The study of anti-access or area denial strategies for use against American power projection capabilities has strong naval roots-which have been largely ignored by the most influential commentators. Sustained long-range power projection is both a unique strength of U.S. military forces and a requirement for an activist foreign policy and forward defense. In more recent years, the logic of the anti-access approach has been identified by the Department of Defense as a threat to this U.S. capability and the joint force.
The conclusions in Anti-Access Warfare differ from most commentary on anti-access strategy. Rather than a technology-driven post-Cold War phenomenon, the anti-access approach has been a routine element of grand strategy used by strategically weaker powers to confront stronger powers throughout history. But they have been largely unsuccessful when confronting a stronger maritime power. Although high technology weapons capabilities enhance the threat, they also can be used to mitigate the threat. Rather than arguing against reliance on maritime forces-presumably because they are no longer survivable-the historical analysis argues that maritime capabilities are key in "breaking the great walls" of countries like Iran and China.