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Return to Twilight: A Model of Great Power Rivalry


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The United States is returning to a strategy of great power competition against rising and revisionist states. As the executive produces strategic guidance and initiatives movement across the whole of government, departments and agencies must determine how best to apply their means in an integrated fashion to achieve the directed ends. The joint force is still developing concepts and terms to address great power rivalry while competing through integrated campaigning. The existing doctrine and capabilities are suitable for employment in competition against adversaries, but there are no models that adequately depict actions below the threshold of armed conflict. This thesis identifies relevant aspects of great power rivalry and models them as a competitive wargame. Critical elements of U.S. and Chinese strategies are discussed at length to identify current methods of implementation and fundamental aspects of competition. Modeling techniques are detailed so they can be replicated and proofed by other wargame designers. Although this model has achieved a modicum of success in the current international security environment, it will need to be revisited and updated to remain relevant as actors modify the means and ways of competition.



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