25 March 2019

CMSI Conference 6-7 May 2019: “Going Global? The People’s Navy in a Time of Strategic Transformation”

On behalf of China Maritime Studies Institute Director Dr. Peter Dutton, it is our pleasure to inform you of CMSI’s next annual academic conference. Covering “The People’s Navy in a Time of Strategic Transformation,” it will be held at the Naval War College on Monday May 6 and Tuesday May 7, 2019.

We welcome broad participation from the academic, think tank, policy, and defense communities and emphasize that the Chatham House Rule will apply. Please note: This event is not open to the general public; participation is open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals by invitation only.

Click here to access the official agenda. A more detailed unofficial draft agenda is appended below. As with all previous CMSI conferences, the full proceedings will be published openly in the Naval Institute Press book series “Studies in Chinese Maritime Development.” It will be the eighth book, following our just-released edited volume on China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations.

The PLA Navy is engaged in a “strategic transformation” (战略转型) from a regional, or Near Seas, navy to a force also capable of effective operations in other parts of the world (i.e., the Far Seas). As critical as its Near Seas efforts are, China’s capacity to operate in the seas beyond East Asia is much more significant for its influence in the broader world. Observers have paid great attention to the outward signs of this process: new ships and submarines, the country’s first overseas base, and new training and deployment patterns. However, there exist serious gaps in our knowledge about the strategic calculus guiding observed behavior. Given the strategic and operational issues at stake, the U.S. Navy must rapidly increase its understanding of this vital subject. This conference will therefore address the interests, drivers, and objectives that inform decisions about the roles and missions of Chinese sea power in areas beyond maritime East Asia; as well as the resulting trends and implications for global maritime dynamics.

We’re pleased to announce that registration is now open. As mentioned above, participation is open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals by invitation only. If you would like to attend, please click <https://nwcevents.wufoo.com/forms/r1rjoug51fs8pbw/> to register. You will be redirected to a secure site (WuFoo) that will collect necessary details.

There is a block of rooms available at the newly-built Navy Gateway Inn and Suites (NGIS) at Naval Station Newport. Transportation will be provided from NGIS, which is also a short walk from the Naval War College. Instructions for reserving lodging at NGIS are included within the registration process.

For DoD employees in need of DoN/AA approval to travel, the Naval War College is in the process of requesting DoN/AA approval of the 2019 CMSI Conference as a Department of Defense sponsored conference. Once this blanket approval is received, DoD conference attendees WILL NOT need separate/individual conference approval to attend.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact CMSI’s Deputy Director, LCDR Joseph Freda, by phone at (401) 841-3263 or by email at <joseph.freda@usnwc.edu>.


Going Global? The People’s Navy in a Time of Strategic Transformation


China Maritime Studies Institute Conference

Monday 6 May and Tuesday 7 May 2019

Naval War College, Newport, RI


6 May (Monday)

0830 – Registration and Coffee


0900 – Welcome and Administrative Remarks

— Admiral Jeffrey Harley, President, Naval War College [INVITED]

— Peter Dutton, Naval War College


0930 – Panel I. Sea Power in Support of China’s Evolving Grand Strategy

Moderator: Thomas Mahnken, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments 

Presentation 1: “China’s Changing Grand Strategy”

— Ashley Tellis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 

Presentation 2: “Military Strategic Guidelines in the New Era”

— M. Taylor Fravel, MIT

Presentation 3: “The New Imperative: Protecting Overseas Interests”

— Rush Doshi, Harvard University

Presentation 4: “Naval Transformation and China’s ‘Maritime Power’ Strategy”

— Ryan Martinson, Naval War College

Discussants: Geoffrey Till, Naval War College
                            Liza Tobin, U.S. Navy


1130 – Panel Ends


1145-1300 – Luncheon Keynote Address at Officers’ Club: “China’s Far Seas Force Structure” 

— Presenter: Christopher Carlson, Admiralty Trilogy Group

— Moderator: Andrew Erickson, Naval War College


1315 – Panel II. The Sources and Origins of Chinese Naval Strategy 

Moderator: Oriana Mastro, Georgetown University

Presentation 1: “The Legacy of Admiral Liu Huaqing”

— Mark Metcalf, University of Virginia 

Presentation 2: “The Origins of ‘Near Seas Defense/Far Seas Protection’”

— Erik Robb, U.S. Navy and Jennifer Rice, U.S. Navy

Presentation 3: “Admiral Wu Shengli and the Far Seas Navy”

— LT Melissa Johns, USN, U.S. Naval Forces Korea

Presentation 4: “Technology and Naval Strategy”

— Elsa Kania, Harvard University

Discussant: Alessio Patalano, King’s College London


1515 – Afternoon Break


1530 – Panel III. The PLA Navy as an Instrument of Peacetime Influence 

Presentation 1: “Naval Diplomacy with Chinese Characteristics”

— Timothy Heath, RAND Corporation

Presentation 2: “Overseas Naval Support”

— Isaac Kardon, Naval War College

Presentation 3: “The PLA Navy Marines: New Roles and Missions”

— Conor Kennedy, Naval War College

Presentation 4: “PLA Organizational Reform in the Context of a Far Seas Navy”

— Rod Lee, U.S. Navy and Morgan Clemens, SOS International

Discussant: Bonnie Glaser, Center for Strategic and International Studies 


1730 – Administrative Remarks

1800 – Cocktails – Officers’ Club

1830 – Dinner – Officers’ Club

1900 – Evening Keynote Address: “China’s Navy and American Interests in the Indo-Pacific”


2100 – Day 1 Adjourns


7 May (Tuesday)

0830 – Morning Coffee


0900 – Panel IV. The PLA Navy as an Instrument of War 

Moderator: CAPT Thomas Henderschedt, USN, Naval Attaché, Beijing

Presentation 1: “Chinese Perceptions of the Balance of Military Power in the Western Pacific”

— Eric Heginbotham, MIT

Presentation 2: “Counterintervention in the Philippine Sea”

— Collin Koh, Nanyang Technological University

Presentation 3: “Securing China’s ‘Lifelines’ Through the Indian Ocean”

— Jeffrey Becker, CNA Corporation 

Presentation 4: “Joint Operations in the Far Seas”

— Phillip Saunders and Joel Wuthnow, National Defense University

Discussants: Jim FitzSimonds, Naval War College 
                            Fiona Cunningham, Stanford University


1100 – Coffee Break


1115 – Panel V. Understanding and Responding to China’s Navy 

Moderator: Patrick Cronin, Hudson Institute

Part 1China’s Naval Transformation: How Fast, How Sustainable?

— Jim Fanell, Geneva Centre for Security Policy

— Admiral Michael McDevitt, USN (Ret.), CNA Corporation

Part 2—The Implications of the PLA Navy’s Strategic Transformation

— Michael Swaine, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

— Aaron Friedberg, Princeton University

Discussant: Admiral Scott Swift, USN (Ret.), MIT


1315 – Panel Ends


1330 – Conference Adjourns