Think tank RAND Corporation ran a large number of war-game simulations between the United States and China and the United States and Russia. The United States lost in almost every case. The simulations assumed that the battles were close to Chinese and Russian territory. As one analyst said, the United States “gets its a** handed to it …” based on the research conclusions. Admittedly, the work is based on simulations, but RAND said they were an accurate analysis of a major American military problem.
The RAND analysis shows that the U.S. defense budget would need to be increased for a different outcome. RAND is nonpartisan, so it is unlikely the results had political motivations.
RAND Senior Defense Analyst David Ochmanek reviewed the simulations at the Center for a New American Security. The primary assumptions of the analysis are that the United States fights Russia in the Baltics region and it battles China for Taiwan. In an overview of the war-games work done by RAND, he said: “We lost a lot of people, we lose a lot of equipment, we usually fail to achieve our objectives of preventing aggression by the adversary.” He added, “Within 48 to 72 hours, Russian forces are able to reach a capital of a Baltic.” In a comment to Fox News, he suggested that a Chinese attack on Taiwan would be a military risk for China, but that would not stop it from prevailing. Ochmanek also added another threat is missiles from the enemies. “… salvos that are so great that we cannot intercept all the missiles.” The United States is the nation that spends the most on war.
The work is complicated, to the extent that it looked at all major forms of military force. That included cyberwarfare, land-based attacks, sea-based battles, air conflicts and whatever each nation could muster from space-based weapons and observations. Robert Work, who had a high-level job in the defense department, was particularly worried about U.S. air warfare. While he said that the F-35 fighter, the most sophisticated the United States has, would give the United States air superiority, it is vulnerable to attack when it is on the ground. Ironically, most of the 20 companies profiting most from war are U.S.-based.
Breaking Defence, a news site, reported on the results earlier than other media. It said that in the war games, U.S. forces were colored blue and Chinese and Russia forces were colored red. Work said that in many situations, “Whenever we have an exercise, and the red force really destroys our command and control, we stop the exercise.” Cyber and electronic systems operated by the United States were particularly vulnerable.
The analysis offers no hard and fast conclusions about how the outcomes of the simulated battles could be changed. An addition of $24 billion a year to the U.S. defense budget would be a component. Some of this money would be needed to add essential defensive and offensive long-range missiles. This would be added to “technology already in production.” The new Trump administration budget calls for a 5% increase in defense spending, which covers most of what the RAND analysis says it needs. Of course, that depends on how the money is spent.