Report Launch―The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan
Please join the CSIS International Security Program for the launch of a new report titled The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan by Mark Cancian, Matthew Cancian, and Eric Heginbotham. This event will feature a presentation by the report’s authors and a panel discussion with Lt Gen David A. Deptula USAF (Ret.), Becca Wasser, and Professor William S. Murray.
What was once unthinkable—direct conflict between the United States and China—has now become a commonplace discussion in the national security community. Although Chinese plans are unclear, a military invasion is not out of the question and would constitute China’s most dangerous solution to its “Taiwan problem.”
This CSIS project designed a wargame to model a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan in 2026 and ran it 24 times in a variety of scenarios. Although Taiwan survived as an autonomous entity in most scenarios, losses to the United States, Taiwan, and Japan were heavy.
Insights across the 24 game iterations included the vulnerability of surface ships, the massive coalition aircraft losses on the ground, the effectiveness of long-range antiship missiles, the critical importance of Taiwanese ground forces, and the need for access to operating bases in Japan. Based on the insights, the project makes a variety of recommendations to strengthen deterrence.
This event is made possible by the Smith Richardson Foundation (SRF).