China's New “Black Box”: Problems and Prospects for the Central National Security Commission - By CWP Alumni Joel Wuthnow

Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017

Abstract: China's establishment of a Central National Security Commission (CNSC) in late 2013 was a potentially transformative event in the evolution of China's national security decision-making structure. Yet, as of mid-2017, few details about this organization and its activities have been released, leading to continuing questions about its likely role and functions in the Chinese system. Based on an analysis of numerous authoritative but under-utilized Chinese sources, this article addresses the rationale, prospects and implications of the CNSC. It argues that the organization is both a fulfilment of a long-held desire by many in China for a centralized, permanent national security deliberation forum and also a reflection of the unique challenges facing China in the 21st century. Contrary to existing analyses, which argue that the CNSC is likely to be focused primarily on domestic security tasks, the article contends that it is more likely to play a major role in both internal and external security affairs. Moreover, the article argues that if certain obstacles can be addressed, the CNSC may have broad implications in areas ranging from China's crisis response capability to the role played by the Chinese Communist Party general secretary in the national security decision-making process. The conclusion recaps the findings and suggests avenues for further research.


中国在 2013 年底设立的中央国家安全委员会 (简称为国安委) 成为了中国国家安全决策结构演变的潜在的改革性的时刻. 但是, 截至 2015 年后期, 中国公布了较少关于国安委的结构和行动的信息, 而引起了对于它在中国体系的作用和职能的持续问题. 这片文章采用了各种不常利用的权威性的研究资料而进行了对于国安委的意图, 前途, 和影响力的探索. 本篇文章认为国安委的成立不仅实现了建立一个固定的国家安全决策机构长期持有的期望, 也是中国在 21 世纪面临的独特挑战的反映。 现有研究分析认为国安委的主要任务集中在国内安全事务, 但本文章却认为组织更有可能发挥内部以及外部安全事务的重大作用. 此外, 文章认为, 如果某些障碍能取得解决, 国安委即可影响到各种各样的安全领域, 包括了中国的危机应对能力以及中共总书记在国家安全决策过程中的角色等领域. 结论重述结果和提出了进一步研究的领域。

Joel Wuthnow Photo