Retired Marine Corps colonel T. X. Hammes and Center for Naval Analyses researcher Elbridge Colby have been trading salvoes over the merits of AirSea Battle for the past couple of weeks. (Coolest names ever for a pair of debaters.) Writing over at The National Interest, Colby mounts a defense of the ASB doctrine. He maintains in effect that the U.S. armed forces must develop some way to kick in the door should China slam it shut in the Western Pacific. In his rejoinder, Hammes denies that AirSea Battle is a strategy while propounding hisalternative concept of "offshore control.” It's a good, and necessary, debate. Have a look at all three installments.

In a nutshell, offshore control means sealing off the first island chain to keep PLA Navy shipping from reaching the broad Pacific; waging submarine and aerial warfare to deny China access to its own offshore waters and skies; and imposing a distant blockade to bring economic pressure on Beijing. Over time, China might relinquish its goals  to stop the pain. Offshore control abjures strikes at sites on the mainland — the most objectionable part of AirSea Battle — as needlessly escalatory in a campaign for limited aims.

To Read The  Full Article:    The Air Sea Battle Debate