A set of “scorecards” assesses the relative capabilities of U.S. and Chinese military forces in diverse types of conflict, at varying distances from the Chinese mainland, and at different points in time.
Although China continues to lag behind the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its capabilities relative to those of the U.S. in many critical areas. Moreover, China does not need to catch up fully in order to challenge U.S. ability to conduct effective military operations near the Chinese mainland.
Although the China-U.S. agenda is jammed with pressing issues, time must be found to improve procedures and channels to defuse crises and avert military miscalculation. Political leaders should not wait for a crisis before scrutinizing war-fighting plans and insisting on ones that strengthen, not weaken, stability.
RAND identifies seven military missions for unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) that appear most promising to pursue in terms of military need, operational and technical risks, non-UUV alternatives, and cost.