March 30, 2015

Shades of Gray: Technology, Strategic Competition, and Stability in Maritime Asia

In this seventh paper in the Maritime Strategy Series, Amy Chang, Ben FitzGerald, and Van Jackson unpack how a "fog of technology" is exacerbating dangerous "gray zone" scenarios in maritime Asia. Proliferating technologies that lack of clear norms to govern their use are intersecting with strategic competition and coercive behaviors to unsettle longstanding patterns of interaction among states. The authors see these trends as converging to raise the dangers of conflict in the region, whether through distorted incentives to undertake coercion or through the potential for miscalculation. They outline ways to "remove the fog" of technology and shore up stability in maritime Asia. Many of their recommendations for the United States government have broad relevance for a refreshed approach to technology and national security.

Ben FitzGerald is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. Dr. Van Jackson is a Visiting Fellow at CNAS and a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. At the time of writing, Amy Chang was the Norman R. Augustine Research Associate in Technology and National Security at CNAS.


  • Amy Chang

  • Ben FitzGerald

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Ben FitzGerald is a partner at Lupa, a private investment firm, and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). At Lupa he leads the firm’s inve...

  • Van Jackson

    Former Adjunct Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Dr. Van Jackson is a former Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), an American political scientist, and...

    • Commentary
    • World Politics Review
    • February 8, 2019
    How China and the U.S. Are Competing for Young Minds in Southeast Asia

    Business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month warned that China has overtaken the United States in the development of artificial intelligence and other emer...

    By Kristine Lee

    • Commentary
    • War on the Rocks
    • September 21, 2016
    China's Artificial Islands Are Bigger (And a Bigger Deal) Than You Think

    Surely you have heard the news — China has been dredging up coral reefs and creating artificial islands in the South China Sea with the purpose of enforcing their claims...

    By CDR Thomas Shugart, USN

    • Commentary
    • The National Interest
    • August 10, 2016
    Beijing's Go Big or Go Home Moment in the South China Sea

    China is preparing for its go or go home moment in the South China Sea and it appears they have chosen the right time to make a play for regional and, ultimately, global domin...

    By Jerry Hendrix

    • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • July 22, 2016
    Parting the South China Sea

    July 12, 2016, marked a turning point in the long-standing disputes over the South China Sea. After more than three years of proceedings at the Permanent Court of Arbitration,...

    By Mira Rapp-Hooper

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia