由美國前國務卿約翰·杜勒斯(John Foster Dulles) 在1951 年冷戰時首次提出的概念，目的是利用西北太平洋海域一些島嶼的特殊位置，同時在政治上和軍事上圍堵蘇聯和中國等共產主義國家。共有三大島鏈：
Island chain is a strategy first proposed by the former U.S. Secretary, John Foster Dulles, in 1951 during the Cold War. Leveraging the unique geographic location of certain islands in the Northwest Pacific Ocean, the strategy aims to encircle communist countries like the Soviet Union and China by both political and military means.
There are three major island chains:
- First Island Chain: Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
- Second Island Chain: Japan’s Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands, Guam, Yap Island, Palau Islands.
- Third Island Chain: Alaska, Hawaiian Islands, Australia, and New Zealand.
The U.S. continues to develop its Pacific strategies on the basis of the Island chain concept. However, China has stepped up its medium and long range missile as well as aircraft carrier capabilities in recent years while reaching out to countries of the Second Island and Third Island Chains through financial aid at the same time. It even attempted to build ports and airports in these countries to break through the First Island Chain formed by countries with armed forces such as Japan and Taiwan. Given this, the U.S. has also been adjusting and enhancing its Island Chain strategies along with the development of military forces in China and the United States and plans to shift toward a multi-island-chain approach.