U.S. Intel: U.S. would beat China in a war

    The PLA has strong capabilities but the Americans have experience, a US military intelligence official has said.

    The World News Herald
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    If a conflict between Washington and Beijing broke out today, the more experienced American force would prevail but with significant casualties, a US military intelligence official has told reporters.

    The unnamed official gave a background briefing on Monday about threats facing the US military. He downplayed the Chinese H-20 stealth bomber, currently in development, as “probably nowhere near as good” as the American B-2 or the upcoming B-21 – while praising the Chinese J-20 fighter as “highly capable.”

    “The biggest… challenge for the Chinese side is actually not so much capability of actual systems, it’s more capability of personnel to effectively employ those systems at speed and at scale,” the official was quoted as saying by Defense One and Breaking Defense.

    While the US military has “a lot of experience fighting wars,” the Chinese “don’t really have anybody right now at all, in the PLA, who’s actually been in a war.” 

    This relative inexperience would translate into the US winning a hypothetical war with China – although with large-scale losses – should one break out today, said the Defense One source.

    The Pentagon is proceeding with plans to modernise the US military because Chinese President Xi Jinping “almost certainly” believes a war with Washington is inevitable, noted the official.

    “I don’t want to rely on the Chinese not being good. Because we’re not going to know they’re not good until they’re shooting at us, and I don’t want to be in a position where I find out, ‘Oh, they actually are that good’. That’s a problem.” the official concluded.

    Discussions about Chinese capabilities in Washington have been taking place against the backdrop of a debate about the B-21 bomber program. In February, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall urged the government to commit to the program, arguing that for at least 20 years, China has been building a military “purpose-built to deter and defeat” the US.

    Earlier this month, however, Air Force chief of staff General David Allvin told the Senate that new developing technologies might complement the B-21, so the service might not end up getting 100 of the bombers as originally planned. The plane, intended to become operational by 2030, is still under development at Northrop Grumman.


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