Security Panel

Security Panel: Maritime Issues

Navigating Strategic Competition and the Impacts of Capability Development

Friday April 12, 14:15 – 15:45 (Crane Room, Paige Hall)

Maritime disputes continue to feature as conflict points in the relationship between China, the United States, and other powers in the Asia-Pacific. Recent political developments — more frequent Freedom-of-Navigation operations, a remilitarizing Japan, and toughening Chinese rhetoric against violations of the nine-dash line — have contributed to rising tensions in the East and South China Sea. The technological landscape has changed too, with advancements in naval, aviation, and ballistic technology enhancing the defense capabilities of regional states. Given the potential for escalation and the economic stakes involved, any maritime conflict in the region would result in global ramifications. This panel will explore the different insights and perspectives on strategic competition in the maritime domain, as well as how technological developments could influence the nature of maritime conflict.


Michael Swaine, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Ian Easton, Project 2049 Institute

Elsa Kania, Center for a New American Security

Melissa Stewart, Cain Hibbard & Myers PC

Moderated by

Lionel Oh

Lionel is a sophomore studying International Relations and Computer Science at Tufts University. On campus, he is the Co-Director of FieldEx, Co-President of the Singapore Students Association, and is actively involved in both ALLIES and 180 Degrees Consulting. Outside of Tufts, he is part of the editorial team of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Singapore Policy Journal. He also serves as a military officer in the Republic of Singapore Air Force, and takes a strong interest in furthering his understanding in field of defense and cybersecurity. In his free time, he likes to run and looks for good food haunts.


Michael Swaine

Michael Swaine is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and one of the most prominent American analysts in Chinese security studies. Formerly a senior policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, Swaine is a specialist in Chinese defense and foreign policy, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian international relations. He has authored and edited more than a dozen books and monographs and many journal articles and book chapters in these areas, directs several security-related projects with Chinese partners, and advises the U.S. government on Asian security issues. He received his doctorate in government from Harvard University.


Ian Easton

Ian Easton is a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, where he conducts research on defense and security issues in Asia. During the summer of 2013 he was a visiting fellow at the Japan Institute for International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo. Previously, Ian worked as a China analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) for two years. Prior to that, he lived in Taipei from 2005 to 2010. During his time in Taiwan, he worked as a translator for Island Technologies Inc. and the Foundation for Asia-Pacific Peace Studies, and he also conducted research with the Asia Bureau Chief of Defense News. Ian holds an M.A. in China Studies from National Chengchi University in Taiwan and a B.A. in International Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Ian has authored The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and American Strategy in Asia (The Project 2049 Institute, October 2017).


Elsa Kania

Elsa B. Kania is pursuing her Ph.D. at Harvard University and is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her research focuses on Chinese military innovation in emerging technologies in support of the Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Initiative at CNAS, where she also acts as a member of the research team for the new Task Force on Artificial Intelligence and National Security. Her analytic interests include Chinese military modernization, information warfare, and defense science and technology. She has been invited to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC).


Melissa Stewart

Melissa Stewart is an associate at Cain, Hibbard, and Myers PC. She specializes in international arbitration and commercial litigation surrounding issues of employment law, healthcare, and contracts rights. She has extensive experience representing a wide range of clients, from multinational companies to sovereign governments, and has appeared before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. She was a key member of the legal team that represented the Philippines in its ICJ case against China, and has provided legal advice to Permanent Missions to the United Nations and civil society on matters before the General Assembly. She has worked for the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, and at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She has published in numerous journals, including the Journal of International Dispute Settlement and The American Bar Association the Year in Review. She received her LLM from the Paris Institute of Political Studies, as well as a JD from Georgetown University Law Center, where she worked as a global law scholar and articles editor for the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.



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