Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen Hicks was briefed on the new tool during a visit to the United States Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii.
"With the spectrum of conflict and the challenge sets spanning down into the grey zone. What you see is the need to be looking at a far broader set of indicators, weaving that together and then understanding the threat interaction," Hicks said.
The tool calculates "strategic friction," a defence official said. It looks at data since early 2020 and evaluates significant activities that had impacted US-Sino relations. The computer-based system will help the Pentagon predict whether certain actions will provoke an outsized Chinese reaction.
In October, the Chinese military condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.
The incident and others like it have fuelled demand for the tool, the US official said, to ensure the United States does not inadvertently upset China with its actions, or see how far it can push it.