Anti-Access Warfare

Countering A2/AD Strategies
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Published:October 15, 2013
By Sam J. Tangredi (Author)

Read Sam Tangredi's article "A2/AD and Wars of Necessity" in the National Interest.


This is the first book to examine the concept of anti-access and area denial warfare, providing a definitive introduction to both conceptual theories and historical examples of this strategy. Also referred to by the acronym "A2/AD," anti-access warfare has been identified in American strategic planning as the most likely strategy to be employed by the People's Republic of China or by the Islamic Republic of Iran in any future conflict with the United States. While previous studies of the subject have emphasized the effects on the joint force and, air forces in particular, this important new study advances the understanding of sea power by identifying the naval roots of the development of the anti-access concept.

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.

List Price: $47.95
Member Price: $38.36
Product Details
  • Subject: Strategy, Tactics, Operations
  • Hardback : 320 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (October 15, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1612511864
  • ISBN-13: 9781612511863
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 22.88 oz
  • “Tangredi is to be commended for his straight-talking, no-nonsense prose and his unapologetically provocative style. He delivers a real body blow to advocates of ‘transformation’ who take things too far, and he correctly exclaims, ‘What has beaten counter anti-access efforts is not weapons or technological advancements or innovative tactics. Rather, it has been a wavering of the out-of-area state's commitment to the operation owing to a concern for extrinsic events.’ Crystallizing many choices that will have to be made in coming years, Anti-Access Warfare represents a valuable contribution to the A2/AD literature.”—Air & Space Power Journal

  • "This book provides a thorough theoretical treatment of the subject but if (like me) you prefer a more practical, less abstract approach, it also offers a range of fascinating case studies. Its readable style and logical layout make it an accessible commentary on a highly-topical subject."—Australian Defence Force Journal
  • "For strategic landpower advocates concerned over the AirSea Battle debate, this book is an essential and foundational analysis of the anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) military problem. If strategic landpower thinkers are frustrated by the all-too-narrow terms of conversation in AirSea Battle, this book provides a more far-ranging and inclusive mental framework for A2/AD warfare problem-solving."—Military Review

Sam J. Tangredi is the Director of San Diego Operations for the planning-consulting firm Strategic Insight and lives in Coronado, CA. He is the author or editor of three books and numerous articles and recipient of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Arleigh Burke Prize and the U.S. Navy League’s Alfred Thayer Mahan Award.

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