Breaking Down AirSea Battle

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert attempted to break down the AirSea Battle initiative during a joint discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., May 16. AirSea Battle is more of a mindset really intended to guide the Air Force and Navy to "unprecedented" levels of collaboration and cooperation that will preserve US access to air and maritime commons, they said. "We're not thinking about things in the 'airman' and 'sailor' stovepipes anymore," said Schwartz. Furthermore, attempts by many to connect the concept strictly to China's growing military prowess are misguided at best, he added. "This solution should not be hijacked by any particular scenario," said Schwartz. Greenert said limiting the concept to a particular region would be "short-sighted" and a "mistake." "We would like to make this cross-domain operation more of an assumption for the future," he said. One example of such collaboration, said Greenert, could include using a submarine to defeat an enemy's air defenses, either kinetically or through electronic countermeasures. "The idea is to broaden the aperture and make that the standard approach," said Greenert. (Schwartz's prepared remarks) (Brookings webpage with event audio)

AirSea Battle Imperatives

In order for the AirSea Battle scheme to reach its maximum potential, each of the services will have to put aside their "moderated parochial tendencies" and significantly enhance cooperative efforts, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz May 16. That will mean utilizing complementary and cross-domain capabilities with common data links so that, for example, Navy submarines may communicate with Air Force remotely piloted aircraft, or an F-22 can retarget a Tomahawk cruise missile launched from a submarine, as has already been tested, said Schwartz during a discussion with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "The ultimate goal is interoperable air and naval forces that can execute networked, integrated attacks in-depth to disrupt, destroy, and defeat an adversary's [anti-access, area-denial] capabilities," said Schwartz. This will, in turn, sustain "the deployment of US joint forces . . . wherever and whenever they are needed to help counter potential aggression or hostile actions against US and partner-nation interests," he added. (Schwartz's prepared remarks) (Brookings webpage with event audio)

Framing Future Investments

AirSea Battle is not about developing and acquiring new weapons systems. "It's about making sure we are making the best use of the existing capabilities that exist in a much better way," said Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz during a May 16 talk at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. However, the Pentagon's joint office, created late last year to advance the ASB concept, will have a say in future naval and air investments, such as the new long-range-strike bomber, data links, tankers, and anti-surface weapons, said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, who appeared together with Schwartz. "AirSea Battle is a framework for us to organize, to train, and equip our efforts," said Greenert. He added: "We will continue to refine it and we'll continue to apply it. And, at this national security inflection point, it's essential that we have an effective and efficient means ahead. We think this is one means to get that." (Schwartz's prepared remarks) (Brookings webpage with event audio)

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New US Nuclear Posture Proposed

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