Nikolaus Scholik


After the presentation of the strategic situation on the maritime „chessboard“, with its focus on the situation in the Indo-Pacific region (ÖMZ 2/2013), this essay is to present the operational realization, again with the focus on this region and the two key players USA and China, respectively. As one can learn from strategic considerations and objects on a theoretical level - Mahan and Corbett and all other modern opinions – and their importance for naval power, consecutively the operational practicability of all strategic guidelines poses totally different demands to politics, military, armaments industry, and technological capabilities of a nation. Today the objectives of a nation which have to be considered necessary in the maritime-strategic field have become subject to the factors political intention, rapid technological progress, and economic potential, as well as all parameters resulting from these. Additionally, there is also the recognized dominance of the USA with their US-Navy. This dominance forces all nations following global ambitions in their overall strategies, as well as the USA themselves, to enter a new and comprehensive maritime armament race. It is comprehensive, because – contrary to former periods of time, when maritime armament primarily concerned the fitness to fight on water, ship or fleet against ship or fleet – since the middle of the last century the fields of maritime warfare have been more and more extended: under, on and over water, in near space, the entire spectrum of electronic warfare and combat, cyber war, and, of course, the respective requirements concerning training and leadership. Another fact is global economic unstableness – every state or state system, every local or regional economy, every political-economic system is affected by it. Globalisation and interlacing of all economic action with their consequences concerning all national systems lead to political disturbances which – due to global terror and organized crime – are aggravated and become more and more difficult to be solvable peacefully. From the Chinese point of view, A2/AD represents an absolutely necessary operational-defensive concept against the offensive power of the USN. On the other hand, it does not even to some degree relieve the actual inferiority of PLAN concerning its projection of power. This applies to the actual capabilities of PLAN with respect to the protection of sea routes and of a projection capacity which is essential for the desired roll on the global scene.