The next U.S. administration will face an increasingly emboldened and aggressive China — one that has shown a growing willingness to use coercive measures to stake its territorial claims from the South China Sea to Taiwan to the Indian border region. Although neither Washington nor Beijing wants a war, there is a real risk that miscalculation could cause a crisis to spiral into a conflict between these two nuclear-armed powers.
Few U.S. national security challenges are of greater consequence and urgency than preventing conflict with China and promoting a peaceful Asia-Pacific region.
To prevent conflict, the United States must maintain the military capability to deter China by demonstrating the ability to deny the success of such aggression or impose costs so high that Beijing steps back from the brink. The problem is this: If the Pentagon's own reported war games and analysis are to be believed, the current force may well be insufficient to deter or defeat Chinese aggression in the future.
Read the full article in NBC News.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration
The Bottom Line The United States is losing its military technological advantage vis-à-vis great power competitors such as China. Reversing this trend must be DoD leadership’...
By Michèle Flournoy & Gabrielle Chefitz
CommentarySustaining the Future of Indo-Pacific Defense Strategy
The 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS) should sustain the Indo-Pacific as the priority theater....
By Lindsey Ford
CommentaryA Resource-Sustainable Strategy for Countering Violent Extremist Organizations
The United States has been trying to pivot from counterterrorism to strategic interstate competition for almost a decade....
By Stephen Tankel
CommentaryOvercoming the Tyranny of Time: The Role of U.S. Forward Posture in Deterrence and Defense
The next defense strategy has the opportunity to codify the critical role of forward posture....
By Billy Fabian