Dozens of War Games Show US Unprepared for ‘Horrifically Bloody’ War With China

A US marines Amphibious Assault Vehicle and USS Ashland during an amphibious landing exercise at the beach of the Philippine navy training center facing the South China Sea / Getty Images

After the Pentagon's dozens of war games simulating a Chinese invasion of Taiwan over the last few years, one conclusion is consistent: The United States is unprepared for a "horrifically bloody" war with China.

"While the ultimate outcome in these exercises is not always clear—the U.S. does better in some than others—the cost is ... In every exercise the U.S. is not engaged in an abstract push-button war from 30,000 feet up like the ones Americans have come to expect since the end of the Cold War, but a horrifically bloody one," Politico reported Friday.

Should China invade Taiwan and the United States engage in the war, as President Joe Biden has vowed to defend the democratic island, the United States would drain its "key munitions" in "a matter of days," lose "thousands of servicemembers, dozens of ships, and hundreds of aircraft," and Taiwan’s economy would be "devastated," multiple war game reports show.

Defense experts fear that the Biden administration is not doing enough to build a better deterrent for China—like increasing and modernizing U.S. munitions. U.S. Navy intelligence chief, Rear Adm. Mike Studeman, called the problem "China blindness," saying, "It’s very unsettling to see how much the U.S. is not connecting the dots on our number one challenge."

In an April war simulation organized by the House Select Committee on China, U.S. forces were insufficient to help Taiwan fend off a Chinese invasion, prompting lawmakers to urge Biden to better arm Taiwan, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

"We’re in a window of maximum danger," Christian Brose, a former senior aide to the late Sen. John McCain, told Politico. "We could throw a trillion dollars a year at the defense budget now, and we’re not going to get a meaningful increase in traditional military capabilities in the next five years. They cannot be produced."

China's military completed a three-day blockade rehearsal around Taiwan in April. Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei said at the time, China is "ready to fight … at any time to resolutely smash any form of ‘Taiwan independence’ and foreign interference attempts." Defense experts project China's invasion as early as 2024 or by 2027, the Free Beacon reported.

"The thing we see across all the wargames is that there are major losses on all sides. And the impact of that on our society is quite devastating," said Becca Wasser, head of the gaming lab at the Center for a New American Security. "The most common thread in these exercises is that the United States needs to take steps now in the Indo-Pacific to ensure the conflict doesn’t happen in the future. We are hugely behind the curve. Ukraine is our wakeup call. This is our watershed moment."