Reports & Papers

138 Items

A 10 Squadron AP-3C awaits its crew as the sun rises over RAAF Base Edinburgh, Australia.

Wade Roberts

Paper

Winning Strategic Competition in the Indo-Pacific

| September 2020

The strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific involving the United States, Australia and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is arguably the most significant contemporary international relations issue. It spans all aspects of state power: hard, sharp and soft; diplomatic, information, military and economic; and all domains: air, sea, land, space, cyber, technology and innovation. But in their rush to recover ground perceived to be already lost to the CCP, neither the U.S. nor Australia have paused to devote sufficient attention to understanding the nature of strategic competition, to comprehend what winning it actually means, and therefore to grasp how best to approach it. As a result, they both continue to cede the initiative to the CCP, while it continues to compete on the terms most favorable to it.

A Watrix employee works at his desk in their company’s offices in Beijing, October 31, 2018. Watrix, a Chinese technology startup hopes to begin selling software that recognizes people by their body shape and how they walk, enabling identification when faces are hidden from cameras.

AP Photo / Mark Schiefelbein

Paper - Project Syndicate

Is China Beating the U.S. to AI Supremacy?

| August 2020

Combining decades of experience advancing frontier technologies, on the one hand, and analyzing national security decisionmaking, on the other, we have been collaborating over the past year in an effort to understand the national security implications of China’s great leap forward in artificial intelligence (AI). Our purpose in this essay is to sound an alarm over China’s rapid progress and the current prospect of it overtaking the United States in applying AI in the decade ahead; to explain why AI is for the autocracy led by the Chinese Communist Party (hereafter, the “Party”) an existential priority; to identify key unanswered questions about the dangers of an unconstrained AI arms race between the two digital superpowers; and to point to the reasons why we believe that this is a race the United States can and must win.

Tractors on Westminster bridge

AP/Matt Dunham

Paper - Institut für Sicherheitspolitik

The Global Order After COVID-19

| 2020

Despite the far-reaching effects of the current pandemic,  the essential nature of world politics will not be transformed. The territorial state will remain the basic building-block of international affairs, nationalism will remain a powerful political force, and the major powers will continue to compete for influence in myriad ways. Global institutions, transnational networks, and assorted non-state actors will still play important roles, of course, but the present crisis will not produce a dramatic and enduring increase in global governance or significantly higher levels of international cooperation. In short, the post-COVID-19 world will be less open, less free, less prosperous, and more competitive than the world many people expected to emerge only a few years ago.

A traveler on a train from Kaohsiung to Taipei watches the news about Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s re-election on Sunday, January 12, 2020.

AP

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Combatting and Defeating Chinese Propaganda and Disinformation: A Case Study of Taiwan’s 2020 Elections

| July 2020

Using Taiwan’s most recent elections as an example to elucidate the nature of Chinese propaganda and disinformation, this report identifies China’s motives, tactics, and actors in its foreign information warfare.

A satellite view of Djibouti, showing the U.S. Navy’s Camp Lemonnier (bottom) and the People’s Liberation Army Support Base (top).

2020 Google Earth / Maxar Technologies, used with permission.

Paper

Cooperation, Competition, or Both? Options for U.S. Land Forces vis-à-vis Chinese Interests in Africa

| June 2020

This paper responds to a topic from the Army War College’s Key Strategic Issues List, 2018-2020: Evaluate the ramifications of China’s and/or Russia’s interests in Africa for U.S. land forces and suggest options, both to compete and to cooperate, to further U.S. interests.

While U.S. land forces may benefit from competition or cooperation with Chinese elements in Africa, I judge that they possess limited agency to compete or cooperate in the context of these definitions. Therefore, I will take a whole-of-government approach to furthering U.S. interests in Africa vis-à-vis China.

Paper

Confronting China’s Efforts to Steal Defense Information

| May 2020

The United States government must require private industry and research institutions to take this threat seriously and develop cybersecurity policy and practices that will result in multiple layers of cybersecurity protections. This layered approach will require combined efforts from both the government and private industry to create an overlapping protection scheme.

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Paper

The Case for Transatlantic Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific

| Dec. 18, 2019

The evolving strategic dynamics in the Indo-Pacific are of paramount importance for the future of the rules-based international order. While the United States is redirecting strategic focus to the region as part of its Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy, Europe is also stepping up its role—leveraging a strong economic profile, long-standing bilateral ties, and active engagement in various regional multilateral forums. The European Union (EU) and its member states can make distinct contributions to an open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based regional order, though not necessarily always in lockstep with Washington.

Workers dismantle the Belt and Road Forum logo next to the “Golden Bridge of Silk Road” structure outside the media center as leaders are attending the round table summit of the Belt and Road Forum chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Saturday, April 27, 2019

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Triangle in the Long Game

| June 19, 2019

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how China’s new power is reaching Europe, the challenges that it poses, and the European responses to this new reality. This process has to be examined in the context of the current strategic competition between China and the U.S. and its reflection on the transatlantic relationship.

The flag of the People’s Republic of China flies on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan during a port call in Hong Kong, November 21, 2018

AP / Kin Cheung

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Coherence and Comprehensiveness: An American Foreign Policy Imperative

| March 2019

As the United States now confronts the prospect of a multi-faceted and quite possibly generational competition with China—underscored not only by recent Trump Administration public statements but also by the clear emergence of bipartisan support for a firm posture against certain Chinese practices—it is essential that U.S. policymakers take steps to ensure our approach is as coherent and comprehensive as possible. (As we make this point, we offer our hope that the relationship between the U.S. and China, unquestionably the most important in the world, can evolve into one that is mutually beneficial and avoids confrontation.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (left) and Philippine Secretary of National Defense Voltaire Gazmin (right) shake hands on a Marine Corps V-22 Osprey as they depart the USS Stennis after touring the aircraft carrier as it sails the South China Sea April 15, 2016.

SMSgt Adrian Cadiz / DoD

Report

Reflections on American Grand Strategy in Asia

| October 2018

To understand how I approached China during my time as Secretary, it’s important to note that I don’t see U.S. strategy in Asia as centered on China at all. I said many times: We don’t have a China policy, we have an Asia policy. The heart of that policy is a mesh of political, diplomatic, economic, and military relationships with many nations that has sustained security and underwritten an extraordinary leap in economic development.

During my time as Secretary, I referred to this structure over and over as the “principled, inclusive network.” Enunciating and reinforcing its strategic and military dimensions in a rapidly changing security environment was my constant priority as Secretary of Defense. Even amid pressing challenges such as the fight against ISIS and the need to confront Russian aggression, no other issue I dealt with had such lasting implications for our national security and prosperity.

My three-word title for this policy was admittedly not very catchy. But my counterparts in the region understood it. They understood that all three words have been essential to its success and will remain essential to its future.