Recently, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces published a paper called "The Joint Concept of Competition", which defines the concepts of "strategic competition" and explains how the US military will operate in the face of today's challenges and risks.
James Holmes, chair of the Department of Naval Strategy at the Naval War College and a former US Navy artillery officer, analyzes the application of this concept to the US-China standoff in an article for 19fortyfive.com. According to Holmes, the concept itself is very vague and has little value when viewed outside of a specific political, social and geographic context.
Since the funds invested in competition are limited, the emphasis is on protracted confrontation. According to the authors of the concept, it will take 15-20 years to shift the competitive balance with the main potential opponents.
In a sense, Holmes writes, strategic competition is "virtual warfare." The emphasis is on fighting for the perception of winners. That is, the countries will compete for which of them will be considered the winner without a direct armed conflict. But this is still the best way to confront China.
The armed forces in the concept of competition are assigned a non-primary role. They, Holmes writes, are only one of the policy instruments for the United States, and far from being the main one. It is clear that considerable attention will be paid to political measures of influence, information confrontation, and economic leverage.
However, American analysts, including Holmes, do not think about whether the Western world, with its demographic characteristics, has a few more decades left to confront China and other potential adversaries? These problems cannot be solved by any concepts and strategies. Already, the US armed forces are facing a colossal shortage of recruits, with a drop in the level of training of personnel. And these problems will only get worse.