China continues to invest in key technologies designed to thwart access to key regions of the Asia-Pacific by other militaries, the Pentagon said in its annual report on China’s military buildup published recently.

The annual report to Congress said Beijing during 2011 kept up the pace of pouring money into advanced cruise missiles, short and medium range conventional ballistic missiles, anti-ship missiles and military cyberspace capabilities to support a strategy of anti-access area-denial (A2AD).

“Some of the areas that we pay careful attention to are capabilities that we would consider supportive of anti-access and area denial types of operations, and here it’s not one particular weapons system,” David Helvey, Pentagon’s the acting deputy assistant secretary for East Asia and the Asia-Pacific, told reporters recently.

“We have concerns because these types of capabilities could, if they’re employed, in ways affect the ability of our forces or other forces in the region to be able to operate in the Western Pacific,” he added.

Countering efforts by China and other countries such as Iran to develop A2AD strategies has emerged as a top priority for the Pentagon. It was a key topic in a forum recently with Navy Chief of Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.

They said addressing the A2AD challenge is a central aspect as the military develops a common air-sea battle concept of operations across the services. Greenert emphasized the need to further integrate and centralize operations throughout the battle picture, including platforms, their payloads and sensors, and electronic and cyber warfare.

“Our cross-domain actions are going to have to be more centralized,” he said. “Should we be looking at missions, strike, cyber as something that crosses those domains in a command and control operation? Air-sea Battle provides the means to do that.”