April 03, 2024

Sharper: Maritime Security

Analysis from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges for U.S. foreign policy.

The importance of securing the maritime domain is rapidly increasing. From the South China Sea to the Red Sea, the U.S. and its allies are experiencing escalating challenges to maritime dominance. As China’s shipbuilding industry significantly outpaces the U.S. and Houthi rebels continue to commercial maritime shipping, CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation on the importance of prioritizing maritime security. Continue reading this edition of Sharper to explore their analysis, commentary, and recommendations.


AUKUS: Securing the Indo-Pacific, a Conversation with Kurt Campbell

This week, CNAS welcomed Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell for a conversation on the future of the AUKUS security partnership. The discussion, which coincided with the one-year anniversary of the AUKUS Optimal Pathway announcement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, was hosted and moderated by CNAS CEO Richard Fontaine.

Countering Coercion: Managing Chinese Gray Zone Activity in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean Region

A new CNAS report examines the increasingly aggressive gray zone activities conducted by the PRC in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean. China’s gray zone activities are maritime actions designed to bully and coerce regional states in a manner that changes the status quo in China’s favor without triggering a major conflict. The report argues that these activities violate international laws and norms and must be confronted more directly by the United States and its regional partners to deter China from future maritime and territorial aggression.

Indo-Pacific Security

Virtual Event | AUKUS: Securing the Indo-Pacific, A Conversation with Kurt Campbell

Apr 3, 2024

Indo-Pacific Security

Countering Coercion

The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC or China) has been engaging in gray zone activity—coercive behavior that is aimed at changing the status quo but that is below a threshol...

Autonomy and International Stability: Confidence-Building Measures for Uncrewed Systems in the Indo-Pacific

A new report by Tom Shugart examines a growing area of concern in the U.S.-China rivalry: deployment of air and maritime uncrewed platforms in the Indo-Pacific, including those with lethal autonomous weapons. Considering the increasing integration of large-scale uncrewed systems into the world’s militaries, the report offers ways to manage ongoing tensions in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Shugart concludes with recommendations for U.S. and international policymakers to prevent unintended great power escalation due to interactions with and between these systems.

Campaign of Denial

The United States faces an unprecedented challenge: simultaneously deterring large-scale conventional aggression by China in the Indo-Pacific and Russia in Europe. However, the U.S. military is unprepared to concurrently meet the challenges posed by China and Russia. A new approach to simultaneous deterrence is needed, writes Becca Wasser, and campaigning holds the key to simultaneous deterrence, but only if the concept is reformed. In this report, the author lays out a campaign plan for the United States in the Indo-Pacific as the PLA embarks on an ambitious military modernization program and projects power beyond its shores.

Technology & National Security

Autonomy and International Stability

Executive Summary In a time of growing international tension, with interstate warfare ongoing in Europe and openly threatened over Taiwan, military forces worldwide are lookin...


Campaign of Denial

The United States faces an unprecedented challenge: simultaneously deterring large-scale conventional aggression by two nuclear-armed powers. The nation will need to deter the...

In the News:

Featuring commentary and analysis from Lisa Curtis, Tom Shugart, Jonathan Lord, Jake Stokes, Rachel Ziemba, and more.

Indo-Pacific Security

Holding the Line Against China’s Maritime Bullying: The Philippines Sets a New Standard

The Philippines’ bold actions provide a powerful example to other Southeast Asian nations on how they, too, can resist Chinese violations of their sovereignty and access to cr...


National security leaders worry about U.S. failure to ratify Law of the Sea treaty

Thomas Shugart, a former U.S. Navy submarine warfare officer and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said being outside the treaty undercuts American cr...

Middle East Security

Biden's strategy on Yemen aims to weaken, not destroy, Houthis

Jonathan Lord, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, said Biden was hoping to deter the Houthis and effectively "stick the la...

Indo-Pacific Security

The South China Sea Is the Next Test of US Resolve

The two nations are not yet close to going to war. But collisions and clashes can easily escalate. China’s truculence therefore raises the question: Under what circumstances s...

Energy, Economics & Security

US sanctions oil tankers, targeting Iranian funding for Russian, Houthi arms

The measures are targeted to Iran's involvement with regional terror groups and Russia's military supply chains, said Rachel Ziemba, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a ...


China's Coast Guard: The Tip of Xi's Spear

"There are no easy answers [to gray zone warfare]. China has dedicated enormous resources to making itself into the world's premier maritime power by most measures," said Tom ...

About the Sharper Series

The CNAS Sharper series features curated analysis and commentary from CNAS experts on the most critical challenges in U.S. foreign policy. From the future of America's relationship with China to the state of U.S. sanctions policy and more, each collection draws on the reports, interviews, and other commentaries produced by experts across the Center to explore how America can strengthen its competitive edge.


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