About Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson's Facebook Profile

View Andrew Erickson's profile on LinkedIn

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson


Professor Andrew S. Erickson_Testimony before Hearing on China’s Advanced Weapons_USCC_20170223_Chinese Naval Shipbuilding

Dr. Andrew S. Erickson is a Professor of Strategy (tenured full professor) in the U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). As a core founding member, he helped to establish CMSI and to stand it up officially in 2006, and has subsequently played an integral role in its development. CMSI has inspired the creation of other research centers, to which he has provided advice and support. Erickson is currently a Visiting Scholar in full-time residence at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, where he has been an Associate in Research since 2008. Erickson is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2017 Erickson received NWC’s inaugural Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award. In 2012 the National Bureau of Asian Research awarded him the inaugural Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies; he currently serves on the selection committee. His publications have won a variety of awards, including the NWC Foundation’s Capt. Hugh G. Nott Prize (first & second place), the U.S. Naval Institute General Prize Essay Contest (third prize), and repeated recognition by the Center for International Maritime Security

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 guidance and inputs to NWC and other schools. In 2013, while deployed in the Pacific as a Naval Postgraduate School Regional Security Education Program scholar aboard the flagship aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, he delivered twenty-five hours of lectures. He has also accompanied a military air patrol. For over a decade, Erickson has managed NWC’s scholarly research relationship with Japanese counterparts. In 2014 he helped to escort the Commander of China’s Navy and his delegation on a visit to Harvard. He subsequently helped to establish, and to escort the first iteration of, NWC’s first bilateral naval officer exchange program and field studies class in China, which he continues to support. Erickson was a scholar escort on a five-member congressional trip to China in 2011.

Since 2015, Erickson has served on the Naval War College Review’s Editorial Board. From 2012-17 he was an expert contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report (中国实时报), for which he authored or coauthored thirty-eight articles. During 2010-11 Erickson was the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program Fellow 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. In 2005-06, he was a Research Fellow sponsored by the late longtime director of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, Andrew Marshall.

Erickson has presented extensively at academic, private sector, and government institutions throughout the United States and Asia. He has briefed a broad array of senior U.S. and foreign policy-makers and principals. Within the U.S. Navy: the Chief of Naval Operations, his Executive Panel, the Secretary of the Navy, and leaders throughout the Indo-Pacific. Elsewhere in government: the Secretary of Defense, other Executive Branch officials, the Coast Guard Commandant, and multiple Members of Congress. Erickson testifies periodically before such congressional bodies as the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees and U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He has provided inputs for, and reviews of, multifarious government programs, simulation exercises, and reports; including in support of the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends study. 

Erickson received his Ph.D. and M.A. in politics from Princeton University (concentration: China/comparative politics and international relations) and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College (majors: history and political science; certificate in international relations). He 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 interning extensively at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Consulate in Hong Kong, Peace Corps Headquarters, Senate, and White House. Erickson has traveled across the Indo-Pacific, from key islands, waters, and airspace to China’s Zhongnanhai leadership compound and remote hinterlands of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Proficient in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Japanese, he has lived and performed academic work in China, Japan, and Korea.

Erickson’s research focuses on Indo-Asia-Pacific defense, international relations, technology, and resource issues. He has envisioned, developed, and led a path-breaking five-year project to uncover China’s critically important but insufficiently understood Maritime Militia; his coauthored China Maritime Report No. 1—China’s Third Sea Force inaugurated a new series of CMSI studies. Erickson’s work has been published widely in English- and Chinese-language edited volumes and in such peer-reviewed journals as International SecurityChina Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary ChinaThe China JournalAsian Security, Journal of Strategic StudiesOrbis, Asia Policy, and Acta Astronautica. It has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Washington QuarterlyThe National Interest, Foreign Policy, Joint Force Quarterly, IHS Jane’sGeopolitics of Energy, Global Health GovernanceRSIS Commentary, IISS Strategic Dossier, and Peking University’s China International Strategy Review and International & Strategic Studies Report. Erickson has published annotated translations of several Chinese articles on maritime strategy. His coauthored Foreign Affairs.com article, “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 “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 day online. 

Erickson is the author of the book Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Development (Jamestown Foundation/Brookings Institution Press, 2013). He is coauthor of two other books: Gulf of Aden Anti-Piracy and China’s Maritime Commons Presence (Jamestown/Brookings, 2015) and Assessing China’s Cruise Missile Ambitions (National Defense University Press, 2014). He has coauthored four additional volumes: Charting China’s International Security Activism (Center for a New American Security, 2015), the CMSI monographs Chinese Antipiracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden (2013) and Chinese Mine Warfare (2009), and the China Aerospace Studies Institute monograph The PLAAF’s Campaign for a Bigger Maritime Role (2019). Erickson is the editor of, and a contributor to, two volumes: Chinese Naval Shipbuilding (Naval Institute Press/NIP, 2016) and Proceedings of the 47th History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (Univelt, 2015). He is coeditor of, and a contributor to, nine volumes. This includes six (in addition to Chinese Naval Shipbuilding) of NIP’s seven “Studies in Chinese Maritime Development” books, for which he is the series editor; comprising China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations (2019), 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 Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia-Pacific (NIP, 2014), the CMSI volume China’s Near Seas Combat Capabilities (2014), and the NWC 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 CSIS and RAND. He has been quoted extensively in numerous newspapers, magazines, and online sources, including Science, Wired, The BBCThe Financial Times, Aviation Week & Space Technology, The Nelson Report, Bloomberg, The Economist, Xinhua, China Daily, The New YorkerTimeDer Spiegel, The Washington Post and its Monkey Cage blog, Fortune, The Times of India, El País, NewsweekThe Straits Times, Defense NewsLe MondeChina Radio InternationalAerospace America, and The New York Times. Erickson’s work is also featured in a broad range of print, wire service, television, radio, and Internet media. He has published op-eds with CBS and the Asahi Shimbun (Japanese- and English-language editions), and has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, CCTV, NHK, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, ABC News 24Bloomberg TV, National Public Radio, 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 2015 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.

(***Please note: Unless otherwise specified, the views posted, reposted, linked to, or otherwise expressed on Dr. Andrew S. Erickson’s research websites, social media accounts, and other electronic and print sources do not represent the official policies or estimates of the U.S. Navy or any other organization of the U.S. government. Retweets, links, or follows, etc., do not imply endorsement in any way. None of these activities should be construed as political statements.***)

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

Click here for Japanese-language (日本語) version of biography.

(Disclaimer: the above English-language biography remains the only authoritative version.)


  • China’s armed forces 
  • Chinese national security and foreign policy
  • China’s maritime and aerospace activities
  • Chinese defense science, technology, and industry
  • Japan/Indo-Asia-Pacific security and international relations
  • 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
  • Open source information acquisition, curation, analysis, and dissemination

Contact Information


Professor of Strategy 战略学教授
China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI)

Strategic and Operational Research Department 战略与战役研究系
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

Visiting Scholar 访问学者
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.



NEWPORT, R.I. (Aug. 14, 2017)
Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, president, U.S. Naval War College (NWC), presents the inaugural NWC Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award to Andrew S. Erickson, professor of strategy, NWC’s China Maritime Studies Institute and Strategic and Operational Research Department. The award recognizes excellence in the highest quality of achievement through research on behalf of NWC. Erickson was presented the award during a convocation ceremony kicking off the 2017-2018 academic year.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Lewis/released)

Website_AE_About_Photo 2

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

Website_AE_About_Photo 3

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. It is located in the Strategic & Operational Research Department, within NWC’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies. 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 values collaborative partnerships with other government research centers, civilian academic institutions, and other appropriate organizations. Such partnerships 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