Issue Briefs

Taiwan Tripwire: A New Role For The U.S. Army In Deterring Chinese Aggression (From Forbes)

Taiwan Tripwire: A New Role For The U.S. Army In Deterring Chinese Aggression (From Forbes)

Loren B. Thompson

March 26th, 2021

A potential Chinese occupation of Taiwan has become the most pressing concern facing U.S. military commanders in the Western Pacific. Washington needs to raise the stakes for Beijing in a way that more effectively deters aggression against the island nation. One way to do that is to permanently station a U.S. Army armored brigade in Taiwan that could help indigenous forces resist invasion. Armored brigade combat teams are among the most lethal ground formations in the world, but their real value in Taiwan is that they would force Beijing to contemplate engaging with U.S. military forces on the first day of conflict. In other words, they would be a “tripwire” virtually guaranteeing that Washington responds forcefully to an effort aimed at occupying the island. In such circumstances, China is much less likely to launch an attack. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.

The views and opinions expressed in this issue brief are those of the author.

Loren B. Thompson is a Senior Adviser at GPI, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.