Keeping A2/AD at Bay: The Imperative for Base Defense in the Western Pacific

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce the release of its latest Mitchell Forum paper, Keeping A2/AD at Bay: The Imperative for Base Defense in the Western Pacific, by Lt Col Thomas R. McCabe, USAF (Ret.).

With its vast distances, rising near-peer military powers, and rogue actors like North Korea pursuing nuclear weapons and improved missile technology, the Asia-Pacific region presents a significant national security challenge for the United States. Aerospace power has proved a vital tool to projecting US influence and military power across the region, but potential adversaries such as China and North Korea are working to improve anti-access and area denial weapons (A2/AD) that could put US aerospace power in jeopardy. By threatening a debilitating “first strike” on forward bases and airfields in the event of a crisis with these fielding of these weapons, China especially is attempting to “unilaterally change the balance of power across the Western Pacific,” by taking away the American ability to secure air superiority, McCabe writes. In response, he argues, the US should reinvigorate airbase defense as a priority in the region, from hardening key air facilities to improving and diversifying air defenses.

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