The U.S. military currently has four de facto "sanctuaries" that create significant asymmetric advantages over any opponent. As demonstrated during Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere, U.S. forces can operate in the following realms with nearly total impunity:
* High altitudes. Dating from Operation Desert Storm, the U.S. military has operated freely at altitudes above 15,000 feet, notwithstanding several periods of intense combat and almost constant operations to enforce no-fly zones.
* High seas. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. Navy's uncontested dominance at sea has ensured the access needed for a multitude of crises and conflicts.
* Long ranges. Regardless of limited access to land bases in any theater, long-range and sea-based aircraft operate without the same "mother, may I?" requirements of short-range aircraft.
* Cyberspace. U.S. staffs and field forces are becoming increasingly network-centric; they can rapidly move essential information in every major warfighting area.