Lost in translation? U.S. defense innovation and Northeast Asia
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The discussions that the Stimson team began with defense policy experts in China, Japan, and South Korea covered topics that can be uncomfortable. Nonetheless, policymakers on both sides of the Pacific avoid these issues at their peril. Productive international relationships that contribute to regional stability and defuse potential crises - whether between allies or competitors - depend upon regular, candid conversations about the future of defense policy. During the First and Second Offset Strategies, the United States encountered difficulties in intra-alliance management through its failure to address technological gaps and diverging strategic interests with its allies, and by not clearly articulating U.S. strategy. As this report reveals from the discussions in Northeast Asia, allies and competitor alike are concerned with both the vagueness of America’s strategy and its continuing technological strides. Voices of the present and lessons from the past inform the report’s recommendations to deepen American engagement with Japan, South Korea, and China by clarifying strategic debates and improving communication and cooperation with allies. For spearheading this important research, we are indebted to Yuki Tatsumi, the Director of Stimson’s Japan Program, whose expertise on Japanese defense policy and the U.S.-Japan alliance stimulated the development of this project. I would also like to thank Alex Bollfrass, a Nonresident Fellow at Stimson, who specializes in nuclear weapons and intelligence-related issues, for leading the roundtable discussions with the Northeast Asian defense community. Pamela Kennedy provided research support and guidance throughout the project lifecycle. Finally, I would like to thank the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center on Contemporary Conflict, which operates the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD, and its Executive Director Dr. Michael Malley for their generous support of this project.
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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