In the simulated World War III games, US forces are color-coded in blue, while Russian and Chinese forces are marked by the color red. Breaking Defense reported that the war-game showed US armed forces facing substantial losses, despite repeated attempts to overcome both Russia and China's military muscle.
"In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its a** handed to it," David Ochmanek, a RAND analyst, said at the panel. "We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary."
The simulations showed that the US saw major setbacks in all five battlefield domains — land, sea, air, space and cyberspace — and that the US stealth fighters were often wiped out while still on the runway.
Robert Work, a former deputy secretary of defense and an experienced war-gamer, further pointed out that while the "F-35 rules the sky when it's in the sky… it gets killed on the ground in large numbers."
Other scenarios showed that US warships were sunk and US bases reduced to rubble on account of not having enough anti-air and missile defense capabilities to strike back in the event of a high-end conflict.
Both aircraft carriers and US Air Force bases were often targeted by long-range precision-guided missiles, and the US Army's tank brigades were pummeled by cruise missiles, drones and helicopters, officials stated.
"Things that rely on sophisticated base infrastructure like runways and fuel tanks are going to have a hard time, Ochmanek stressed. "Things that sail on the surface of the sea are going to have a hard time."
When it comes to cyber warfare, Ochmanek indicated that US satellites and wireless networks could become ineffective if Chinese military forces were to employ "system destruction warfare."
"The brain and the nervous system that connects all of these pieces is suppressed, if not shattered," he said.
Work went on to say that "these are the things that the war games show over and over and over," and that as such "we need a new American way of war without question."
The latest war simulation follows the publication of the National Defense Strategy Commission report, in which experts stated that if the US were to go to war with Russia or China, it "could face a decisive military threat." The November 2018 report speculated that a fight could break out between the US, Russia and China over the Baltic region or Taiwan.
"These two nations possess precision-strike capabilities, integrated air defenses, cruise and ballistic missiles, advanced cyberwarfare and anti-satellite capabilities, significant air and naval forces, and nuclear weapons — a suite of advanced capabilities heretofore possessed only by the United States," the report reads.
"The US military would face daunting challenges in establishing air superiority or sea control and retaking territory lost early in a conflict. Against an enemy equipped with advanced anti-access/area denial capabilities, attrition of US capital assets — ships, planes, tanks — could be enormous."
"Put bluntly, the US military could lose the next state-versus-state war it fights," it adds.
According to Work, a major conflict isn't likely to happen for another 10 to 20 years, giving the US time to bolster its military forces in the event of World War III breaking out.