Not So Fast: Insights From a 1944 War Plan Help Explain Why Invading Taiwan is a Costly Gamble

War on the Rocks – In 1944 U.S. military planners drafted a plan to invade Taiwan: Operation Causeway. The plan was ultimately rejected by senior leaders due to the high costs and risks relative to alternatives for advancing against Tokyo. Analyzing Causeway provides a historical baseline against which to assess the enduring challenges of joint forcible entry operations, particularly those executed from the sea. Put simply, crossing a contested sea only to fight on complex, canalizing terrain against a deliberate defense-in-depth makes amphibious assault in Taiwan a more complex operation than even the famed 1944 Operation Overlord — the D-Day landings. A mix of Taiwanese defense planning and the reality of modern battle network competition compound these challenges, making an invasion likely harder in 2022 than in 1944.

The Second Anglo-Icelandic Cod War (1972–73)—Analysis of a Modern Sea Dispute and Implications for the South China Sea

US Naval War College Review – Analysis of the strategies employed by the British navy and Icelandic coast guard during the third Anglo-Icelandic sea dispute, in 1972–73, and the context in which they did so illuminates how modern sea disputes exist in the realm of competition for limited objectives, not warfare, and how the use of force can jeopardize recognition of the claims involved.

Countering China’s “Trident” Strategy—Frustrating China’s Aims in the East and South China Seas and the Indian Ocean

US Naval War College Review – China is trying to construct a naval strategy to deny U.S. forces freedom of action in the western Pacific Ocean. Looking back to the U.S. Navy’s last major strategic contest, against the Soviet navy during the Cold War, provides comparisons between Soviet and Chinese strategies that yield insights and analogies that can help develop more effective countermeasures against undesirable Chinese initiatives.

Hedging With Humility: Reassessing China’s Power Projection Capabilities Against Taiwan

War on the Rocks –  We offer a broader analysis of how China’s industrial base and civilian fleet might catalyze other operational approaches and timelines for taking Taiwan by rapidly erasing these supposed deficits in lift and firepower. With U.S. intervention, Taiwan can be defended and China can be deterred through this decade and beyond, but China’s capabilities should first be seen holistically for what they are and appreciated for what they can soon become.

PLA aircraft carrier Shandong holds drills in South China Sea in full combat group

Global Times – The Shandong, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s second aircraft carrier and the first domestically built, recently held comprehensive drills in the South China Sea in a group consisting of full combat elements, which analysts said on Thursday showed the carrier is becoming ready for far sea operations.

For 1st time China sends ground, naval, air forces to join Russian Vostok drills

Global Times – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has dispatched forces to join the upcoming Vostok-2022 in Russia, with PLA ground and air forces having already arrived at the designated drill region and naval forces being rendezvoused with Russian warships at sea. This is the first time the PLA has sent three of its forces to participate in a single Russian drill, observers said.

Decisionmaking at the Speed of the Digital Era

CSIS – The United States has stated it is in a strategic competition with China. Analysts and actors identify the need to rapidly iterate through concepts and capabilities to develop new, more effective means of engaging in that competition. At present, however, the Department of Defense underutilizes publicly available data and the software development community to build tools that enable faster modeling, hypothesis testing, and variability analysis than traditional wargaming or modeling alone. This brief describes the speed and utility of developing a simple software tool to stress test a hypothetical People’s Republic of China (PRC) surprise attack against U.S. facilities in the Indo-Pacific.

Implications of a Coercive Quarantine of Taiwan by the People’s Republic of China

RAND – China’s coercive options for Taiwan range from routine violations of Taiwan’s declared Air Defense Identification Zone to a full-scale invasion. Within the spectrum are efforts to isolate Taiwan to prevent it from sending exports or receiving imports. Typically, this would be called a blockade. However, because China does not view the government on Taiwan as sovereign and thus rejects the idea that a state of war could exist, blockadeis not the correct term. Therefore, in this report, the authors examine how China might implement a quarantine of Taiwan. Unlike in a blockade scenario, China’s goals for the quarantine would not be to completely cut off food and supplies to Taiwan, but rather to demonstrate de facto sovereignty by controlling the air and maritime space around the island, as well as which cargo deliveries, ships, aircraft, and people have access to Taiwan.

The Return of Great Power War: Scenarios of Systemic Conflict Between the United States and China

RAND – The authors develop two scenarios of systemic U.S.-China conflict. The first scenario features a low-intensity conflict that unfolds across much of the world, across many domains, and over many years. The second features a high-intensity war that evolves out of the low-intensity war. The high-intensity war scenario envisions aggressive actions by both countries to destroy the warfighting capability of the adversary and carries an extremely high risk of escalation to the most destructive levels.

PLA to conduct regular combat readiness security patrol in Taiwan Straits

Global Times – The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command on Wednesday announced it will conduct regular combat readiness security patrols in the Taiwan Straits after declaring a successful conclusion of recent drills around the island, which experts said indicates that the PLA is ready for combat whenever national sovereignty and territorial integrity is threatened. 

PLA drills around Taiwan continue to ‘rehearse reunification operation’ amid Pelosi’s visit, ‘exercises blockading island to become routine’

Global Times – Joint military exercises around the island of Taiwan by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continued Wednesday with a joint blockade, sea assault and land and air combat trainings, involving the use of advanced weapons including J-20 stealth fighter jets and DF-17 hypersonic missiles after the drills started on Tuesday evening, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed on the island which seriously violates China’s sovereignty.

Chinese Military Actions Against Foreign Ships, Aircraft Are No Accidents — They’re Policy

USNI News – The increasingly frequent aggressive actions by the Peoples Liberation Army Air Force like “chaffing” an Australian patrol aircraft in international waters and causing a Canadian patrol aircraft to alter its course to avoid a collision off North Korea “look like a pattern and policy” dictated by Beijing rather than random acts by pilots, the Pentagon’s senior official on Indo-Pacific security said Tuesday.

China’s Nuclear Powered Super Long-Range Torpedo Concept Fits Concerning Pattern

War Zone – Imagine low-cost nuclear-powered torpedoes that can travel largely undetected in a swarm across the Pacific Ocean and strike U.S. targets in about a week. To a group of researchers in Beijing, that’s not just a fever dream, it’s a concept they believe they can turn into reality. And an ambition U.S. State Department officials have been warning about.