“With the spectrum of conflict and the challenge sets spanning down into the gray zone, what you see is the need to be looking at a far broader set of indicators, weaving that together and then understanding the threat interaction,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said last week.
The military’s new software will purportedly analyze such indicators to determine what effect various arms sales, U.S.-backed military activity, and congressional visits might provoke actions from the Chinese regime.
By analyzing what response from the CCP these actions might receive, it is hoped that the military and its civilian leadership will be able to prevent circumstances that might anger the regime and reduce tensions between the United States and the Chinese regime.
Though the exact data that the software utilizes was not made public, the Pentagon did say that the data was gathered beginning in 2020. That means that nearly the entirety of the information that the software is built upon was taken during the strange times of the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. It is unclear how that limitation may affect the accuracy of the software.
It is also unclear if the software can predict CCP diplomatic and military reactions near or better than United States’ human diplomats and commanders can.
In all, the software appears to fall in line with a broader trend in the Biden administration’s policy platform regarding China. To date, the administration has generally preferred attempts to curb CCP aggression while avoiding outright confrontation. This approach of non-confrontation, however, has been characterized as “appeasement” to bad actors manipulating the United States and the international community.
The announcement came during a week of mixed signals concerning U.S.-China policy and the potential for military conflict between the two nations, with the CCP continuing to push remarks on its visions to “reunify” Taiwan.
Just days before the software was announced, military commanders from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command met with their counterparts from air and naval elements of the Chinese military as part of an annual meeting of the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement working group (MMCA).
The MMCA was chartered back in 1998 with the goal of strengthening military maritime safety and improving understanding between the forces when following international laws and norms.
Major General Christopher McPhillips, the lead officer for the U.S. MMCA delegation, said that the forum provided “a guardrail for military encounters” and “straightforward conversation” between American and Chinese forces.
Conversely, even as McPhillips was meeting with his Chinese counterpart, other U.S. forces were conducting joint military exercises with Japan, which has been increasingly vocal about its willingness to defend itself and Taiwan from Chinese communist aggression.
The exercises, dubbed Resolute Dragon, were the largest-ever bilateral field exercises in Japan, with over 4,000 Marines training alongside their Japanese counterparts over a swath of 1,800 miles of the Japanese islands. In all, Resolute Dragon culminated with large scale missions against targets aimed at sea denial, such as would be used in the event of war with China over Taiwan.
Reuters contributed to this report.