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Technology and National Security in China

PI: Tai Ming Cheung, University of California

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The Evolving Relationship between Technology and National Security in China: Innovation, Defense Transformation, and China’s Place in the Global Technology Order

Principal Investigator: Tai Ming Cheung, University of California San Diego

Co- Investigator: Susan Shirk

Years of Award: 2009-2015

Managing Service Agency: Army Research Office

Project Description:

This project examined China’s drive to become a world class defense and dual-use technological and industrial power and the security and economic implications of this transformation for U.S. national security. Six research topics were conducted: 1) annual assessments of the reform and modernization of critical sectors in China’s defense and dual-use STI base; 2) comparing China’s approach to technology development, defense industrialization and forging of a dual-use base with peer competitors and latecomers; 3) analysis of the political economy of China’s defense S&T and technological rise; 4) China’s technological development and implications for U.S. and international technology trade policies; 5) the nature of the structures, processes and leaderships of the Chinese civilian and defense S&T systems; and 6) historical influences on contemporary Chinese grand strategic thinking on S&T.

These projects were a foundational catalyst in the development of academic research on defense science, technology, and innovation, and especially focused on China, as a methodologically rigorous and well-informed field of academic and policy study. Through wide-ranging field research, including engagement with Chinese civilian and military organizations specializing in science and technology, and detailed examination of Chinese language sources, this project yielded many insights and new sources of information.  Moreover, the project pioneered academically rigorous and sophisticated methodological tools and approaches. This includes the development of new analytical frameworks for analyzing defense innovation, better defining what is meant by innovation, and the development of inter-disciplinary approaches to research between the sciences and social sciences and between different fields in the social sciences including political science, economics, business studies, and security studies.

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