Gray zone activities involve a wide range of tactics that fall between traditional peace and armed conflict. These tactics can include economic coercion, disinformation campaigns, cyber operations, and other forms of influence and interference.

Chinese gray zone activities encompass a wide range of tactics that fall between traditional peace and armed conflict, including economic coercion, disinformation campaigns, cyber operations, and other forms of influence and interference. Over the past two decades, China's presence in the Western Hemisphere, particularly in Latin America, has grown exponentially, driven by its need for resources, markets, and strategic assets to fuel its economy and advance its global ambitions.

The panel discussion will illuminate several key themes and challenges in addressing Chinese gray zone activities in the Western Hemisphere:

  1. The need for a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach that leverages diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools to promote regional stability (e.g., Integrated deterrence).
  2. The importance of building strong partnerships and alliances with countries to create a collective, unified front against potential adversaries.
  3. The challenge of balancing short-term economic gains from engagement with the PRC against long-term strategic concerns and potential vulnerabilities.
  4. The necessity of promoting good governance, rule of law, and democratic values in the region to counteract the negative consequences of PRC influence.

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This event is part of the For the Common Defense seminar series, run by the Harvard Kennedy School's National Security Fellows. Each seminar explores a different national security or defense-related subject chosen by Fellows to share insights, policy relevant knowledge, and professional expertise with students and fellows.

The panelists for this event are practitioners, policymakers, and scholars with extensive experience in the fields of defense, security, and international relations, providing valuable insights into the complexities and nuances of Chinese gray-zone activities in the Western Hemisphere.

Assistant Secretary Melissa Dalton: Sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs on March 4, 2022, Ms. Dalton is responsible for advising the Secretary of Defense and other senior defense leaders on defense continuity and mission assurance, homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities, and U.S. defense and security policy for the Western Hemisphere.

Admiral Craig Faller: A retired U.S. Navy admiral, Admiral Faller commanded United States Southern Command from 2018 to 2021, where he led a diverse team of seven thousand people focused on enhancing Western Hemisphere security through strong, trusted partnerships between the U.S. military and Latin American and Caribbean security forces.

Dr. Ryan Berg: As the director of the Americas Program and head of the Future of Venezuela Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dr. Berg's research focuses on U.S.-Latin America relations, authoritarian regimes, armed conflict, strategic competition, and trade and development issues.