01 August 2008

National Security Challenges and Competition: Defense and Space R&D in the Chinese Strategic Context

Andrew S. Erickson and Kathleen Walsh, “National Security Challenges and Competition: Defense and Space R&D in the Chinese Strategic Context,” Technology in Society: An International Journal, special issue “Science and technology in China, India, and the United States: Assessments and Comparisons,” 30.3-4 (August-November 2008): 349-61.

Over the nearly six decades since the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established, the United States and China have followed very different political, military, and economic development paths. Yet, the approach each country is currently pursuing to enhance its military and commercial technology development, particularly in the defense and space areas, is becoming remarkably similar in many respects. This article outlines China’s past and present strategies for developing defense and space capabilities, Beijing’s phased approach to defense industrial and space R&D, and compares and contrasts these R&D efforts with the American approach. The article concludes with an assessment of the prospects for future US–China competition and/or cooperation in the realm of defense and space R&D. … …


China, Defense, R&D, Technology, Space, Security, China

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson is an Assistant Professor in the Strategic Research Department at the US Naval War College and a founding member of the department’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). Proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, he received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College. His research, which focuses on East Asian defense, foreign policy, and technology issues, has been published in OrbisJournal of Strategic StudiesComparative StrategyChina SecurityNaval War College ReviewUndersea WarfareSpace PolicyGeopolitics of Energy, Pacific Focus and Joint Force Quarterly (forthcoming). Erickson is coeditor of China’s Energy Strategy (Naval Institute Press, 2008), China’s Future Nuclear Submarine Force (Naval Institute Press, 2007) and China’s Nuclear Modernization. He is a member of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP), and can be reached at andrew.erickson@nwc.navy.mil.

Kathleen (Kate) Walsh is Assistant Professor of National Security Decision Making at the US Naval War College. Her research focuses on China and the Asia-Pacific, particularly issues related to international security, technology transfer and globalization, nonproliferation and export controls. Her recent works include “China’s anti-satellite test: a 21st century Sputnik?,” China defense, security and space policy brief (Arlington, VA: George Mason University; Fall 2007); “China R&D: a high-tech field of dreams,” Asia-Pacific Business Review, Volume 13, Issue 3 (July 2007), pp. 321–335; and “Soaring Eagle, Flying Dragon: Industrial R&D and Innovation in the United States and China,” Proceedings of the US–China Forum on Science and Technology Policy (VA: George Mason University, 2007), pp. 215–236. She is also author of Foreign High-Tech R&D in China: Risks, Rewards, and Implications for US–China Relations (Stimson Center, June 2003) and US Commercial Technology Transfers to China (US Department of Commerce, 1999). She can be reached at kathleen.walsh@nwc.navy.mil.