Joint Access Concept Expands on New Defense Guidance

The Pentagon released the 64-page “Joint Operational Access Concept” document outlining anti-access, area-denial threats that the United States faces and ways to counter them. “A2/AD is not new, but it is a defining characteristic of today’s operational environment,” said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, Joint Chiefs Chairman, in a blog post introducing the concept. Countering expected A2/AD capabilities will require preparing the operational area in advance, seizing the initiative with multiple deployments and operations, exploiting advantages in one domain to disrupt or destroy enemy capabilities in others, and protecting space and cyber assets while attacking the enemy’s, according to the document (caution, large-sized file). JOAC, which builds upon the Obama Administration’s new defense strategic guidance, identifies 30 operational capabilities that the future joint force will need to gain operational access in an opposed environment. “The implications of creating and maintaining these capabilities in the necessary capacity are potentially profound,” states the document. The concept appeared on the same day as the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments called for the Pentagon to reassess long-held assumptions in the Persian Gulf in light of Iran’s A2/AD capabilities. (See also AFPS report by Karen Parrish)