Wednesday, January 11, 2023

New Think Tank War Game: US Will Defeat Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

A new wargame developed by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) showed that in most scenarios, the US and its allies would defeat an invasion by China of Taiwan.

Here is more from CSIS:

CSIS developed a wargame for a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan and ran it 24 times. In most scenarios, the United States/Taiwan/Japan defeated a conventional amphibious invasion by China and maintained an autonomous Taiwan. However, this defense came at high cost. The United States and its allies lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and tens of thousands of servicemembers. Taiwan saw its economy devastated. Further, the high losses damaged the U.S. global position for many years. China also lost heavily, and failure to occupy Taiwan might destabilize Chinese Communist Party rule. Victory is therefore not enough. The United States needs to strengthen deterrence immediately.


The wargame was funded by a grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation

As CNN reported, CSIS said this particular wargame was necessary because "previous government and private war simulations have been too narrow or too opaque to give the public and policymakers a true look at how conflict across the Taiwan Straight may play out."

CSIS's Mark Cancian, one of the three project leaders (along with his son Matthew Cancian of the US Naval War College and MIT's Eric Heginbotham), said there is no unclassified war game out there looking at the US-China conflict.  He added that of the games that are unclassified, they are typically only run once or twice.  [Tony Stark disagrees.]

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch piece on how wargaming at think tanks is picking up speed amid US-China tensions.

Update: Elbridge Colby, co-founder and principal of The Marathon Initiative and a former think tank scholar at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), called the wargame report "rigorous and sophisticated."  He said, however, that he has doubts about the report's baseline finding.