About Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson's Facebook Profile

View Andrew Erickson's profile on LinkedIn

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson


Dr. Andrew S. Erickson is an Associate Professor in, and a core founding member of, the U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). CMSI is located in the Strategic and Operational Research Department (SORD), within the Center for Naval Warfare Studies (CNWS), NWC’s research arm. Erickson serves on the Naval War College Review’s Editorial Board. Since 2008, he has been an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Erickson is also an expert contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report (中国实时报), for which he has authored or coauthored thirty-five articles. 

Erickson is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012, the National Bureau of Asian Research awarded him the inaugural Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies. During academic year 2010-11, Erickson was a Fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program in residence at Harvard’s Center for Government and International Studies. From 2008-11, he was a Fellow in the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program, and served as a scholar escort on a five-Member Congressional trip to China. He has also helped escort the Commander of China’s Navy and his delegation on a visit to Harvard; and worked to help establish, and escort the first iteration of, a bilateral naval officer exchange program.

Erickson has taught courses at NWC and Yonsei University. He advises a wide range of student research and theses at NWC, Harvard, and other institutions; and provides curricular inputs to NWC and other schools. In 2013, while deployed in the Pacific as a Regional Security Education Program scholar aboard USS Nimitz, he delivered twenty-five hours of presentations. Erickson has lectured extensively at government, academic, and private sector institutions throughout the United States and Asia. He has briefed the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, his Executive Panel, the Secretary of the Navy, and U.S. naval leadership throughout the Asia-Pacific; as well as the Deputy Secretary of Defense, other Executive Branch officials, and multiple Members of Congress. He has testified before the House Foreign Affairs CommitteeHouse Armed Services Committee, and U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Erickson has provided inputs for, and reviews of, various government programs and reports. 

Erickson received his Ph.D. and M.A. in international relations and comparative politics from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in history and political science. He has studied Mandarin in the Princeton in Beijing program at Beijing Normal University’s College of Chinese Language and Culture; and Japanese language, politics, and economics in the year-long Associated Kyoto Program at Doshisha University. Erickson previously worked for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a Chinese translator and technical analyst. He gained early experience working briefly at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, the U.S. Senate, and the White House. Proficient in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Japanese, he has traveled extensively in Asia and has lived in China, Japan, and Korea.

Erickson’s research—which focuses on Asia-Pacific defense, international relations, technology, and resource issues—has been published widely in English- and Chinese-language edited volumes and in such peer-reviewed journals as China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary ChinaAsian Security, Journal of Strategic StudiesOrbis, Asia PolicyPacific Focus, China Security, and Acta Astronautica; as well as in Foreign Affairs, The Washington QuarterlyThe National Interest, The American Interest, Foreign Policy, War on the RocksJoint Force Quarterly, IHS Jane’sGeopolitics of Energy, Global Health GovernanceFudan American Review, and Peking University’s China International Strategy Review (Chinese- and English-language editions) and International and Strategic Studies ReportErickson has also published annotated translations of several Chinese articles on maritime strategy. His coauthored Foreign Affairs.com article, “Not-So-Empty Talk: The Danger of China’s ‘New Type of Great-Power Relations’ Slogan,” has been read widely in U.S. and Asian policy circles. Erickson’s National Interest article “Showtime: China Reveals Two ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missiles” received more than 65,000 page views in its first 24 hours online. His RealClearDefense piece “What Sort of Navy America Needs” registered 60,000 page views in its first 24 hours online.

Erickson is the author of Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Development (Jamestown Foundation, 2013). He is coauthor of two books: Gulf of Aden Anti-Piracy and China’s Maritime Commons Presence (Jamestown, 2015) and Assessing China’s Cruise Missile Ambitions (National Defense University, 2014). He has coauthored three additional volumes: Charting China’s International Security Activism (Center for a New American Security, 2015) and the CMSI monographs Chinese Antipiracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden (2013) and Chinese Mine Warfare (2009). Erickson is the editor of two volumes: a study of China’s military and commercial shipbuilding industry (Naval Institute Press, forthcoming) and History of Rocketry and Astronautics: Proceedings of the 47th History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (held in Beijing, 2013). He is coeditor of, and a contributor to, eight volumes: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia-Pacific (2014); the five-volume Naval Institute Press book series, “Studies in Chinese Maritime Development,” comprising Chinese Aerospace Power (2011), China, the U.S., and 21st Century Sea Power (2010), China Goes to Sea (2009), China’s Energy Strategy (2008), and China’s Future Nuclear Submarine Force (2007); as well as the CMSI volume China’s Near Seas Combat Capabilities (2014), and the Naval War College Newport Paper China’s Nuclear Force Modernization (2005). 

Erickson’s work has been cited widely in scholarly publications and reports from the U.S. government and think tanks such as RAND and the Brookings Institution. He has been quoted extensively in numerous newspapers, magazines, and online sources, including Science, Wired, Bloomberg, The BBCThe Economist, Aviation Week & Space Technology, and The New York Times. Erickson’s work is also featured in a broad range of print, television, radio, and Internet media. Erickson has published op-eds with CBS and the Asahi Shimbun (Japanese- and English-language editions), and has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, CCTV, NHK, and the John Batchelor Show. He tweets via @AndrewSErickson and is listed among The China Studies Twitterati 50.

Erickson is co-founder of China SignPost™ 洞察中国 <www.chinasignpost.com>, a research newsletter and web portal that covers key developments in Greater China, with particular focus on natural resource, technology, industry, and trade issues. He has coauthored 91 China SignPost™ reports. Analyses have anticipated: limitations in the implementation and efficacy of Xi-era reforms (#81), China’s recent stock market slump (#89), and a long-run S-curved slowdown in China’s economic growth rate and overall development trajectory (#44). Links to these, and Erickson’s other publications, can be found at China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国 <www.andrewerickson.com>, a website that posts and curates analyses, many based on Chinese-language sources not previously assessed by foreign observers, to offer insights into China and its impact on the world.

Click here for Chinese-language (中文) version of biography.


  • China’s military and foreign policy
  • Japan/Asia-Pacific security and international relations
  • Chinese defense science, technology, and industry
  • Maritime and aerospace technology development, history and current status
  • Energy, resources, and geostrategy
  • Military basing and power projection
  • Sino-American relations and contemporary policy issues

Contact Information


Associate Professor 副教授
China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI)

Strategic Research Department 战略研究系
U.S. Naval War College 美国海军军事学院
686 Cushing Road 库欣路686号
Newport, RI 02841-1207 美国罗德岛州, 新港
Associate in Research 研究员
John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Harvard University 哈佛大学
1730 Cambridge Street 剑桥街1730号
Cambridge, MA 02138 马萨诸塞州, 剑桥

Co-Founder, China SignPost™ “洞察中国” 联合创始人


“Andrew Erickson may be the best analyst of the Chinese military in the United States today—he is certainly in the top five. He combines technical sophistication, great language skills, diligent research, and a keen understanding of which military policy issues and debates matter most. In my recent book-writing on the subject with Jim Steinberg, I have found Andrew’s work extraordinarily sophisticated and helpful.”

Dr. Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence; Director of Research, Foreign Policy Program; Brookings Institution

“Your insights and contributions to the national debate once again prove the wisdom of the decision to establish the China Maritime Studies Institute at the Naval War College.”

Prof. Craig H. Allen, Judson Falknor Professor of Law, University of Washington Law School

“In the 10 years or so that I’ve attended and presented at domestic and international undersea defense conferences; including those at Sydney, Cannes, Hamburg, Glasgow and London; anytime the subject of Chinese naval power came up, so did the name of Andrew Erickson—undisputably one of the world’s foremost experts in this area.”

—Capt. James Patton, USN (Ret.), Owner, Submarine Tactics & Technology, Inc.

“Andrew’s edited volume on Chinese Aerospace Power is one of the most important books on air and space power I’ve ever read. I’m delighted that he has doubled down on his expertise with the equally important history of Chinese statesman and their effective use of airpower. With his combined talents of linguist, researcher and airpower historian, Andrew is leading the way in his field. Please go to his website, www.andrewerickson.com, and you’ll find insights you won’t find elsewhere!”

Col. Walter J. Boyne, USAF (Ret.), National Aviation Hall of Fame honoree and former director of the National Air and Space Museum; author of Beyond the Wild Blue: A History of the U.S. Air Force, 1947-2007

“My sincere thanks for your advice, your guidance and your support over the last five years.”

–James Barker, First Secretary – Foreign and Security Policy, British Embassy Beijing

“I met Andrew at Harvard five years ago when I was Associate Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Andrew’s research and ideas were of great interest to our associated faculty. He regularly was invited to speak to our colloquia. He continues to be invited by Harvard to join other specialists to talk about issues concerning China. China’s naval modernization and the military implications for all other navies, especially for the United States, is a topic we frequently asked him to speak about. But his research extends from that point to also consider the strategic geo-political aspects of China’s naval development. Because of that his audiences are as likely to include scholars of diplomacy and recent history, as well as military experts. At Harvard we noticed that members of the diplomatic community were often in attendance.”

Dr. Ronald Suleski, Professor of History and Director, Rosenberg Institute for East Asian Studies, Suffolk University

For further assessments of Andrew and his work, see his recommendations on LinkedIn.


Award Ceremony at Spruance Hall Lobby

Website_AE_About_Photo 2

“Experts Discuss Security Risks,” Newsline, NHK World, 16 October 2015.

Website_AE_About_Photo 3

Website_AE_About_Photo 4

Principal Affiliations

The U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s missions are developing strategic and operational leaders, helping the Chief of Naval Operations define the future Navy, strengthening maritime security cooperation and supporting combat readiness. NWC has pioneered strategic thinking about maritime issues for over one hundred years. Since the first class met on 6 October 1884, in an austere loft with nine students, more than 24,000 U.S. military and international officers, as well as hundreds of senior federal service civilian executives, have graduated from NWC. Throughout its history, the college has acted on the belief, first articulated by its founding president, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce, that, “The War College is a place of original research on all questions relating to war and to statesmanship connected with war, or the prevention of war.” Each year, approximately 600 specially-selected mid-career level officers of the Navy, other U.S. services, civilian federal agencies, and international naval officers come to NWC as resident students to pursue a rigorous 10-month course of postgraduate studies. More than half the graduates of the college’s senior international course, the Naval Command College, have subsequently become flag or general officers, and more than 190 have headed their respective services. The college’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies, in which the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) is located, is central to the Navy’s research efforts in maritime strategic thinking.

The China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) supports the research needs of the U.S. Navy and was established in 2006 to increase knowledge and understanding of the maritime dimensions of China’s rise. The institute conducts research in the following areas: energy, global commerce, law of the sea, maritime technologies, merchant marine, naval development, naval diplomacy, and shipbuilding. This approach stems in part from the premise that the U.S.-China maritime relationship will form an essential bedrock for maritime security in the 21st century. CMSI is based in the U.S. Naval War College (NWC), which contributes a broad based, multi-dimensional research, analysis and gaming environment with significant linguistic and technological capabilities. CMSI is located at the nexus of the academic, policy, and operational communities. The close proximity of many of the nation’s leading academic institutions offers the potential for unmatched intellectual synergies. Indeed, CMSI is seeking collaborative partnerships with other government research centers, civilian academic institutions, and other appropriate organizations. Such partnerships will facilitate cutting edge research on China’s maritime development.

The Asia-Pacific Studies Group (APSG) consists of faculty and students at the Naval War College with expertise, experience, or an interest in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, North and South Korea, Russia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Oceania, regional maritime affairs, and U.S. policy and military strategy in the Asia-Pacific region. The APSG acts as a catalyst, coordinator, and implementer of research to serve the needs of the Navy, U.S. Pacific Command, and other elements of the U.S. Government responsible for formulating policy, strategy, and planning related to Asia and the Pacific. At the Naval War College, the group serves as a focal point for information sharing related to major policy developments within the region and U.S. policy. In addition to assisting U.S. national security policy makers, the APSG serves as one of the Naval War College’s primary forums for addressing a full range of Asia-Pacific strategy and policy issues. The APSG hosts guest speakers and convenes periodic seminars for members to report on research in progress. The group performs an important outreach function for the college by facilitating faculty participation in major conferences and research activities in the Asia-Pacific region and in the United States. APSG works with the China Maritime Studies Institute, the Indian Ocean Studies Group, and the John A. van Beuren Chair of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Naval War College to promote greater regional awareness. In addition, the APSG undertakes periodic interactions with other military colleges across the region and with major research organizations devoted to Asia and the Pacific. Finally, APSG performs a coordinating function with the electives program on the growing array of course offerings on the region and on U.S. Asia-Pacific strategy, enabling students to increase their knowledge of this important region and to fulfill the requirements for the College’s Asia-Pacific Studies Concentration. The Asia-Pacific area of studies offers a broad selection of courses from basic surveys on specific countries to more specialized topics of importance to the Navy such as Chinese maritime development.

The John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University has historically been a post-graduate research center. From the start, its purpose has been to support and advance cutting-edge scholarship in the field of Chinese Studies through sponsoring seminars and conferences, through assisting in the publication of research results, and by welcoming postdoctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and associates in research to the Center. The Center is now adding an additional mission, to include undergraduate and graduate students in its intellectual life, by awarding grants to students and student organizations, by inviting student groups to co-sponsor Center events, and by holding functions for students. The Center participates in many of the student-focused activities on campus that have a China component. The Fairbank Center is a unit of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The Center works closely with other Asia-focused institutions within the University including the Asia Center, the Harvard China Fund, the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, the Korea Institute, the South Asia Initiative, the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Harvard-Yenching Library.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. CFR’s current membership of nearly 4,700 is divided among those living in New York, Washington, DC, and across the country and abroad. For those between the ages of thirty and thirty-six there is the Stephen M. Kellen Term Member Program. The Corporate Program serves an international membership of about two hundred leading global corporations. The David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR’s think tank—is composed of more than eighty full-time and adjunct fellows who cover the major regions and significant issues shaping today’s international agenda. The program also includes recipients of several one-year fellowships. The Studies Program is organized into more than a dozen program areas and centers that focus on major geographical areas of the world or significant foreign policy issues, including the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies, the Center for Preventive Action, the International Institutions and Global Governance program, the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative, and the Renewing America initiative. Access to CFR’s high-level discussions—with world leaders, U.S. government officials, CEOs, policy analysts, and others—is available through select videos, audio recordings, and unedited transcripts. Outreach initiatives target constituencies increasingly important to the national foreign policy debate: educators and students; religious and congregational leaders; state and local officials; and nonprofit, civic, and community leaders. The Washington Program actively engages decision-makers in Congress, the executive branch, and the diplomatic community. The bimonthly Foreign Affairs is widely considered to be the most influential magazine for the analysis and debate of foreign policy and economics. Its website, ForeignAffairs.com, publishes original daily features and hosts the complete archives going back to 1922. Independent Task Forces work to reach consensus on how to deal with critical foreign policy challenges. CFR’s website is a trusted, nonpartisan source of timely analysis and context on international events and trends. CFR.org publishes backgrounders, interviews, “first-take” analysis, expert blogs, and a variety of multimedia offerings that include videos, podcasts, interactive timelines, and the Emmy-winning Crisis Guide series. The site also presents the work of CFR’s Think Tank, including books, reports, congressional testimony, and op-eds, as well as audio, video, and transcripts of CFR events. Each weekday morning, the Daily News Brief delivers subscribers an authoritative digest of global news and analysis compiled by CFR.org’s editors.

The Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program offers post-doctoral fellowships to encourage exceptional advanced graduate students and new Ph.D.s to integrate their knowledge of international relations as a discipline with their knowledge of China. The program provides an opportunity for scholars to advance their research, to develop a stronger sense of community with others working on both China and international relations, to forge interdisciplinary ties with China experts in other fields as well as with policy makers and intellectuals without China expertise, and to access the first-class resources in international relations and China that both Princeton and Harvard have to offer.

The Public Intellectuals Program (PIP), launched by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations in 2005, is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of China specialists who, in the tradition of earlier China hands, have the interest and potential to venture outside of academia to engage with the public and policy community. Through a varied set of activities spread out over two-and-a-half years, the program helps twenty young American scholars and specialists working in various disciplines to expand their knowledge of China beyond their own interests by introducing them to other each other as well as specialists from outside their fields. The program offers unique opportunities for professional development, mentoring by senior scholars, networking, and exposure. PIP fellows gain access to senior policymakers and experts in both the United States and China, and to individuals and fields they would not typically be exposed to, including, for instance, the emerging business and nonprofit sectors in China, as well as the media. The program’s ultimate objective is to upgrade the quality of American public understanding of China by strengthening links among U.S. academics, policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public.

Favorite Quotations

“A people which does not possess the power to innovate will never take its place among the advanced nations of the world.”
– Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, 1989-2002; President of the People’s Republic of China, 1993-2003; Chairman of the Central Military Commission, 1989-2005

“There’s a certain exuberance that comes from being out on the edge of technology, where things are not certain, where there is some risk, and where you make something work.”
– Joseph G. Gavin, Jr; director, Apollo Lunar Module Program; president, Grumman Corporation, 1976-85

“不是我不明白, 而是世界变得太快.” – 崔健

“It’s not that I don’t understand, it’s just that the world is changing so fast.”
– Cui Jian, father of Chinese rock music