CCP Weapons of Mass Persuasion

December 2022

The Andrew W. Marshall Foundation

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) approach to the United States today reflects the party’s formative competitive experiences a century ago. Starting in the 1920s, the CCP vied with the Nationalist Party (KMT) for control over China, but the CCP was also nominally allied with the KMT in the First United Front, 1924–27. In that context, the Communists waged political warfare against the KMT at the elite and the grassroots level. Initially, the CCP’s aim was to coopt the KMT. When cooption failed, the Communists turned to subversion before attacking the Nationalists kinetically. In recent decades, the CCP has used this united-front template against the United States, thanks partly to a foundation of U.S.-CCP cooperation laid during the Sino-Japanese War and reinforced in the late Cold War. This report accordingly traces the CCP’s repertoire for strategic competition to the Chinese Civil War (Part 1). It then analyzes the application of this toolkit to the United States across a series of interactions beginning in the late 1930s and continuing through the present (Part 2). The report concludes with two alternative visions of how the coming decades could unfold, hinging upon Washington’s ability to counter Beijing’s ongoing subversion campaign (Part 3).

This is an advance copy of a paper from the Andrew W. Marshall Foundation’s forthcoming set of publications
on Examining History to Explore the Future: France, the United States, and China. This project was made
possible by a generous grant from the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.

“A State in Disguise of a Merchant: Multinational Tech Corporations and the Reconfiguration of the Balance of Power in Asia

October 2022

The Andrew W. Marshall Foundation

Treston Wheat

Winner of the Inaugural Andrew W. Marshall Paper Prize on Future Reconfigurations in Asia

When corporations were created four centuries ago, they fundamentally altered the relationship between the market and the state while also shifting geopolitical power. Technology corporations are creating a similar revolution in the contemporary age. As the world moves from industrial and postindustrial economies to digital ones, technology companies now touch practically every area of modern life. Politically and geopolitically, they are also changing how states interact with each other and achieve their strategic objectives. Technology corporations now play a central role in states’ relative power, and over the next two decades they will impact the balance of power in Asia. A country’s relative power may be intimately connected to native technology companies as they become essential to economic growth, defend infrastructure and businesses, participate in investigations and attributions of cyber events, and even engage in offensive cyber operations. This paper looks at those different areas, examines trends, and then posits a plausible future in which technology corporations may contribute to a reconfiguration of the balance of power in Asia by 2045.

“The AI RMA”: The Revolution Has Not Arrived (Yet)

October 2022

The Andrew W. Marshall Foundation

Owen J. Daniels

Winner of the Inaugural Andrew W. Marshall Paper Prize on New Revolutions in Military Affairs

This paper examines the prospects for artificial intelligence (AI) applications initiating a new revolution in military affairs (RMA). It analyzes this issue by applying the lens of four RMA elements—technological change, military systems evolution, operational innovation, and organizational adaptation—to U.S. and Chinese military AI development. It finds that, in the near term, AI applications may be more likely to help fully realize the reconnaissance-strike RMA than to produce a new AI RMA altogether. However, understanding why AI has not yet sparked a new RMA can shape analysis of the potential trajectory of technological-military competition between the United States and China. The paper uses historical lessons from U.S.–Japanese interwar competition, which produced the carrier aviation RMA, to draw relevant insights for present day U.S.-China AI competition. It concludes by discussing potential frameworks for understanding a future AI RMA and areas for further study.

Biological Information for the New Blue Economy and the Emerging Role of eDNA


The Rockefeller University

“From microbes to mammals, near shore to mid-ocean, and seafloor to seabirds, humans want and need to know about ocean life. Obvious benefits have derived from more accurate means of locating high-value wild fish for food or for protection in the interests of recreation and conservation. Fishers and dive shop operators may use the same information for opposite purposes. Surveyors have traditionally monitored sea life by observing seafood markets and trawl nets, by diving with goggles and clipboards, and more recently by deploying sonars and cameras, and sieving bits of extracellular DNA shed in seawater.”

A New Institutional Approach to Research Security in the United States

January 2021

Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University

“U.S. research security requires trust and collaboration between those conducting R&D and the federal government. Most R&D takes place in the private sector, outside of government authority and control, and researchers are wary of federal government or law enforcement involvement in their work. Despite these challenges, as adversaries work to extract science, technology, data and know-how from the United States, the U.S. government is pursuing an ambitious research security initiative. In order to secure the 78 percent of U.S. R&D funded outside the government, authors Melissa Flagg and Zachary Arnold propose a new, public-private research security clearinghouse, with leadership from academia, business, philanthropy, and government and a presence in the most active R&D hubs across the United States.”

System Re-engineering

September 2020

Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University


“The United States must adopt a new approach to R&D policy to optimize the diversity of the current system, manage the risks of system dispersion and deliver the benefits of R&D to society. This policy brief provides a new framework for understanding the U.S. R&D ecosystem and recommendations for repositioning the role of the federal government in R&D.”

The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Net Assessment

February 1, 2001

Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

“The principal aim of this report is to assess the evolving capabilities of nations and other actors to exploit near-earth space for military purposes over the next 20-25 years.”

Strategic Appraisal: The Changing Role of Information in Warfare


RAND Corporation

Contributors: Carl H. BuilderDavid C. GompertJohn ArquillaDavid RonfeldtMichele ZaniniJeremy ShapiroEdward R. HarshbergerDavid A. OchmanekBrian NichiporukStephen T. Hosmer, et al.

“Advances in information technology have led us to rely on easy communication and readily available information — both in our personal lives and in the life of our nation. For the most part, we have rightly welcomed these changes. But information that is readily available is available to friend and foe alike; a system that relies on communication can become useless if its ability to communicate is interfered with or destroyed. Because this reliance is so general, attacks on the information infrastructure can have widespread effects, both for the military and for society. And such attacks can come from a variety of sources, some difficult or impossible to identify. This, the third volume in the Strategic Appraisal series, draws on the expertise of researchers from across RAND to explore the opportunities and vulnerabilities inherent in the increasing reliance on information technology, looking both at its usefulness to the warrior and the need to protect its usefulness for everyone. The Strategic Appraisal series is intended to review, for a broad audience, issues bearing on national security and defense planning.”

The Korean Armistice Conference: A Personal Memoir


RAND Corporation

“In 1951, the late Herbert Goldhamer, a senior RAND analyst, spent several months as an adviser to the United Nations team that was negotiating with the North Koreans and the Chinese at Panmunjom. Long classified, this now historic document is an unedited transcript of the observations Goldhamer dictated immediately after his return. Intended to capture impressions while they were still fresh, this lively account was to be the raw material for a later more systematic analysis. It offers the reader a firsthand look, through the eyes of an astute observer, at the roles that interpersonal relations and culturally based perceptions play in diplomatic negotiations. The volume includes a Foreword by Andrew W. Marshall and an Introduction by Ernest R. May.”

Net Assessment: An American Approach

April 1990

Memorandum No. 29 Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (JCSS)

This paper is based on a lecture presented at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies on August 17, 1989. At that time the author was a Visiting Fellow at the Center, as well as the Bradley Senior Research Associate at Harvard’s Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.

“What follows represents only one line of thinking about net assessment, which we may define as “the craft and discipline of analyzing military balances.” From the first part of this definition an important characteristic of this approach becomes clear: net assessment, in this view, is not a science or anything close to it. Although net assessment may draw on various forms of quantitative analysis, it makes no pretense to the certainty (such as it is) of operations research, much less the hard sciences. Many do not share this view, and think that not only is scientific rigor, of the kind associated, let us say, with molecular biology, possible in this field, but that scientific progress characterizes it as well. My view is more pessimistic: a storehouse of wisdom about doing net assessments has been built up in the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and many statesmen and generals have, in the past, made superb net assessments. But there is no guarantee that accumulated good sense will survive in any bureaucracy, and individual genius appears and flourishes as it wills. What is worse, many of the approaches to net assessment that dominate contemporary academe, and to a lesser extent the public and contract research worlds are, in fact, profoundly destructive of sound net assessment.”

U.S. and Soviet Strategic Forces: Joint Net Assessment

November 14, 1983

Secretary of Defense, Director of Central Intelligence

This declassified document, produced in 1983, is a joint net assessment by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense. It examines aspects of the United States and Soviet Union’s strategic postures, including trends, asymmetries, and scenarios.