ADIZ Not Affecting Operations

The Air Defense Identification Zone that China declared last November, which spans the waters off its eastern periphery, hasn’t much affected US or other-nation operations in the area, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said. Speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., March 27, Welsh said “many countries” have operated in the area now covered by the ADIZ and “people kept operating in those areas” since it was declared. “It didn’t have a major impact in that way,” he said. The ADIZ covers airspace that USAF and other air forces “operate and train in routinely … and I believe that activity continues.” After the ADIZ was announced, the US promptly said it wouldn’t curtail its activities in the area and underlined the point by flying two B-52s through the ADIZ. They were not challenged by People’s Liberation Army Air Force aircraft, but Welsh said a month later that China has the ability to intercept aircraft that challenge the zone. At the American Enterprise Institute in December, Welsh said he hoped for an “international discussion” about the ADIZ and how to “coexist in that part of the world without creating conflict,” but warned that its declaration created potential for “mistakes and miscommunication.”