June 09, 2023

The Pentagon Is Freaking Out About a Potential War With China

Source: POLITICO Magazine

Journalist: Michael Hirsh

“The thing we see across all the wargames is that there are major losses on all sides. And the impact of that on our society is quite devastating,” said Becca Wasser, who played the role of the Chinese leadership in the Select Committee’s wargame and is head of the gaming lab at the Center for a New American Security. “The most common thread in these exercises is that the United States needs to take steps now in the Indo-Pacific to ensure the conflict doesn’t happen in the future. We are hugely behind the curve. Ukraine is our wakeup call. This is our watershed moment.”


Muddling things further is that Congress remains confused about what needs to be prioritized, and “right now there isn’t a consistent demand signal from the DoD to industry,” said CNAS’s Wasser. The problem is not partisanship, she said, since “the China challenge is one of the rare areas of agreement on Capitol Hill these days,” but rather “how Congress and the Pentagon communicate with each other.”


Beyond that, although the U.S. has always considered itself a Pacific power, Taiwan is literally in China’s backyard and Beijing considers ownership of it a vital national interest. “The most important thing to remember is that China is fighting a home game in that region where the U.S. is fighting an away game, so we have to bring much more mass to bear,” says Wasser. “Attrition is baked into Chinese assumptions.”

Read the full story and more from Politico Magazine.


  • Becca Wasser

    Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Becca Wasser is a Senior Fellow for the Defense Program and lead of The Gaming Lab at the Center for a New American Security. Her research areas include defense strategy and o...