Why The Pentagon Should Focus On Taiwan
China is now the official “pacing threat” for the U.S. armed forces. Simply put, the Pentagon considers the People’s Liberation Army its most serious competition. This is a major and vital shift. But competing with China is a tremendously broad concept that could take any number of forms, and the reality is that China is too powerful to permit the U.S. defense establishment to fritter away money. The Defense Department needs to focus. Most of all, it needs to be capable of achieving U.S. objectives against China in a war.
But in which war? Scenarios lie at the core of military force planning. These are the plausible and highly consequential future fights the military uses to plan its future force structure, posture, and training. During the interwar period, the Navy planned for scenarios such as the defense and recapture of the Philippines. During the Cold War, the Pentagon planned for the defense of NATO against a Warsaw Pact invasion. Scenarios help to concentrate the sprawling defense establishment on specific strategic and operational problems. They provide a concrete framework to examine how different military force structures and operational approaches would perform in meeting objectives within a set of constraints, and how long such efforts would take and at what cost.
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