Russia and China have heavily invested in their capabilities to struggle against America’s traditional dominance in a range of spheres, General Dunford said, as cited in a news article published on the US Defense Department website.
"As an example, if you take the naval alliance in Europe, Russia understands that the transatlantic link is critical for us to meet our NATO commitments," he added. The rivals’ “anti-access” strategy is thus oriented at developing systems to limit US ability to move into the region and to operate freely on the ground to meet alliance commitments.
The areas that are in the Russian and Chinese spotlight are electronic warfare, cyber technologies, anti-space capabilities, anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles, aimed to prevent the US from spreading its power to Europe and supporting its allies.
Dunford stressed the conflict the world powers are facing falls short of a traditional military one. He called it an “adversarial competition” in which Russia performs tests and training on a day-to-day basis – moves that America does not conventionally make in peacetime.
"And while we may be inhibited in peacetime from using certain capabilities — certain cyber capabilities, conducting certain activities, conducting certain information operations and so forth — they don't share the same restrictions. They're actually conducting activities and employing capabilities that we may associate with war,” Dunford points out.
The other side of the world in the South China Sea is no exception, he said.
"I think we do have effective deterrence in the conventional fight against Russia, and frankly see China's methodology in dealing with issues like the South China Sea or in dealing with [terminal high-altitude area defense missiles] in South Korea".
Citing the complex post-World War II security environment, Dunford says no issue should be addressed in isolation, as, for instance, terrorist actions in East Africa affect operations in the Middle East and Asia, and “drug networks in South and Central America could be used by terrorists to ship people or weapons into the United States,” he pointed out.