Dr. Joel Wuthnow, a research fellow in the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs within the Institute for National Strategic Studies at National Defense University, will discuss how over the past five years, China has unfolded a bold overseas infrastructure development program known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Foreign observers have alternatively characterized this as a boon for regional growth and as a self-interested attempt to increase China’s influence across Eurasia and beyond. This lecture will provide a more nuanced interpretation, arguing that the BRI serves three interrelated goals: strengthening CCP legitimacy, providing new opportunities for Chinese state economic actors, and enhancing China’s geopolitical security. The lecture will also address challenges inherent in the BRI and derive lessons and implications for U.S. strategy.
Dr. T.X. Hammes, a Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University, will discuss how the convergence of technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating a family of smart cheap weapons. Advanced manufacturing will make these weapons available in very large numbers to even small nations. This means that capabilities that used to be reserved for major powers, such as long-range precision strike, will now be available to a wide range of states and even some non-state actors. As a result, power projection will be much more costly in both blood and treasure.