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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Russia and China Keep Beating America in Mock Wars. Don’t Be Shocked.

U.S. Military China Russia War
A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 sits on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility Oct. 16, 2014, as the ship supports Inherent Resolve. President Barack Obama authorized humanitarian aid deliveries to Iraq as well as targeted airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel from extremists known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. U.S. Central Command directed the operations. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner Jr., U.S. Navy/Released).

Late last month in a speech before the Emerging Technologies Institute, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten admitted that in a recent classified simulation exercise, a U.S. force “failed miserably” to defeat a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The reasons for this simulated loss – and the General’s explanation of the results – expose deeper problems with U.S. military strategy, especially where China is concerned.

If we ignore the military fundamentals exposed in this simulation loss (on top of many other simulated defeats we’ve suffered over the last few years) U.S. leaders may one day be tempted to believe America can successfully fight China over Taiwan – which would almost certainly turn a simulated loss into a very real and bloody one.

Details of the exercise from October of last year have not been made public, but in his speech last month Gen. Hyten said the U.S. side of the scenario sought to employ the same kinds of warfighting methods which assumed communications dominance “just like it was in the first Gulf War,” and like the U.S. has enjoyed in every conflict since. Hyten acknowledged that China and Russia “and everybody else in the world” has been intensely studying our way of war for the past 30 years, yet inexplicably, American planners – whether for this simulation or real-world contingency plans – have neither modernized nor changed their approach.

The exercise “red team” – Americans tasked to fight as the Chinese would fight – had been studying the American way of fighting for 20 years and they “ran rings around us,” Gen. Hyten admitted. “They knew exactly what we were going to do before we did.” Without a sense of irony, the general added “but imagine what our actual competitors have been doing for the past 20 years, probably even more focused, with larger numbers of people.”

On that point, the general might be understating how much energy and focus the Chinese have been placing on studying the American way of war. China and Russia have been working for decades now on producing an armed force and strategy designed to defeat America. It doesn’t appear, however, that the United States has been returning the favor.

From the Persian Gulf war in 1991 that Gen. Hyten mentioned through Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, our conventional opponents have been desperately weak and minimally capable. They have had poorly trained armies, virtually no air forces, no navies, and antiquated, inaccurate missile forces. The counterinsurgency wars we have fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Africa have been fought against enemies that have no actual armies, and zero navies or air forces.

Meanwhile, China and Russia have been sharply focused on our operations, studying to sometimes excessive detail our capabilities, weapon systems, and means of engaging the enemy. They know we are powerful and are prepared to fight in a modern battle. They have conducted extensive ground, air, and sea training exercises and maneuvers, for decades, working to become skilled in the type of combat that we would fight. As evidenced by this most recent simulation disaster, we have devoted only marginal and episodic attention to preparing for potential battles against our Chinese and Russian adversaries.

That lack of preparation will show up in real combat as surely as it exposed us to defeat in the simulation. The ramifications of these realities should drive several changes in U.S. policy in three major ways.

First, we need to divest ourselves, as quickly and professionally as possible, the numerous small wars we choose to wage around the Middle East and North Africa. There is not one operation we are currently conducting in these locations that are necessary for our security. All of them, in fact, is a net loss for us because they distract us from preparing for conflicts that may one day pose an existential threat to America.

Second, we must acknowledge that a sober analysis and the many simulations that have been conducted prove, the hard truth is that our Armed Forces are not prepared, either doctrinally or materially, to mount a successful battle against China over Taiwan. To attempt to wage such a war would expose our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard to significant harm. The degradation in the capabilities of our Armed Forces could potentially place our national security at great risk for years to come.

China Aircraft Carriers

Depiction of Chinese missiles attacking the U.S. Navy. Image: Chinese Internet.

Third, we need to reorient our national security strategy to the actual defense of our country and no longer as a police force that is sent to fight wars for the benefit of various foreign governments. Not only would this not result in a major increase in the defense budget, but it is also possible to build and maintain a force that could be far more effective at defending our interests and actually cost less, by divesting ourselves of maintaining hundreds of unnecessary overseas bases and fighting unnecessary small wars.

News of our loss in this latest simulation to a Chinese or Russian battle foe should serve as a wakeup call and can be very positive. If we make necessary changes to our national security and military strategy, we can avoid the devastation and bloodshed that would result if we refused to learn the lessons and blindly enter a battle we can’t win. Future generations will not look kindly on the leaders of today who ignore these findings to our harm.

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.



  1. Slack

    August 10, 2021 at 2:02 am

    The great US is a war nation, the great US society is a war society and the great US Congress is a body that hankers for great war in the four big corners of the globe.

    Naturally, the generals and admirals also hanker for war and also for wargaming. In wargaming, you deliberately tweak the system to give the result you desire so that the great body that doles out the dollars will be pursuaded to dole out even more money.

    In real life, the side that gets exhausted first and decides to go home first will be designated as the loser. Not because the winner has better equipment, better systems or bigger budgets. He wins because he is able to grit his teeth and hang on for dear life. Besides, he has nowhere else to go.

  2. Wally

    August 10, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Let’s be honest. Neither China or Russia are capable of even large scale troop exercises and troop movements. The “Red Team,” were Americans.
    Russia has a hard time even assembling and moving a few thousand men against Ukraine and got their rectums bored out by the Chechens.
    Neither force has been battle tested since the Korean and Second World War.

  3. merryinfidel

    August 10, 2021 at 10:23 am

    This “woke” nonsense and pending forced vaccination of our military personnel is destroying the morale in every branch of our armed services. The current regime in Washington is more worried about LGBT, Transgender and politically correct foolishness than they are about building a strong, capable military. China WILL invade and conquer Taiwan and there’s not a damned thing we can do about it…

  4. stogieguy7

    August 10, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    At this point in time, I have no doubt that China (and likely Russia) would defeat us in a head to head conflict. They are focused and disciplined and our side is worried about men wearing dresses and the myth of “systemic racism”. You want to see “systemic racism”? Try being conquered by communist China. Then you’ll see what that actually means, you woke idiots.

    Left wing idiots are to blame for this lack of preparedness. We should have our systems/grid hardened against EMP hazards too. No, we’re more worried about EV charging stations. Again, the left has been killing our kids here. Simply stated, you can’t be focused on ‘social justice’ and winning wars at the same time. The two things have nothing to do with one another. We had a president who understood this and we need another.

  5. John Hinman

    August 11, 2021 at 5:35 am

    China has used our own Intelligence to one up on us. Between stealing it through cyber attacks and their infiltration into the Democrat party. And the lefts weakening of America in every front. Gen. Miley is more worried to find out more about his whiteness. The morale & readiness is horrible, and what kind of men are enlisting these days, if they are real men. What if there was a war and a draft began, would any of the sunflowers even bother to show up or run. We don’t have the same men we did 60 years ago, not even 20 years ago. I served in Vietnam and they are all Sally’s out there who I wouldn’t want next to me.

  6. F16JetJock

    August 11, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    The strategy is to permit them to win. Why? Because the USA has super-secret weapons that the USA would only use in a genuine defensive war. Indeed, the weapons technology has been in development since General George S. Patton captured most of Germany’s advanced anti-gravity torsion-field craft in 1945. He also helped capture all of the latter engineers and scientists (before the Russian’s did). However, he did not capture the German technology and flying-saucer weapons that the Germans kept underground in Antarctica, technology that was revealed to Admiral Byrd in 1947 in Operation Highjump. The source of the technology that was thirty-years more advanced than USA technology? A combination of both alien and Nicola Tesla technology that the latter sold to the German military in 1914.

    Hence, considering Moore’s Law of technology tripling every three years, we can only imagine how far advanced the USA weapons-sector technology has advanced since 1945. When President Reagan proposed Star Wars technology in 1983, unbeknownst to him, we already had it in orbit around the earth since the 1970s.

    Remember the Hawaiian nuclear missile scare in 2018? That was no “red-button” human-error issue; that was for real. North Korea did indeed launch missiles that USA weapons technology destroyed shortly after the missiles were launched. Thereinafter Lil’ Kim Jong-un remained a good boy.

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