June 20, 2024

How underwater drones could shape a potential Taiwan-China conflict

Source: The MIT Technology Review

Journalist: James O'Donnell

A potential future conflict between Taiwan and China would be shaped by novel methods of drone warfare involving advanced underwater drones and increased levels of autonomy, according to a new war-gaming experiment by the think tank Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

The report comes as concerns about Beijing’s aggression toward Taiwan have been rising: China sent dozens of surveillance balloons over the Taiwan Strait in January during Taiwan’s elections, and in May, two Chinese naval ships entered Taiwan’s restricted waters. The US Department of Defense has said that preparing for potential hostilities is an “absolute priority,” though no such conflict is immediately expected.

The report’s authors detail a number of ways that use of drones in any South China Sea conflict would differ starkly from current practices, most notably in the war in Ukraine, often called the first full-scale drone war.

Read the full story and more from the MIT Technology Review.


  • Stacie Pettyjohn

    Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program

    Stacie Pettyjohn is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her areas of expertise include defense strategy, post...

  • Hannah Dennis

    Research Associate, Defense Program

    Hannah Dennis is a Research Associate for the Defense Program at CNAS where she also supports the CNAS Gaming Lab. Her research focuses on the future of warfare, defense acqui...

  • Molly Campbell

    Program Administrator, Defense Program

    Molly Campbell is the Program Administrator for the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Molly graduated from Stanford University with dual degree...