Bilden Asian Security Studies Fund

The Center for Security Studies is committed to understanding the role of the Asian subcontinent, and of China in particular, in the world's security environment. CSS supports faculty research and teaching, hosts policy discussions and educates students on the numerous complex security challenges in this vital region. Thanks to the generosity of Georgetown University graduates Philip (F'86) and Patricia (C'85) Bilden, the Bilden Asian Security Studies Program is a hub for the graduate study of security in Asia at Georgetown.


Thomas McNaugher, Senior Visiting Professor and Director of Studies in the Security Studies Program, has taught the Security Issues in East Asia course for several semesters and is a distinguished scholar of security in the Pacific. Before leaving the RAND Corporation in June 2011 to join the Security Studies Program faculty, Dr. McNaugher was a Senior Analyst at RAND and Director of its Center for Asia Pacific Policy (CAPP). A West Point graduate, Dr. McNaugher served as an active duty Army officer from 1968 to 1975, including a tour as an advisor in the Republic of Vietnam from 1970 to 1971. His current research focuses on the shifting military balance in the Western Pacific.

Keir Lieber, Associate Professor and Director of the Security Studies Program, is analyzing the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S.-China strategic relationship. His research suggests that a conventional conflict between the two countries would generate serious problems of nuclear escalation control; the danger of nuclear confrontation will remain until China develops a more robust nuclear deterrent capability. Professor Lieber's publications include "U.S. Nuclear Primacy and the Future of the Chinese Nuclear Deterrent" in China Security Quarterly, "Superiority Complex: Why America’s Growing Nuclear Supremacy May Make War with China More Likely" in The Atlantic, and "The Next Korean War" in Foreign Affairs (all co-written with Daryl G. Press).

Oriana Skylar Mastro, Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program, joined the CSS core faculty in the fall of 2013. Previously, she was a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), where she focused on military operations and strategy, war termination, and Northeast Asia, China in particular. She is the author of several publications including “Signaling and Military Provocation in Chinese National Security Strategy: A Closer Look at the Impeccable Incident,” published in the Journal of Strategic Studies. She has worked on China policy issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, RAND, U.S. Pacific Command, Project 2049, the U.S. Department of Defense and has testified for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Highly proficient in Mandarin, Ms. Mastro also worked at a Chinese valve-manufacturing firm in Beijing as a translator and makes frequent appearances on a Chinese-language debate show.


China's Roles in the World
April 25, 2014
Co-sponsored with the U.S. Institute of Peace.

USIP hosted a day-long conference with the CSS exploring China’s growing role in the global economic, military and political realms and implications for regional security and U.S. policy.There are a variety of characterizations of China that suggest the need to move beyond the conventional approach of evaluating China’s role in terms of areas of just competition or cooperation. From one perspective, China has increasingly contributed to the international order, joining many international and regional organizations. China has also served as a welcomed partner in dealing with a range of regional and transnational issues, by contributing to counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and other humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. As a testament to its role as a partner, the People’s Liberation Army has held 28 joint exercises and 34 joint training sessions with 31 countries in accordance with relevant agreements or arrangements. There are questions about China's compliance with international law and custom in a number of critical areas, including intellectual property theft and provocative behavior in the maritime and air domains of the South and East China Seas.

US Rebalance to Asia - One Year Assessment: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?
February 27, 2013
Co-sponsored with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown's Asian Studies Program, and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

The CSS hosted a major conference in light of the Obama Administration's declaration of a strategic 'rebalance' toward Asia, where accomplished scholars and veterans of government service participated a series of discussion panels that aimed to elucidate key facets of the rebalance: the motivating factors within the United States political establishment, the relationship between the U.S. and its allies, U.S.-China bilateral relations, and the strategic outlook of the American military. A large contingent of domestic and foreign press attended and reported the proceedings, and the audience included a diverse range of students, scholars, practitioners, and analysts. Audio recordings of the panels can be found here.

In the News Roundtable: North Korea
January 18, 2012
Co-Sponsored with the Mortara Center for International Studies and The Asian Studies Program

The sudden death of long-time North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and the ascension of his successor Kim Jong-Un sparked a great deal of discussion around the international affairs and security community, and Georgetown was no different. In conjunction with the Mortara Center for International Studies and the Asian Studies Program (ASP), CSS hosted a discussion on the dynamics of the sudden transition before a packed ICC Auditorium on January 19.

Clashing Values, Merging Strategic and Intelligence Interests: Cultural Dialogue in East Asian Security

January 13, 2012

The Center for Peace and Security Studies and Georgetown's Asian Studies Program, together with Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs), hosted an all-day conference on "Clashing Values, Merging Strategic and Intelligence Interests: Cultural Dialogue in East Asian Security." The chief aim of the gathering was to bring together a cross-section of policymakers and thought opinion leaders who seek to manage security risks on a flexible and pragmatic basis. By bringing this cross-section of representatives from Asia, America, and Europe to the table, the event was able to produce constriction discussion of the crucial security challenges at hand and how to meet ongoing and emerging issues head-on within a broader framework that outlasts events. Particular attention was paid to three factors that often drive and shape security policy: domestic politics, resource competition, and discordant, culturally specific values.

Colloquium: Chinese Intelligence Operations Reconsidered - Toward a New Baseline
October 17, 2011

featuring Peter Mattis (SSP'11)
Editor, China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation

Peter's thesis on precisely why and how China collects intelligence was judged to be of publishable quality, and the colloquium will afforded him the opportunity for feedback in preparation for submission.  Peter was the editor of the China Brief at the The Jamestown Foundation and has been a long time China analyst. The paper's abstract is as follows:

This study examines the conceptual, historical, and institutional roots of modern Chinese intelligence as well as the case record. These findings are tested against three competing concepts for how the PRC intelligence services collect foreign intelligence: the conventional wisdom ("mosaic" or "grains of sand"), the Western/Russian model, and the "adapted internal security" concept. Based on this research, the PRC intelligence services most likely operate as internal security services, adapting to meet the leadership‘s growing need for foreign intelligence. The PRC services normally exploit opportunities for foreign intelligence collection identified through routine internal security operations rather than targeting operations to meet leadership demands for foreign information. This finding suggests Beijing probably is better informed on foreign issues directly related to China, when the intelligence services can exploit people who have spent time in the PRC.

Change and Stability in Asia: Charting an Uncertain Future
September 8, 2011

featuring Dr. Michael Wesley
Executive Director, Lowy Institute for International Policy

Dr. Michael Wesley, Executive Director of the Sydney-based Lowy Institute for International Policy, outlined the components of Asia's stability and the different investments of the region's countries in that stability. He examined the several aspects of change in Asia's strategic order which are profoundly disturbing to the region's stability, and then assessed the different options for preserving the region's stability amidst these epochal changes.

America's China Policy in the 21st Century: New Challenges, New Approaches
April 14, 2011

featuring Dr. Michael Swaine
Senior Associate, Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

U.S. Policy toward China confronts a growing array of fundamentally new challenges in the new century, arising not only from Beijing's growing power and influence, but also a host of unprecedented regional and global phenomena that suggest the need for more creative policies and strategic approaches from Washington .Dr. Michael Swaine of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace examined the most important of these new challenges and offer several recommendations for future U.S. policymakers. His remarks covered the main points of his book, entitled America's Challenge: Engaging a Rising China in the Twenty-first Century.

Perils of Proximity: China and Japan in the Maritime Realm
March 23, 2011

featuring Dr. Richard Bush
Director, Center for Northeast Asia Policy Studies
Senior Fellow and Michael H. Armacost Chair, The Brookings Institution

Frictions between China and Japan in the East China Sea are on the increase. There have been minor clashes, and a major one cannot be ruled out. Past experience suggests that neither in Tokyo nor Beijing are decision-makers ready to cope with quickly escalating tensions. Dr. Richard Bush discussed this dynamic between East Asia's leading powers based on his recent authoritative book The Perils of Proximity: China-Japan Security Relations (Brookings 2010).

China's Global Security Footprint: Current Status and Future Trends
November 17, 2010

featuring Dr. David Shambaugh
Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and
Founding Director of the China Policy Program, Elliott School of International Affairs, GWU

Dr. David Shambaugh, an internationally recognized scholar on contemporary Chinese affairs and the international politics and security of the Asia-Pacific region, discussed different aspects of China's growing global footprint and influence, how China thinks about its global role, and what the world may expect from China in the years to come.

The Emerging Architecture of Asian Multilateralism: Community or Consociation
November 8, 2010

featuring Dr. Amitav Acharya
Professor of International Relations and Chair of ASEAN Studies Center,
School of International Service, American University

Heightened Obama administration involvement in Asian multilateral organizations underlines the importance of understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and outlook for the architecture of multilateral groups developing in the region. An internationally recognized authority, Professor Amitav Acharya of American University offered his insights on the status and outlook of Asian regionalism.

The Dragon's Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa
April 7, 2010

featuring Dr. Deborah Brautigam
Associate Professor of International Development,
School of International Service, American University

American University Professor Deborah Brautigam shared the findings of her newly released book with the above title (Oxford University Press 2009), explaining in rich detail the full scope of recent Chinese aid and economic cooperation with Africa. One of the world's leading experts on China, Africa, and development, Dr. Brautigam clarified the purposes and patterns of Chinese aid and assistance and how they fit with broader Chinese strategies.

Can Japan and the United States Become True Allies?
March 16, 2010

featuring Dr. Mike Mochizuki
Associate Dean for Academic Programs and
Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs,
The Elliott School of International Affairs, GWU

How will the end of Liberal Democratic Party predominance in Japan and the rise to power  of the Democratic Party affect the multi-decade process of incrementally strengthening the US-Japan security alliance? What foreign policy challenges may be expected to arise from this transformation of the Japanese political landscape, and how will approaches on both sides differ as a result? Dr. Mike Mochizuki discussed these and other related issues.

Sun Tzu's Art of War: A Modern Application for When Things Don't Go Our Way
November 18, 2009

featuring James Gimian and Barry Boyce
Publisher and Senior Editor, respectively, of Shambhala Sun,
North America's leading Buddhist-inspired magazine

James Gimian and Barry Boyce have consulted and taught on how to apply the strategies in Sun Tzu's The Art of War in a wide variety of settings over the past 25 years. They are authors of The Rules of Victory: How to Transform Chaos and Conflict-Strategies from the Art of War (2008), and produced a critically acclaimed and best-selling translation of The Art of War: The Denma Translation, currently used in the Naval and Air Force War Colleges.

Strait Talk: US-Taiwan Relations and the Crisis with China
November 2, 2009

featuring Dr. Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
Professor of History, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Senior Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

At the core of US-Taiwan-China relations, mistrust has long been, and remains today, the most difficult and elusive problem policy makers face. Mistrust underlies security, communication and decision making, rendering enduring reconciliation impossible. Dr. Tucker discussed her recently released book, which provides the title for this event, and offered an in-depth description of the long-running three-way showdown across the Taiwan Strait.

China: Facing the Challenges of the Next 30 Years
October 28, 2009

featuring Dr. Christopher Clarke
Chief of the China Division, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US DoS (retired 2009)

China's virtually uninterrupted 30 years of growth and increasing influence is unprecedented in the modern world.  Dr. Christopher Clarke looked back at the hidden problems and contradictions of these successes and discussed the resulting major domestic and foreign policy challenges China will face over the next 20-30 years. He argued that the world may have more to fear from Chinese failure than from Chinese success.