Chinese Military Development – Scope and Strategic Goals

ISDP FORUM with Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro

Assistant Professor at Georgetown University

Monday, June 1, 14.30-16.00


For over a decade, academics, policymakers and government officials have been engaged in a relentless debate about Chinese military capabilities and intentions. To some, China is an expansionist country akin to Germany before WWI. Others argue that while China’s assertive behavior in its regional offshore island disputes is disconcerting, the Party is completely focused on domestic stability and therefore, lacks global ambition. Dr. Mastro argues that while the Chinese leadership would prefer to stay focused on internal development and regional issues, facts on the ground will increasingly compel the CCP to develop some global operational capabilities. Specifically, the burgeoning need to protect commercial assets and Chinese nationals abroad will lead the country to develop some global power-projection capabilities, regardless of its current plans. This has important implications for U.S.-China relations as well as regional security.

Oriana Skylar Mastro is an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where her research focuses on Chinese military and security policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. She is also an officer in the United States Air Force Reserve, for which she works as a reserve air attaché for the Asia-Pacific region. Previously, Dr. Mastro was a fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a University of Virginia Miller Center National Fellow and a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Pacific Forum Sasakawa Peace Fellow. Additionally, she has worked on China policy issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, RAND Corporation, U.S. Pacific Command, and Project 2049. She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University.


Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Mr. Scott Sutherland at


Photo credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet, Flickr