Looming budget cuts require the United States to consider a military strategy for the Asia-Pacific that could significantly reduce the cost of maintaining U.S. influence and presence in the region. Currently, the United States is executing a strategic rebalancing to Asia without a corresponding military strategy to guide imminent military procurement and force-structure decisions. The challenge is to achieve peacetime savings while leaving the United States well postured to influence the region in peacetime and defend its interests in war.
A proposed alternative strategy is offshore control, or OC for the purposes of this article. Unlike the British concept of offshore balancing, the OC strategy does not assume we could maintain an ally on the mainland that could challenge China’s ground power. Rather, it partners with Asia-Pacific nations to ensure the U.S. ability to interdict China’s energy and raw-material imports and industrial exports while protecting those nations.