A new report by global policy think tank RAND Corporation says the U.S. Armed Forces would face a considerable challenge in a hypothetical conflict with China’s army.
“Over the past two decades, China’s People’s Liberation Army has transformed itself from a large but antiquated force into a capable, modern military,” the report reads. “Its technology and operation proficiency still lag behind those of the United States, but it has rapidly narrowed the gap.”
The 430-page report, written by 14 academic scholars, explores 10 areas of operation and lists a “scorecard” for each. Two scenarios were analyzed for each operation area, including an invasion of Taiwan and a Spratly Islands campaign.
One of the key findings in the study was China’s ambitious expansion of military capabilities since 1996. While the country’s forces don’t have the same geopolitical influence as the United States, the force would be able to mount a strong defense on its immediate periphery. U.S. forces do retain an advantage, however the speed by which China was able to improve its own capabilities is significant.