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October 2016 -- According to the Joint Operational Access Concept (JOAC) published by the United States Department of Defense in 2012, “Events of recent decades have demonstrated the decisive results U.S. joint forces can achieve when allowed to flow combat power into an operational area unimpeded...and U.S. operational access during that period was essentially unopposed.” However, the next time the nation calls for US military intervention, the operational environment may not be so permissive. Many potential adversaries are developing technologies and tactics to prevent such permissive environments. These anti-access and area denial, or A2/AD, efforts will complicate many aspects of military operations. Joint targeting, including intelligence support critical to targeting, is a key military function that has been largely ignored with regard to the A2/AD discussion. Does current joint targeting and related intelligence doctrine support operations in an A2/AD environment? While the joint targeting cycle does not need to be amended to fit the A2/AD environment, joint doctrine needs to address the application of the cycle in an A2/AD conflict. In addition, capabilities outlined in the JOAC must be pursued even in this time of austere budgets. Finally, the dismal state of targeting personnel training and development must be rectified. These steps must be taken before the United States faces a near-peer adversary employing A2/AD capabilities.

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