An intensifying technological arms race across air, sea, land, and space lies at the heart of the growing strategic contest between the United States and China.
This rivalry straddles military and economic domains, and influencing it are the respective countries industrial policies, foreign direct investment, research and development programs, and threat assessments.
It is taking place against a backdrop of a new age in global communication and the complexities of economic interdependence, as well as the blurring of military and civilian boundaries.
What are the regional and global implications of technological defense competition between these two great powers? How can policymakers from both countries ensure its ends are peaceful?
Thomas G. Mahnken is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
He is a Senior Research Professor at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and has served for over 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including tours in Iraq and Kosovo.
He currently serves as a member of the Congressionally-mandated National Defense Strategy Commission and as a member of the Board of Visitors of Marine Corps University. His previous government career includes service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning from 2006–2009, where he helped craft the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and 2008 National Defense Strategy. He served on the staff of the 2014 National Defense Panel, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, and the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He served in the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment and as a member of the Gulf War Air Power Survey. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service and in 2016 the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal.
Dr. Mahnken is the author of Strategy in Asia: The Past, Present and Future of Regional Security (Stanford University Press, 2014), Competitive Strategies for the 21st Century: Theory, History, and Practice (Stanford University Press, 2012), Technology and the American Way of War Since 1945 (Columbia University Press, 2008), and Uncovering Ways of War: U.S. Intelligence and Foreign Military Innovation, 1918–1941 (Cornell University Press, 2002), among other works.
Tai Ming Cheung is an associate professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy and director of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) at University of California, San Diego. He is a longtime analyst and leading expert on Chinese and East Asian defense and national security affairs, especially related to economic, industrial, technology and innovation issues. Cheung worked as a journalist, and political and business risk consultant in Asia from the mid-1980s to 2002 covering political, economic, and strategic developments in greater China.
His book Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy was published in 2009, followed by Forging China’s Military Might: A New Framework for Assessing Innovation, which he edited. He was previously a correspondent at the Far Eastern Economic Review.
As IGCC director, Cheung leads the Institute’s Study of Technology and Innovation, examining the evolving relationship between technology and national security in China. He also manages the institute’s Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, bringing together senior foreign ministry, defense officials and academics from around the globe.
Tai Ming Cheung and Thomas Mahnken are co-editors of a newly released book, The Gathering Pacific Storm: Emerging US-China Strategic Competition in Defense Technological and Industrial Development.