Where China Beats the United States in War
Think tank assesses changing military balance
The California think tank RAND has charted what it views as China’s coming parity or increasing advantage over the United States in certain military situations.
“Over the past two decades, China’s People’s Liberation Army has transformed itself from a large but antiquated force into a capable, modern military,” RAND writes.
Although China continues to lag the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its relative capabilities in many critical areas. To advance the public debate, RAND used open, unclassified sources to compile The U.S.-China Military Scorecard: Forces, Geography, and the Evolving Balance of Power. This comprehensive report examines U.S. and Chinese military capabilities in 10 operational areas, and presents a “scorecard” for each.
Each scorecard assesses the relative advantage or disadvantage of U.S. and Chinese forces in diverse types of conflict, at varying distances from the Chinese mainland, at different points in time from 1996 to 2017. Advantage means that one side is able to achieve its primary objectives in an operationally relevant time period while the other side would have trouble in doing so. The chart … collects the scorecards for each evaluated operational area.
To prevail in either of the scenarios below, China’s offensive goals would require it to hold advantages in nearly all operational categories simultaneously. U.S. defensive goals could be achieved by holding the advantage in only a few areas. Nevertheless, China’s improved performance could raise costs, lengthen the conflict, and increase risks to the United States.