion, I wanted to highlight an article in the most recent issue of Infinity Journal that does the best job of explaining the concept so far. It's free to read with registration so check out "Air-Sea Battle as a Military Contribution to Strategy."
As the United States continues to shift its political focus away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the importance of a rising China and the Asia-Pacific states to international stability continues to garner attention. A portion of this attention includes the military threats that are present and possible capabilities necessary to ensure stability and access to that area of the globe today and into the future.
For the U.S. military a set of concepts that are colloquially merged in the media under the phrase “Air-Sea Battle” are being developed to address these access threats and the possible military response to their use. While many, particularly in the world of political and military analytic punditry, continually conflate the concepts tied to Air-Sea Battle with strategy, they are in reality a military’s contribution to strategy development.
While strategy is the identification of a desired political effect and the means that are to be used to attain it while balancing the inherent risks, Air-Sea Battle is merely a starting point for the negotiation that ultimately leads to a strategy. These sets of concepts are designed to identify the operational access-related challenges created by other actors, the capabilities required to overcome those challenges, and possible operational means for employing those capabilities to achieve military success – regardless of the political effect desired. This paper is intended to assist in separating the issues that swirl around the Air-Sea Battle concepts, while also pointing out deficiencies in our common conceptions of strategy highlighted by these debates…..
It's written by MAJ Nathan K. Finney, a US Army strategist and friend of the author. (He tweets at @BareftStratgist) MAJ Finney makes the important point that ASB would merely be the military portion of a strategy developed to defeat a hypothetical enemy in a hypothetical future conflict. If you're interested in ASB or strategy in general, check it out and the rest of the articles.