“The next U.S. administration will face an increasingly emboldened and aggressive China — one that has shown a growing willingness to use coercive measures to stake its territorial claims from the South China Sea to Taiwan to the Indian border region. Although neither Washington nor Beijing wants a war, there is a real risk that miscalculation could cause a crisis to spiral into a conflict between these two nuclear-armed powers.

“To prevent conflict, the United States must maintain the military capability to deter China by demonstrating the ability to deny the success of such aggression or impose costs so high that Beijing steps back from the brink. The problem is this: If the Pentagon’s own reported war games and analysis are to be believed, the current force may well be insufficient to deter or defeat Chinese aggression in the future…”

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