YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan —The Pentagon announced Thursday the creation of the Air-Sea Battle Office, which will oversee the integration of air and naval combat capabilities in an age of smaller budgets and leaner forces.
The ASBO was formed in August by Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, according to a Pentagon news release. The impetus was a 2010 directive by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to develop a comprehensive plan to maintain access to strategic waterways around the globe, even as the size of U.S. armed forces shrinks.
The air-sea battle concept has evolved to counter emerging threats that include conventional ballistic missiles, long-range precision cruise missiles, advanced integrated air and missile defense systems, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, submarines, surface combatants, and modern combat aircraft, the news release said. Independent defense analysts have pointed to China’s growing presence in the South China Sea as one example of the need for the new air-sea battle concept.
The ASBO will assimilate technological capabilities of each service, influence service war games and foster further integration. The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps will each dedicate a minimum of two field-grade officers or civil service equivalents to the ASBO.