The US Army’s Special Operations Command (USASOC) simulated defending Taiwan from a Chinese invasion in the latest example of the US military preparing for a direct war with China.
According to Military.com, the drills were part of the USASOC’s annual capabilities exercise, or CAPEX, which took place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The soldiers simulated being inserted into Taiwan during a Chinese attack.
It marks the first-ever use of Taiwan as a scenario for the annual exercise and demonstrates the US Army’s shift away from counterterrorism to preparing for wars with major powers.
Military officials leading the drill explicitly named China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as the enemy, which Military.com said was “an unusually direct move, given the military’s hesitancy to overtly suggest conflict.”
Lt. Gen. Jonathan P. Braga, commanding general of USASOC, said in a speech ahead of the exercise that China, “in accordance with our national defense strategy, is our true pacing challenge out there.”
An unnamed Green Beret officer told a crowd during the drills that he was “going to receive a brief from my boss giving us a task to conduct an operation to counter the PLA on the island of Taiwan.”
President Biden has said several times now that he would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, breaking from the decade-old policy of strategic ambiguity on the issue. In September 2022, Biden was asked explicitly if, unlike Ukraine, he would send American men and women to defend Taiwan from an invasion. He replied, “Yes,” and the White House didn’t walk back the pledge.