April 03, 2015

Anti-Access/Area Denial Isn’t Just for Asia Anymore

Featuring Julianne Smith, and Richard Fontaine

If there’s one set of foreign military capabilities that has garnered U.S. attention in recent years, it’s those related to anti-access and area denial. Even the most acronym-constrained policymakers regularly cite A2/AD and its challenge to American power projection in the western Pacific. And with good reason: China’s investments in ballistic and cruise missiles, submarines, air defenses and counter-maritime forces have focused military minds on the East Asian littoral’s increasingly contested nature, and on ways in which the United States and its allies might overcome the growing challenges.

Anti-access is, however, not merely an Asian affair. While Washington continues its rebalance to the Pacific, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has dragged the U.S. back to Europe and to a renewed focus on the continent’s attendant security threats. As NATO and Pentagon planners begin to envision the previously unimaginable – conflict with Russia in Europe’s east – they must focus on Moscow’s growing A2/ADcapabilities and strategies and move quickly to apply the lessons from Asia. Russia’s ability to contest the landmass in Europe’s east may actually exceed China’s capacity to keep American forces away from thousands of miles of coastline.

Read the full op-ed at Defense One.


  • Julianne Smith

    Former Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Julianne (“Julie”) Smith is a contributing editor to Foreign Policy, where she coedits “Shadow Government.” She is also a senior advisor at WestExec Advisors, an adjunct senio...

  • Richard Fontaine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as President of CNAS from 2012-19 and as Senior Fellow from 2009-12...