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U.S. Would Run Out of Munitions In A Week In Conflict With China: New Report

Experts say China is investing in munitions and high-end weapons five to six times faster than the U.S.

The U.S. military is “not adequately prepared” for war and would likely run out of munitions within days of the start of a war with China, according to a Washington D.C. think-tank.

A series of war games were conducted by the bipartisan, nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and found that if the U.S. went to war with China over Taiwan, the U.S. would run out of munitions “in less than one week.”

CSIS researchers say in a new report that the deficiencies undermine strategic deterrence and highlight that the U.S. defense apparatus lacks adequate capacity for a major war.

“These problems are particularly concerning since China is heavily investing in munitions and acquiring high-end weapons systems and equipment five to six times faster than the United States, according to some U.S. government estimates,” the report adds.

The war in Ukraine is partly to blame for depleted stocks of some weapons systems and munitions, while the Department of Defense (DoD) “has been slow to replenish its arsenal, and the DoD has only placed on contract a fraction of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine,” according to the report.

Policy experts have been divided over the possibility that China may soon launch a military operation aimed at re-taking Taiwan by force. However, a top U.S. military official says an invasion could come by the end of 2023.

Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, says that China’s two decade track record of delivering “every promise they’ve made earlier than they said they were going to deliver on it” shows the Chinese government may try to take Taiwan by force in 2023.

“I can’t rule that out,” he said. “I don’t mean at all to be alarmist by saying that, it’s just that we can’t wish that away.”

A separate report from CSIS was released earlier this month after wargaming 24 times a scenario where China invaded Taiwan. Researchers determined that ultimately the U.S. would likely prevail in a kinetic conflict to defend Taiwan from China, but with extremely high costs.

“A direct clash would constitute the first between nuclear powers and also the first in which both sides possessed the full spectrum of modern military capabilities, such as stealth aircraft, long-range precision munitions, and space surveillance,” CSIS says. “In three weeks, the United States will suffer about half as many casualties as it did in 20 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

CSIS says the scale and suddenness of the losses the U.S. would incur would “shock” U.S. citizens.

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