Analysis of Anti-access Area Denial (A2AD)

From 08-10 November 2017, the System Analysis and Studies (SAS) Exploratory Team SAS-ET-DR on “Analysis of Anti-access Area Denial (A2AD)” met at the NATO STO CSO facilities in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. The meeting was attended by representatives from Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Finland, United States, Denmark and Germany. The team was chaired by Dr. Mike Winnerstig, a Deputy Director of Research with the Swedish Defence Research Agency.

The topic of A2AD is an urgent topic of interest for a number of reasons. As of 2014, NATO has returned to a situation where a major war with Russia cannot be ruled out. The postures of NATO itself, the Allies and their European partners still largely reflect the earlier, peaceful, situation. The dearth of forward-deployed forces means that the Alliance would be very dependent on early reinforcement of threatened Allies in a crisis or in a war, and on power-projection by long-range forces stationed elsewhere. These operations may be threatened by Russian Anti-Access and Area Denial (A2/AD) capabilities. Anti-access capabilities are usually long-range capabilities designed to prevent or degrade an advancing enemy’s ability to enter an operational area. Area denial capabilities are designed to limit his freedom of action within the operational area. Russia is currently fielding a seemingly impressive array of long-range A2/AD systems that could interfere with the Alliance’s ability to reinforce, resupply and defend exposed Allies and to conduct operations, primarily in the Baltic Sea region, but also in the Black Sea, eastern Mediterranean and Barents Sea regions.

NATO Allies and partners have not faced a near-peer adversary since the end of the Cold War. Currently, there is insufficient analysis of the dangers Russian A2/AD capabilities pose to NATO members and partners, and common solutions to mitigate, suppress or neutralize these dangers do not exist. The research task group will assess challenges posed by Russian A2/AD capabilities in the short, medium, and long term. The study will also identify potential solutions encompassing technical, tactical, operational and strategic means.

Dr Winnerstig highlighted that the proposed work will “inform Allies and partners about the requirement to adapt current and develop new capabilities in order to operate in contested environments not experienced in the recent past.”

Picture: Source: Institute for the Study of War

Published by SAS