PacNet #63 – AUKUS: Stepping boldly into space

Our information-based societies are inseparable from space technology, and space is an increasingly “contested, congested, and competitive” domain. With over 5,000 operational satellites in orbit and tens of thousands more to launch over the coming decades, reliance on space will only increase, as will its importance as a domain for strategic competition. Space-based assets provide services essential for telecommunications, weather and climate monitoring, agricultural management, the finance sector, natural disaster response and recovery, and more.

In recent years, governments and the commercial sector have awoken to the risk of space assets as a single point of failure, given that the degradation of access to space or the destruction of space-based assets would catastrophically affect civil, commercial, and national security sectors.

However, establishing a resilient and robust space industry ecosystem is an enormous, complex task requiring a significant degree of international collaboration on sensitive technologies—making AUKUS a prime medium for elevating such cooperation. The United States increasingly recognizes the need to support and scale international allies and their space capabilities as to deepen interoperable architectures and build resilient space systems.

Previously the sole preserve of a few governments, the space industry is now heavily dependent on commercial operators. SpaceX operates approximately one-half of all satellites in orbit, followed by OneWeb Satellites and Planet Labs. The proliferation of satellites and access to space is largely due to improvements led by the commercial launch sector over the past decade. In 2020, the global space industry’s value reached an estimated $424 billion, expanding 70% since 2010.

With space increasingly recognized as a strategically pivotal domain of critical technology, its future will mirror that of cyber: trending towards bifurcation in trade and research as globalization retreats. This will spur intensification of space competition, presenting risks for civil, commercial, and national security uses.

Though the United States remains the pre-eminent global space power, Russia and China have been designated as the greatest threats to America and its allies in space, as outlined in a recent Defense Intelligence Agency report. Their significant investment and focus on space follows a common objective to out-perform the United States and its allies and to exploit reliance on space-based systems. Russia and China’s combined operational space fleets have grown by approximately 70% between 2019 and 2021.

The Chinese government has a strategic approach that considers US dependence on space “its Achilles’ heel,” and is rapidly expanding its capabilities to exploit this. The Rosetta Stone for interpreting China’s ambitions for space is its approach to Antarctica and the South China Sea, where it previously professed a commitment to non-escalatory behavior while continuing to incrementally expand its presence and assert its claims. Ye Peijian, the chief commander of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, compares the moon and Mars to the Senkaku and Spratly Islands, adding that China must protect its “space rights and interests.”

Investment in new and emerging capabilities continues to grow in counterspace technologies.

The capabilities of Russia and China, in particular, are rapidly evolving. The most totemic counterspace weapon is a direct ascent anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), of which 16 tests have been conducted by four counties—the United States, China, Russia, and India. Yet it is investment in energy weapons beyond direct-ascent ASAT technologies by all major space players will define the future of counterspace technologies. These energy weapons include high-powered lasers and microwave weapons. Attacks from these weapons will be difficult to attribute as damage can be temporary or reversible. In the immediate term, however, use of cyber-attacks and radio frequency jammers targeting space infrastructure remains the most urgent military threat to space systems.

In-orbit collision is another risk that is difficult to mitigate. There is potential for a cascading series of orbital impacts—the Kessler effect—that could wreak havoc on all orbiting space assets and potentially render space inaccessible. Space weather can add to potential collision risks by rendering satellites uncontrollable. While the threat of radiation can be minimized, there is a limit to what can be done to protect from powerful geomagnetic storms that can either destroy or significantly harm the functionality of space-based assets.

Opportunity for AUKUS

The technology-centric trilateral AUKUS agreement could elevate space cooperation and build mutually beneficial space capabilities. One can already see space-related momentum in agreements on complementary technologies such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and hypersonics. For the United Kingdom, space cooperation and improving interoperability via AUKUS would support its recent designation of space as part of its Critical National Infrastructure. The 2022 UK Defense Space Strategy underscored Britain’s desire to be “at the heart of Allied space efforts.” The United States would profit from shared uplift in capabilities of the United Kingdom and Australia, which could for example become capable of reconstituting mutually beneficial space-based assets in the event of a crisis. This includes global navigation satellite systems that provide vital position, navigation, and timing services used for all forms of transportation, the finance industry, agriculture, emergency management and more. Additionally, via AUKUS, these partners can investigate opportunities to improve and streamline space “innovation cycles and co-development processes” for building mutually reinforcing capabilities in times of crises. These could include common satellite technologies.

Through AUKUS, they may take steps to boost space resilience against military or natural crises by ensuring that the countries maintain minimum viable capabilities across key elements of the space industry supply chain. This could include focusing on elements required to reconstitute vital space-based assets, as well as systems for disaggregating and complementing existing capabilities. This process should include AUKUS governments working together to incorporate new and emerging technology firms into the space industry supply chain.

The completion of the Australia-US Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) negotiations would help deepen cooperation. Using the recently completed UK-US TSA as a model, this agreement would enable US companies to operate from Australian spaceports and help pave the way to exporting space launch technology to Australia. It would ensure that US spaceflight technology is properly protected when operating in either the United Kingdom or Australia via a legally binding framework. The lack of a TSA between Australia and the United States is a significant barrier to further commercial activity across civil, commercial, and national security space sectors. Under the AUKUS banner, a TSA could be singled out for fast-tracking and would see both Australia and the United Kingdom able to more deeply engage world-leading US companies and their technologies.

Promoting the development of spaceports and mutual access via the AUKUS framework will improve both access to space and resilience building. Australia is well-positioned for launch activities by leveraging its geographic advantages and regional accessibility. All three countries will need access to capable launch vehicles. The Australian Department of Defense’s new Space Strategy notes that “Defence anticipates it will need access to a responsive and assured space launch capability in the future.” The UK Defence Space Strategy, also released this year, underscores the importance of launch. Both Australia and the United Kingdom continue to support development and operation of a number of spaceports, as well as a number of companies seeking to develop launch vehicles.

The United States and United Kingdom maintain globally leading satellite manufacturing capabilities. However, all three countries should ensure the ability to support higher rates of commercialization in the burgeoning small satellite manufacturing industry, particularly as rapidly emerging capabilities and advanced technologies can quickly change the satellite-manufacturing ecosystem. For Australia, targeted investment in the ability to manufacture small satellite constellations would meet local demand while servicing an expanding segment of the global space industry. As noted earlier, commercial firms are the largest operators of satellites, but planned satellite constellations and fillings booming into the tens of thousands will increasingly strain launch infrastructure and supply chains. Recognizing this, the Australian government has moved to fund the creation of space-focused collaborative manufacturing hubs.

These recommendations, however, represent only some of the many potential areas for greater cooperation through AUKUS. For example, as we become further dependent on space technologies, significant investment in ground segment would be integral to bolstering resilience. Similarly, emerging capabilities in optical communications can change the space industry landscape.

The AUKUS partnership can minimize the impact of a crisis, from conflict to natural disaster, on space infrastructure. By expanding complementary low-earth orbit small satellite constellations; streamlining mutual access to launch facilities; and bolstering each other’s domestic space manufacturing capabilities, the AUKUS partners could strengthen the resilience of their space-dependent societies. Better coordination of trilateral investment in new and emerging space-related technologies can support these initiatives.

Philip Citowicki (citowicki@gmail.com) is a Non-resident Vasey Fellow at Pacific Forum and an Australian foreign policy commentator.

This is an abridged publication from Triple Constellation: AUKUS in Space by Philip Citowicki for the Australian National University National Security College.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

PacNet #59 – How the new National Security Strategy transforms US China policy

The United States has transformed its policy toward China.

This shift is not plain from the language of the National Security Strategy, released this week, even though that document identifies China as a country with “the intention and, increasingly, the capacity to reshape the international order in favor of one that tilts the global playing field to its benefit.”

Rather, the change becomes visible with the study of speeches by top administration officials, recent presidential executive orders and other actions by the US government.

Previously, the US, along with allies and partners, focused on preventing China from acquiring technology that would improve its military capabilities. The ambition is now much grander: The goal is to constrain the development of China’s high-tech economy, to thwart its rise as a challenger to US (and Western) technological supremacy.

It is a risky strategy and may instead accelerate developments it seeks to thwart.

During the Cold War and the period after, the US approach was one-dimensional—it sought to deny adversaries access to technologies that could better their military capabilities. The policy defined threats narrowly and focused on acquisition through trade.

That perspective reflected the limitations of America’s rival, the Soviet Union, which was unable to muster a challenge beyond that posed by its armed forces.

Today’s primary concern, China, poses a more formidable threat. It is not only a potential military adversary but it can compete with the United States (and the West) economically, in soft power, diplomacy and development aid, and in the contest to develop the most advanced technologies.

It is that latter capacity that is most alarming since leadership in the high-tech arena will determine which country leads the 21st-century economy.

Also worrying is the use of those technologies to construct surveillance systems capable of empowering autocrats or undermining human rights. The technologies strengthen regimes that reject democratic ideals and promote opposing ideologies.

China’s economic success allows it to evade traditional means of controlling tech transfer. China has lots of money, which it can use to invest in or buy companies, or as venture capital to set them up.

The desire by others to crack China’s huge domestic market gives the Beijing government leverage to demand tech transfer as a term of engagement. And the skills of its scientists embed them in the international collaborations that set the frontiers of technology.

US administrations have been tightening the screws for some time. One marker was the adoption, as part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, of the Export Control Reform Act and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. They expanded and strengthened regulations of strategic trade and foreign investment in the US.

The “entities list” that the Commerce Department uses to restrict destinations of goods and technologies has grown steadily longer as more Chinese companies are added. Companies that make technologies that can be used for surveillance or repression are being added, too.

Recent decisions have made clear that the US is going further to block China’s ability to compete.

In early October, the Biden administration announced new rules to limit Chinese access to advanced computer chips and chip-making equipment. Enforcing the foreign direct product rule (FDPR) means that any company that sells advanced chips to Chinese firms or organizations working on artificial intelligence and supercomputing will require a US government license if the company uses US technology to make the chips.

Almost all significant semiconductor companies do. A Boston Consulting Group analysis concluded that there are at least 23 types of chipmaking equipment for which US companies control more than 65% of global supply, making this restriction a powerful chokepoint in the semiconductor supply chain.

That status prompted Gregory Allen of CSIS, the Washington-based think tank, to conclude that the rule signals “a new US policy of actively strangling large segments of the Chinese technology industry—strangling with an intent to kill.”

A second landmark is an executive order issued by President Biden last month that provides direction to the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to “ensure that it remains responsive to evolving national security risk.”

This executive order, the first issued since CFIUS was established in 1975, identifies five risk factors that the committee must weigh as it evaluates a transaction: 1) supply chain resilience, 2) US technological leadership, 3) aggregate investment trends, 4) cybersecurity and 5) US persons’ sensitive data.

The second factor is the key. CFIUS must now consider a transaction’s effect on US technological leadership in sectors vital to national security—a category that currently includes microelectronics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing, advanced clean energy, climate adaptation technologies and parts of the agricultural industrial base with implications for food security.

“Leadership” is a broad signifier, and the sectors themselves aren’t part of “national security” as traditionally defined. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hammered this point home in a speech last month. First, he noted that “Preserving our edge in science and technology is not a ‘domestic issue’ or ‘national security issue.’ It’s both.”

This merging of economic security and national security has become routine and is a pillar of the national security strategy issued this week.

More intriguing is the claim that “we have to revisit the longstanding premise of maintaining ‘relative’ advantages over competitors in certain key technologies. We previously maintained a ‘sliding scale’ approach that said we need to stay only a couple of generations ahead.”

But, Sullivan went on to say, “That is not the strategic environment we are in today. Given the foundational nature of certain technologies, such as advanced logic and memory chips, we must maintain as large of a lead as possible.”

The US is now alert to deals “that could undermine America’s national security by blunting our technological edge.” This is the context that informs the statement in the National Security Strategy that the United States will “prioritize maintaining an enduring competitive edge over the PRC.” It signals the move away from “traditional national security concerns” that focused on military capabilities toward strategic competition more generally.

To be clear, that does not represent a complete decoupling with China. That is neither possible nor desirable. It is, however, a call to decouple at the high end, on the frontiers of new technologies where potential impacts of advances and breakthroughs are greatest.

It is risky, nevertheless. It assumes that the United States can identify technologies that are key to leadership. It assumes that the United States won’t be disadvantaged by losing access to Chinese skills and successes. (The impact of cutting off Chinese researchers could be greater than feared: if governments in Europe or Asia do not align with the United States, then their projects will be off limits to American scientists.) It also denies, to the United States, insights into what the Chinese are doing.

This policy will confirm to Chinese that their longstanding complaint that the United States seeks to block their rise is correct. Chinese officials criticized the new rules as “sci-tech hegemony” that aims “to hobble and suppress the development of emerging markets and developing countries.”  It will animate the drive to promote indigenous development and production in China. It will harden divisions between China and the United States.

The policy has no chance of success if the United States goes alone. It must have allies and partners in this effort. This has been a pillar of Biden administration policy and the National Security Strategy hammers home this simple truth.

It is not clear how far allies share this outlook, however. The European Union Strategic Outlook toward China, issued in 2019, called that country a “strategic rival,” but there are disputes among members—and even within countries—when distinguishing between “competition” and “rivalry.”

So far, however, the US and chief allies in Asia and Europe appear to be working together. It isn’t clear if that solidarity will be maintained as the new US policy becomes sharper and better defined.

Brad Glosserman (brad@pacforum.org) is deputy director of and visiting professor at the Center for Rule-Making Strategies at Tama University as well as senior adviser (nonresident) at Pacific Forum. He is the author of Peak Japan: The End of Great Ambitions (Georgetown University Press, 2019). This article is drawn from a forthcoming book on the new national security economy. 

An earlier version of this article was published in Asia Times.

For more from this author, see his recent chapter of Comparative Connections.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

PacNet #53 – How the United States can build a chip alliance in Northeast Asia without decoupling

A pandemic-induced semiconductor supply chain snarl caused global production jams in a wide array of products used for consumer, industry, and military applications. This, combined with the geopolitical risk created by the industry’s concentration in Northeast Asia, its reliance on China, and predatory Chinese industrial policies, has caused America, its allies, and its partners to brace against future shocks. With the CHIPS and Science Act signed into law, Washington is now moving toward a semiconductor alliance with Tokyo, Taipei, and Seoul. A successful collaboration will address risks to key points of the semiconductor supply chain by adding rigor to the system, ensuring continued access to supply, and maintaining an environment of innovation. It’s a step in the right direction, but much remains to be done. The effort will fall short if the alliance cannot address members’ concerns and respond to the risks posed by the People’s Republic of China without tripping down the slippery slope of technological decoupling. Although the PRC poses a threat that warrants a response, the highly distributed nature of the global supply chain means that decoupling would be inordinately expensive, alienate America’s partners, and inhibit the innovative capacity of America’s firms. Furthermore, the fate of the industry will likely be determined by the innovation race, so the alliance should spend equal time cooperating on that front. The upcoming first meeting of the prospective chip alliance should address these concerns while formulating a framework for enduring cooperation and mutual gain.

The semiconductor industry is highly specialized and concentrated. There are over 50 points in the supply chain where a single country provides over 65% of supply. Last year, pandemic-induced disruptions caused a global supply snag, drawing attention to the world’s fourth-most traded product. The industry is heavily concentrated in Northeast Asia, where geopolitical risks are considerable. Since Taiwan makes over 90% of the world’s most advanced chips, a PRC takeover would cause a “deep and immediate recession” in the United States, according to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. A contingency on the Korean Peninsula would have similar consequences.

The PRC could acquire a monopoly over a supply chain choke point and utilize this as leverage to extract concessions. The PRC already routinely weaponizes its economy with informal sanctions and engages in destabilizing industrial policies like irregular subsidies and forced technology transfers. Chinese firms collude with one another to weaken foreign takeover targets before buying them in a distressed state. Beijing engages in IP theft against South Korean and Taiwanese firms. And the Chinese government’s sprawling chip investment vehicles also creates the risk that a supply chain could “inadvertently support China’s military-civil fusion.”

The alliance should cooperate with the PRC wherever possible and confront it wherever necessary, mirroring US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement that, in all matters related to China, America will “cooperate wherever we can… [and] contest where we must.” The US should press Beijing to report irregular subsidies as required by WTO regulations and cease market-distorting practices and forced technology transfers. Subsidy ceilings should factor into the conversation, including with the PRC, to prevent a never-ending race to the bottom. Alliance cooperation on export controls with the European Union will be an important aspect of this approach. Multilateral export controls on semiconductor equipment is conducted through the Wassenaar Arrangement, a group of 42 countries that collaborate on restrictions of dual use technologies. But industry experts think the institution is inadequate, and have pushed for alternatives. However, while targeted restrictions are effective, “broad unilateral restrictions,” could hurt US firms, raise consumers’ costs, and cause pain to partner countries producing in China.

The best method to strengthen and secure the supply chain is a coordinated approach with allies and partners that avoids completely excluding the PRC, so long as it refrains from destabilizing behaviors such as invading Taiwan. Some have called for technological decoupling and total on-shoring of chip production to cut dependency on the PRC. This is impractical. It would cost over $1 trillion to transition to a system wherein each country is self-sufficient, prompting a rise in costs of 35%-65%. It would cost the United States $4 billion to build just one fab making the relatively low-tech chips needed for automobiles, which would only become profitable after five years. Furthermore, decoupling would alienate America’s allies (who count China as a top customer), decrease US firms’ market share, and insulate US firms from foreign innovation. Decoupling would lead to two separate ecosystems with different standards. Firms from countries like Taiwan and Korea would face a difficult choice: either get cut off from their manufacturing base or get cut off from the US IP that’s core to their products.

America has thus far attracted investments for fab plants from Samsung (a $17 billion fab in Texas) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (a $12 billion facility in Arizona). The CHIPS Act will provide $52 billion in incentives to support chip manufacturing, research, and workforce development. Companies that receive this support are barred from building new advanced plants in China and from making certain advanced modifications to existing plants, leading some firms to “re-evaluate further Chinese investments.” These policies are just the beginning.

To coordinate on investments, supply chain resilience, and production plans, Washington proposed Chip 4, a group involving the United States, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Taiwan and Japan have committed to joining, with Taiwan calling for greater semiconductor cooperation among democracies. South Korea has taken a more cautious approach, agreeing to attend the first meeting. Korea’s memory chip producers rely on materials from China and chips account for nearly 40% of Korea’s exports to China. A news report claimed that the US Commerce Department has exempted some Korean fabs in China from restrictions banning equipment capable at producing chips below 14 nanometers. The alliance will be more durable if it demonstrates flexibility. Forums of cooperation should not simply be based on a contest of leverage against the PRC.

How has Korea found itself at the center of the dynamic? The PRC interprets the other Chip 4 members as outside its sphere of influence, but losing traction with Korea would signal that the PRC’s regional influence is waning. The Yoon administration and Beijing are off to a rocky start, with tensions simmering over Beijing’s assertion that Seoul is beholden to a supposed agreement by the former administration not to install more US missile defense systems. Beijing’s 2017 economic retaliation cost Korea over $7 billion and pushed the Korean public to turn sharply against the PRC: 80% currently view the PRC negatively, a record high, according to Pew. And three quarters of the public want the government to “actively respond to China’s economic retaliation,” according to a 2021 survey by the Korea Institute for National Unification.

Following a recent meeting between South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the PRC’s foreign ministry asserted that “the two sides need to stay committed to openness…and keep the industrial supply chain stable and unfettered.” In the meeting, Park explained that Korea’s attendance at the Chip 4 meeting is meant to safeguard “national interests,” not to exclude “any specific country.” Korea will make a decision about joining after the meeting, and has taken to referring to Chips 4 as a “consultative body,” rather than an alliance. While certain export restrictions are needed on national security grounds, it will be important to refrain from over-punishment of partners that deviate from export controls. The success of cooperation hinges not on the comprehensiveness of export restrictions but on the ability of the partners to shore up the supply chain while sustaining a high tempo pace of innovation.

The United States should collaborate with Korea, Taiwan, and Japan on a mutually beneficial, values-based vision for semiconductor collaboration that protects national security interests without spoiling supply chain efficiencies. The alliance should create a compensation mechanism to address retaliatory measures its members experience for participating in the alliance, such as assisting affected industries or reciprocal sanctions. To balance resilience and innovation, the alliance should engage with industry stakeholders, including (but not limited to): private sector firms, academia, and industry associations. Joint ventures, joint investments, and joint workforce development programs would benefit all, as would contingency planning and supplier diversification. A priority should be the resolution of a dispute between Japan and South Korea that has impacted the trade of semiconductor-related materials between the two countries. Amid growing tensions, Japan restricted exports of semiconductor materials to South Korea. The move disrupted supply chains between both countries.

The pandemic-induced chip supply chain snarls are not the industry’s last supply chain challenge. Geopolitical risk and Chinese industrial policy pose considerable risks and warrant coordination. But alliance partners’ concerns should be considered and decoupling is not viable. The better option is a partnership that addresses security threats without impairing the global supply chain.

Major Jessica Taylor (jg0787@princeton.edu) is a logistics readiness officer in the United States Air Force Reserve (USAFR) and a Ph.D. student in Security Studies at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, where she focuses on Alliance cooperation on systemic geopolitical risk to supply chains.

Jonathan Corrado (jonathan.corrado@koreasociety.org) is Director of Policy for The Korea Society, where he produces programming and conducts research on a range of security, diplomacy, and socioeconomic issues impacting the US-Korea Alliance and Northeast Asia.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of their respective institutions.  

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

PacNet #48 – Are small modular reactors the solution to growing energy and climate problems?

The increasingly dominant view in the energy expert community is that nuclear power has a role to play in achieving the 17 “sustainable development goals” identified by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 (and intended to be reached by 2030). There has thus been rising interest in nuclear power development in several parts of the world, especially in the Indo-Pacific, where growth is the strongest.

This renewed interest comes not long after the failed “nuclear renaissance” of the 2000s. That renaissance never materialized primarily because the devastating accidents at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011 led many countries to reconsider their nuclear power ambitions. Now, however, national energy and climate objectives are again driving these same countries to put the nuclear option back on the table. This interest has only grown in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the subsequent efforts to choke off Russian natural gas and oil exports, and the resulting increase in global prices for fossil fuels.

Many believe that “small modular reactors” (SMRs) and their companion “floating nuclear power plants” (FNPPs) hold considerable promise and that they may be “the next big thing” in the nuclear power market, even though they are not new concepts—they date back to the 1950s. To explore this further and, in particular, the implications for the Indo-Pacific, the Pacific Forum recently commissioned three papers: one by Victor Nian that unpacks SMR/FNPP technologies and discusses their applicability in the region; one by Jor-Shan Choi that examines the nuclear safety, security, and safeguards considerations associated with SMRs/FNPPs; and one by Miles Pomper, Ferenc Dalnoki Veress, Dan Zhukov, and Sanjana Gogna that addresses the potential geopolitical implications of SMR/FNPP deployments.

Seven key insights can be teased out from the papers, which are published in a just-released volume on “Small Modular Reactors: The Next Phase for Nuclear Power in the Indo-Pacific.” These insights include the following:

  1. SMR/FNPPs have appealing features

SMRs and FNPPs are popular because they are small, mobile, flexible, have user-centric characteristics, and are empowered by the advanced (and safer) Generation IV technologies. What’s more, the advantage of SMRs and FNPPs is that they have the potential to offer cost-competitive and clean energy without the shortcomings associated with traditional large-scale nuclear power plants. SMRs and FNPPs can be easily integrated into national energy planning, especially for newcomer countries with small grid sizes or off-grid/remote communities or for countries that are dependent heavily on energy imports.

  1. SMR/FNPP technology is not yet ready, and its prospects are unclear

Most SMR and FNPP designs are still in the research phase or under development. Few are deployed. In the Indo-Pacific, the land- or marine-based reactor types of interest are water-cooled, high-temperature gas, molten salt, or aqueous-fueled. Two reactors are currently deployed in the region: the KLT40S, a pressurized water reactor FNPP developed by OKBM (Russia) and commissioned in Pevek in the Russian far east that is designed to generate 70 megawatts of energy; and the HTR-PM, a high-temperature gas reactor developed by the China Nuclear Engineering Corporation and Institute of Nuclear New Energy Technology that is designed to generate 210 megawatts of energy.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), SMR and FNPP technologies are unlikely to contribute significantly to the expansion of nuclear power in the next decade. If adoption of such technologies matches the current level of interest, reactor development and deployment will take time to materialize.

  1. There is a pathway to the successful utilization of SMRs/FNPPs

There are several factors associated with the successful utilization of SMRs and FNPPs. Advancing them as early as possible in the industrial supply chain is important for proper integration into energy production. Developing industry standards, to ensure compatibility and interoperability with other systems, and adopting and scaling up SMR/FNPP technologies adequately to enjoy the economies of the multiples are also essential. Finally, ensuring “green passage” for transportable SMRs/FNPPs is a key factor in facilitating safe and efficient mobilization of these technologies for nearshore, offshore, and maritime applications.

  1. Safety, security, and safeguards considerations are a challenge for SMRs/FNPPs

One problem with SMR/FNPP technologies is that they are not devoid of safety, security, and safeguards challenges. SMRs and FNPPs, notably “first-of-a-kind” reactors, have unique features, specific systems, and novel operating conditions, introducing challenges to the established regulatory bodies, potentially leading to safety concerns. The special features of SMRs and FNPPs, notably their transportability, more flexible siting options to include remote or urban locations, and new fuel designs also present new nuclear security challenges, some possibly more serious than those of large reactors. Moreover, because they use different types of fuel that require new technologies in manufacturing and handling of nuclear materials, some SMRs and FNPPs present unique challenges to IAEA safeguards.

The best way to address these safety, security, and safeguards challenges is to adopt a holistic approach. Such a “3S” approach helps better understand the challenges (and opportunities) associated with SMR and FNPP deployments.

  1. SMR/FNPP deployment will happen in a competitive security environment

Nuclear power development has always been intimately linked to geopolitics. There is no reason to think that it will be different this time around, especially given that the security environment is becoming increasingly competitive.

Because Russia has been relentless in its intended nuclear energy (traditional and SMR/FNPP) exports, notably in the Indo-Pacific, and because China looms large over the horizon as a major nuclear exporter in the context of its Belt-and-Road Initiative, there are fears in Washington that the United States might lag behind (because it has a limited nuclear export industry) and lose potential markets or surrender influence in the region to either Moscow or Beijing, or both. Significantly, a few other regional countries are entering the nuclear export business as well.

  1. It isn’t clear (yet) if SMRs/FNPPs will have far-reaching geopolitical implications

Caution is in order, however. The current renewed interest in nuclear power may, as its predecessors, dissipate. Even if it materializes, it will be a very slow process. The United States, then, should keep an eye on key developments and dynamics but not rush into anything.

If Washington wants to help US manufacturers of SMRs and FNPPs gain new markets in the Indo-Pacific, the priority should be Indonesia given Jakarta’s urgent (and massive) need for new power sources. Doing so in the Philippines, Thailand, or Vietnam would only be judicious if these three countries confirm their intentions to pursue nuclear power. Either way, selling (or failing to sell) US manufactured of SMR and FNPP technologies is unlikely to change radically the recipients’ approach to Washington as a trade or security partner.

  1. The United States should ask itself if it benefits from expanding or limiting the nuclear export market

It is an open question whether the United States should focus on competing aggressively to expand the traditional and emerging SMR and FNPP export market (and shape it to its advantage) or if, instead, it should focus on limiting such expansion. Conducting a thorough study on the benefits, costs, and risks of each option would be useful and timely.

This list of key insights is not comprehensive. There is much left to unpack to understand fully the renewed interest in nuclear power and the seemingly high enthusiasm for SMRs and FNPPs, plus the implications for the Indo-Pacific specifically. Our volume’s papers provide preliminary analyses to help jumpstart this research.

David Santoro (david@pacforum.org) and Carl Baker (carl@pacforum.org) are respectively President/CEO and Senior Advisor at the Pacific Forum. Follow David Santoro on Twitter @DavidSantoro1.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

PacNet #43 – Post-Abe India-Japan ties: Does Kishida have what it takes?

Two Japan-India summit meetings between prime ministers Kishida Fumio and Narendra Modi in 2022 underscore their accelerating Special Strategic and Global Partnership. This partnership is based on the shared values of freedom, humanism, democracy, tolerance, and non-violence, outlined in the Abe-Modi vision statement of 2018.

In Modi’s words, “The best is yet to come.”

Indeed, 2022 is proving pivotal for India and Japan in their search for geopolitical power and for the trajectory of their bilateral relations. That this is their 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations is incidental. Both are seen as increasingly relevant partners in uncertain times—the difference is that Japan is a natural, credible partner of the West, whereas India is walking a tightrope amid enticement from both China and the West. Modi’s and Kishida’s personal diplomacy in the wake of the Ukraine war is largely responsible for this growing attention. But will they be able to achieve the “Broader Asia” vision that the former (late) Prime Minister Abe Shinzo promoted, to build a united (and stronger) Indo-Pacific that is already geographically and spatially in motion? Can Kishida endure the political void (and maturity) in India-Japan ties left by Abe’s assassination?

The primary aim of Kishida’s March visit was to convince India to take a stand against Russia, yet their bilateral ties have remained unaffected amid the dissonance. The meeting covered a range of issues including economic security, supply chains, climate action, sustainable development in India’s northeast, trade and investment, loan provisions, digital partnerships, and connectivity.

Although the heads of state met after a gap of four years, Kishida continued the momentum of his predecessors—particularly Abe—amid speculations of Kishida’s differences from Abe and his intent to carve out his own niche. Abe, as leader of the largest political faction (Seiwakai) in the Liberal Democratic Party, wielded tremendous clout, even after his 2020 resignation. Abe was instrumental in not only building multidirectional India-Japan ties but in persuading Modi to embrace the “free and open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) construct, a bulwark against China. As chairman of the Japan-India Association since May, the loss of Abe’s guidance will be felt in both countries.

Moving forward, the synergy Abe achieved must be accorded special focus and significance by successive Japanese (and Indian) administrations. On the economic front, Japan’s investment of 5 trillion yen ($42 billion) in India over five years will take forward the legacy of the target set during Abe’s tenure. Their bilateral connect is set for a fillip through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) covering digital trade, supply chains, and clean energy, etc. which would ensure greater market access and secure digital infrastructure. This would help their outreach with Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

One area where progress remains slow is India-Japan cooperation in third countries, or the region at large. This includes bilateral collaboration in Indian Ocean countries, the Middle East, African countries (via barely developed initiatives like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor), and Southeast Asia. Unexplored outreach in Northeast Asia is also compelling, especially amid this year’s increased nuclear threat from North Korea. The “global” nature of the India-Japan partnership is yet to fully develop.

Tokyo has emerged a major developmental partner for India, with collaborative projects across the country. This bilateral infrastructure cooperation must now go forward, and Abe’s envisioned expansion of India-Japan infrastructure projects to Bay of Bengal countries and, eventually, Southeast Asian states is key. Japan has long been a major, highly trusted infrastructure partner for ASEAN. Much scope remains for the two countries to realize their vision of a global partnership through greater trilateral India-Japan-ASEAN cooperation.

In Northeast Asia, amid the deteriorating security architecture (due to China and North Korea), one way to push forward a joint endeavor is via a Japan-India-South Korea trilateral—a realistic ambition after South Korea’s increasing embrace of the FOIP concept and the promise of closer Japan-South Korea ties under President Yoon Suk Yeol.

Two critical regions in need of further impetus are the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. In the Bay of Bengal—where India’s Act East Policy and Japan’s FOIP through the Expanded Partnership of Quality Infrastructure show confluence amid increasing Chinese influence—they could promote information sharing, capacity building, and maritime security via joint military exercises, the connectivity initiatives of the East Asia Forum, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’s maritime diplomacy. In the Indian Ocean, where Japan’s FOIP and India’s Security and Growth for All in the Region visions converge, Japan already leads the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative’s connectivity pillar. However, under current circumstances, a trilateral with France—an active collaborator with India—and coalescing with other Quad states would strengthen the regional security landscape.

To boost the Indo-Pacific security architecture and balance the largely US-led initiatives, a India-Japan-European Union trilateral would create a much-needed “global value-oriented, trustworthy and confidence-inducing grouping.” The recent antagonism by China, including Russian support for “indivisible security,” tactics in the beleaguered regions of Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and its vetoing (with Russia) of additional United Nations sanctions against North Korea, fuels a shared threat perception between the three. Collaboration via the European Union’s Global Gateway and India and Japan’s Supply Chain Resilience Initiative will further infrastructure connectivity and help in gradual decoupling from China.

Further, Kishida’s sharp policy maneuvers (voicing support for Taiwan and attending the NATO Madrid summit) targeting China will likely favor India’s stand and Delhi’s emerging position in global geopolitics—his declaration of strengthening like-minded partnerships amid increasing defense capabilities is a more than a nod to Abe’s hawkish China policy.

In view of their joint vision for the region and the vital role they play in the Indo-Pacific, both countries must join their efforts and initiate more projects for the benefit of their neighborhoods. As middle powers, combining their strengths—such as through minilateral groupings, coordinated positions in multilateral frameworks, and formation of a maritime corridor stretching from India to Japan (via ASEAN)—will be crucial for both countries to make a real impact in the region, as well as advance Abe’s legacy of shaping a universal values-oriented international order.

Jagannath Panda (jppjagannath@gmail.com) is Head of the Stockholm Centre for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs (SCSA-IPA) at the ISDP, Sweden; and a Senior Fellow at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, The Netherlands. He is also Director for Europe-Asia research cooperation at the YCAPS, Japan.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged.

Photo: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi with Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe of Japan during the Joint Press Interaction in Tokyo by the Ministry of External Affairs Government of India.

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR 3 – South Korea’s Place in the Indo-Pacific: A Research Showcase for Pacific Forum’s Korea Foundation Fellows

About this Volume

Papers by the Pacific Forum’s current and previous Korea Foundation Fellows examine pressing issues facing the Korean Peninsula in the 21st century. These include the Great Power Competition between the US and China, North Korea and nuclear security, critical new technologies, and energy security. These papers by emerging leaders in the Korean Studies field offer fresh perspectives on Korean security issues – both well-known and emerging – useful for watchers of the peninsula both inside and out of Northeast Asia.

Authors of this volume participated in the Pacific Forum’s Korea Foundation Fellowship program between 2019-2022, with the generous support of the Korea Foundation 

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction: Fostering Conversations on Emerging and Enduring Security Challenges | Rob York
  2. Choose to Win: Two Scenarios on Future Weapons and their Implications for Korea, the US, and Asian Security | Seongwon Lee
  3. South Korea’s Role Amid US-China Strategic Competition | Su Hyun Lee
  4. Between Rhetoric and Practice: Yoon Suk Yeol’s Choice for South Korea and the Indo-Pacific | Eun A Jo and Jae Chang
  5. South Korean Semiconductors: The Crux of Yoon Suk Yeol’s Long-Term Strategy toward Technological Leadership | Kangkyu Lee
  6. Exploring the Opportunities for Comprehensive Response to Disinformation in the Indo-Pacific: Cases of the Republic of Korea and the United States | Jong-Hwa Ahn
  7. The Politics of Multilateral Energy Cooperation in Northeast Asia: The Implications for South Korea, Japan, and China | Juyoung Kim

About the Authors

Rob York is Program Director for Regional Affairs at Pacific Forum. He is responsible for editing Pacific Forum publications, including the weekly PacNet series, the triannual Comparative Connections journal, and the in-depth Issue & Insights series. Prior to joining Pacific Forum, Rob worked as a production editor at The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. A PhD candidate in Korean history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Rob has established himself as a commentator on inter-Korean and Hong Kong affairs, as a regular contributor to NK News and The Daily NK and having been published at The South China Morning PostWar on the Rocks, the Foundation for Economic Education, Korean Studies, and The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, as well as conducting numerous interviews in various media outlets. His research agenda at Pacific Forum includes trade and its relationship with security, media analysis, countering disinformation, and human rights.

Seongwon Lee is a lecturer at the Graduate School of International Studies at Korea University. Previously, he was a non-resident Korea Foundation fellow at Pacific Forum (2020), deputy director for international cooperation at the Ministry of Unification, and interpretation officer at the Republic of Korea Marine Corps. He earned his BA at Stanford University, MA at University of North Korean Studies, and is currently finalizing his PhD dissertation titled “Future Weapons: An Evolutionary History” at the Graduate School of Future Strategy, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).

Su Hyun Lee is the 2021-22 resident Korea Foundation fellow at Pacific Forum. She holds a BA in East Asian International Studies and MA in International Cooperation both from Yonsei University. 

Eun A Jo is a PhD candidate in the Government Department at Cornell University and an incoming 2022-2023 predoctoral fellow at the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University. She is interested in political narratives, memory, and the domestic politics of international relations, with a focus on East Asia. Her dissertation, “Narrating Enemies in World Politics,” explores how post-conflict states narrate their former enemies and what implications these narratives hold for policies of peace and reconciliation. To this end, she compares the narrative trajectories of postcolonial, postwar, and post-authoritarian Taiwan and South Korea, using an interdisciplinary theoretical framework and a mixed-method research design. A paper from this research, titled “Pasts that Bind,” is forthcoming in International Organization.

Jae Chang is a recent graduate of Cornell University, where he studied Government and China & Asia-Pacific Studies. His primary research interests are Northeast Asian multilateralism and the role of identity politics in international relations. Additionally, he is interested in the impact of South Korean pop culture, especially in Korea’s partnership with Netflix.

Kangkyu Lee is a research fellow with the Humane AI Initiative at the East-West Center. He is also a consultant in Korean and Japanese affairs for Blackpeak. He is an incoming PhD student in International Affairs, Science, and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and was formerly (2020-21) a resident Korea Foundation fellow at Pacific Forum where he researched the implications of AI and other frontier technologies on international relations and global security.

Jong-Hwa Ahn is an expert in international security and strategic planning. Recently, he worked for the United Nations on policy planning and is currently a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow for media and journalism. At Pacific Forum, he was a Korea Foundation Fellow for foreign policy and regional strategy and, as an army officer in the Republic of Korea, he served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone and with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan. He also worked on public diplomacy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Korea Institute of Sport Science and received his Master’s in International Peace and Security from Korea University.

Juyoung Kim is a non-resident Korea Foundation fellow at Pacific Forum, where her research focused on the politics of multilateral energy cooperation in Northeast Asia. She has nearly five years of policy research experience in several think tanks in South Korea including the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, Future Resources Institute and East Asia Institute and her research interest in natural resource governance, the geopolitics of energy and multilateral energy cooperation has evolved gradually from her work experiences. Juyoung recently defended her PhD thesis on the politics of governing Mozambique’s LNG industry at King’s College London, and she received her MSc in International Relations Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Buffering: Cybersecurity in the U.S.-Philippine Alliance

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR1, pp. 1-8

Abstract

This study examines the integration of cybersecurity within the U.S.-Philippine alliance. Technological change poses distinct challenges to international alliances by presenting new security threats and vulnerabilities that alliances must adapt to address. Using a process-tracing approach, this article investigates the evolution of cybersecurity within the U.S.- Philippine alliance and whether existing defense arrangements have been effectively leveraged to meet the challenges of a cyber insecure world. It finds that despite initial momentum toward integrating cybersecurity within the alliance, cyber cooperation has largely stalled since 2016. Although the elections of Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump contributed to this malaise, the stagnation also reflects a larger strategic divergence in how Washington and Manila approach the digital domain. This contrasts sharply with other alliances like NATO and must be addressed to sustain alliance activities in cyberspace.

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About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.- Philippines Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. With backgrounds from academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Philippines bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.


Gregory Winger is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Fellow with the Center for Cyber Strategy and Policy at the University of Cincinnati. He is also a former Fulbright Scholar to the Philippines and Fellow with the National Asia Research Program.


Photo: Philippine Army-United States Army Pacific during the Cyber Security Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) in Manila, May 14 to 18, 2018. Source: Philippine Army/Public domain

PacNet #7 — China’s growing confidence in drone warfare

After a decade of extensive research and development, China has begun demonstrating growing confidence in drones’ manufacture—and their use in warfare.

Although many militaries around the world use drones in military operations, none integrate them in such a comprehensive a manner as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). While US military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan limited drone use to specific targets and individuals, the PLA, particularly its air force and navy, considers drones to be as important as any other offensive combat system. It does not see drones as mere auxiliaries, but a crucial combat component to compensate for some of its weakness.

For example, even though China has begun deploying modern combat carriers such as the J-20 stealth fighter and nuclear-armed submarines, it does so in relatively small amounts, and many believe its capabilities remain inferior to the United States’. To compensate, the PLA has adopted an asymmetric strategy. Thousands of missiles are deployed near the coast of Taiwan that can strike US aircraft carrier battle groups and reach US military bases as far as Guam. Drones complement the strategy of missile strikes in combination with modern fighter jets, submarines, and surface ships operating closer to China’s coast, which would be deadly for American forces.

Chinese sources report that a twin-seat version of the J-20 is under development. The extra pilot will allow the aircraft to perform more tasks, including operating several air drones which could be used for recognizing and partaking in attack missions, providing a protective barrier to the J-20 and improving its odds against superior American fighters. The Chinese air force’s most ambitious project is the “flying aircraft carrier,” a mother ship air drone that would carry several drones to be used in swarm attacks against enemy aircraft and air defense systems. Airshow China 2021 displayed the GJ-11 stealth air drone, designed for reconnaissance and attack missions in heavily defended air space. The GJ-11 is the most advanced drone of its kind; more advanced than anything the United States currently has in its inventory.

The Chinese air force is not merely relying on state-of-the-art drones. It is also converting obsolete fighter jets such as the J-7 into drones. Some analysts have speculated that these conversions have been used for incursions into Taiwan’s Air Identification Zone. Though no match for Taiwan’s modern fighters, when used in large numbers and mixed with modern fighters, they can confuse an opponent’s air defenses.

The PLA Navy (PLAN), just like the US Navy, believes that the odds of war between China and the United States will increase in the coming years and that naval warfare will be crucial. To counter US aircraft carriers, nuclear-armed submarines, and modern fighters, the PLAN is also investing heavily in drones. In July, one source reported that China was testing a “cross medium UAV,” a drone that can operate both underwater and in the air. The United States operates such drones, but those developed by China are far more sophisticated.

China’s Yunzhou Tech is developing a drone ship carrying six smaller water drones to attack the surface of enemy ships. The six-armed drones are to work in a coordinated manner to surround and proceed with its offensive operations. The growing sophistication of Chinese technology suggests that these ship drones will become more powerful and carry greater numbers of smaller attack drones. Chinese scientists have also developed a shark-shaped drone to attack submarines. In December 2020, for instance, an Indonesian fisherman found a Chinese underwater drone off the coast of South Sulawesi, close to northern Australia.

In September, several media reports claimed that China successfully landed a hypersonic drone. If such reports are accurate, China will be the first nation to achieve such prowess, placing it ahead of the United States in both drone and hypersonic technology.

If a conflict were to break out with the US Navy over Taiwan, the PLAN has no intention of fighting the United States in an open conventional naval battle, like the Battle of Midway. US forces will have to come closer to China’s coast, where the PLAN and PLA Air Force (PLAAF) enjoy the advantages of proximity to their logistic base and the protection of its missile umbrella. That means reaching Taiwan will be a difficult and bloody operation for the United States.

The US military has the upper hand in many areas, such as aircraft carriers, stealth fighters, nuclear-armed submarines, and satellites. However—and such a possibility is by no means certain—if China were to acquire the lead in hypersonic missiles, hypersonic and stealth attack drones, cruise and ballistic missiles, and cyber warfare, it is no longer clear that the balance of power favors the United States.

What’s clear is that the PLA believes that drones are the future of modern warfare, which is why it has embraced it. The United States would be well-advised to invest more in drone technology and the means to counter it.

Loro Horta (embajadorlorohorta@gmail.com) is an academic and diplomat from Timor Leste. The views expressed here are strictly his own.

PacNet commentaries and responses represent the views of the respective authors. Alternative viewpoints are always welcomed and encouraged. Click here to request a PacNet subscription.

U.S.-Singapore Cooperation on Tech and Security: Defense, Cyber, and Biotech

Issues & Insights Vol. 21 SR4, pp. 5 – 15

About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.- Singapore Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Singapore. With backgrounds from academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Singapore relationship. Between September 2020 and August 2021, cohort members engaged with senior experts and practitioners as they developed research papers addressing various aspects of the bilateral relationship.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its staff, donors and sponsors.


Abstract

The partnership between the United States and Singapore is founded in no small part on the shared recognition of the value that technology has for national security. Over the last 55 years, Singapore has become an established purchaser of U.S. defense technology, but the past 20 years have also seen the U.S.-Singapore relationship mature into an increasingly collaborative one, tackling newer fields like cybersecurity and biosecurity. However, current geopolitical tensions present a challenge for Singapore, which strives to retain its strategic autonomy by maintaining positive relations with all parties. Paradoxically, the rise of non-traditional security threats may pave the way for greater bilateral cooperation by allowing Singapore to position itself as a hub for cooperation on regional security issues in Southeast Asia at large. In such spirit, this paper recommends that the United States and Singapore do the following: 1) in defense technology, co-develop niche capabilities in C4ISR and unmanned systems with peacetime applications; 2) in cybersecurity, improve their domestic resilience against sophisticated nation-state actors while also building regional capacity to counter cybercrime in Southeast Asia; and 3) in biosecurity, strengthen regional epidemiological surveillance to brace against possible future pandemics.

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Shaun Ee is a nonresident fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, working at the nexus of security policy, emerging tech, and U.S.-China relations. He is also a Yenching Scholar at Peking University and writes for TechNode, a Beijing- and Shanghai-based publication covering China’s tech ecosystem. Previously, Shaun was assistant director of the Scowcroft Center’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, and served in the Singapore Armed Forces as a signals operator in an artillery unit. He holds a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, where he studied cognitive neuroscience and East African history.


Photo: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen stand at attention for the playing of both countries national anthems during a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Washington D.C., Nov. 3, 2021. Source: DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Roys