United States Fails to Stop Chinese Invasion of Taiwan in Congressional War Simulation

'Arm Taiwan to the teeth': Lawmakers call for increased military assistance to Taiwan

Chinese fighter jets in 2016 (STR/AFP via Getty Images)
April 21, 2023

The United States was unable to fend off a Chinese invasion of Taiwan during a war simulation held Wednesday by Congress, fueling congressional calls for the United States to immediately "arm Taiwan to the teeth."

Deterrence failed and China struck first, according to officials briefed on the wargame, which was organized by the House Select Committee on China. The simulation found that China’s military would suffer heavy losses during the month-long fight but would be able to implant its invading forces inside Taiwan—even with U.S. forces aiding the island. While the American military sunk around 80 Chinese naval vessels during the course of the exercise, the Chinese military "was able to gain a lodgment with about 80,000 troops on Taiwan," a source close to the committee who was briefed on the scenario told the Washington Free Beacon.

China’s ability to break Taiwan’s defenses is raising alarm bells with lawmakers on the select committee, which was established earlier this year when Republicans retook control of the House. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), the committee’s chairman, told the Free Beacon the simulation is a wake-up call for the United States to immediately "arm Taiwan to the teeth before any crisis begins." Without these military resources, Taiwan remains increasingly vulnerable to a Chinese attack, which the U.S. intelligence community assesses could occur anytime from 2024 to 2027.

"We are well within the window of maximum danger for a Chinese Communist Party invasion of Taiwan, and [Wednesday’s] wargame stressed the need to take action to deter CCP aggression and arm Taiwan to the teeth before any crisis begins," Gallagher said. "The United States needs to deliver on our promises and clear the $19 billion weapons backlog to Taiwan, conduct enhanced joint military training, and reinforce our military posture throughout the region."

The global economy also fell into "absolute tatters" as a result of the invasion, indicating that the war would spark massive international shockwaves, according to the source. Gallagher said he is distressed by the "disastrous economic consequences" that would blossom in the wake of a Chinese invasion. "Deterring war is the only path to peace and stability, and it is incumbent upon elected officials to take decisive action to do so before it’s too late."

The war simulation confirmed that the United States’ current determent policies are not enough to stop a military bombardment of Taiwan.

The CCP cut undersea cables during the war game, effectively isolating Taiwan from the rest of the world. This allowed its forces to storm the island and overwhelm Taiwan’s defenses.

After war broke out, "the U.S. adopted a distributed posture throughout the region and leveraged long range strikes to degrade the PLA amphibious assault," according to the source who was briefed on the simulation.

While the war game did not conclude with a definitive outcome due to time constraints, "the PRC had been exposed to heavy costs, both military and economic, but its commitment to taking Taiwan remained strong," the source said.

Lawmakers also learned that long range missiles will be critical to any conflict. The United States quickly ran out of long-range stealth anti-ship cruise missiles during the simulation, weapons that were integral to sinking CCP warships.

America also moved to sanction China following an invasion, but many allies were hesitant to join the effort. Global supply chains broke down as a result of the turmoil, highlighting the need for companies to prepare for such a scenario.

Resupplying Taiwan once war breaks out also "is not an option," according to the source briefed on the game. The United States will have to ensure that Taiwan is fully stocked prior to any invasion.

A separate war simulation organized by House Republicans during their annual retreat last month determined that the United States "would face up to 20,000 military casualties in a single week—the most seen since World War II," the Free Beacon reported.

The wargame comes ahead of a spring push by the House select committee to increase military aid to Taiwan, according to a congressional source familiar with the effort. Lawmakers are particularly troubled by Chinese president Xi Jinping’s repeated declaration to take Taiwan, as well as his efforts to modernize the country’s military in pursuit of this goal.

Making good on the $19 billion in defense equipment promised to Taiwan, the source said, will send a message to Xi that Taiwan is off limits.