Thomas J. Christensen

Alastair Iain Johnston 江憶恩


  • Deputy Director

Chen Yali (Lily)

  • 2016-2017 Fellow

Nate Adler

  • Alumni Student Affiliate

Andrew Erickson

2010-2011 Fellow

Andrew S. Erickson (艾立信) is Professor of Strategy in, and a core founding member of, the U.S. Naval War College (NWC)’s China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI). He helped to establish CMSI and to stand it up officially in 2006, and has subsequently played an integral role in its development. Erickson currently serves on the Naval War College Review’s Editorial Board. Since 2008 he has been an Associate in Research at Harvard University’s John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. Erickson is also an expert contributor to the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report (中国实时报), for which he has authored or coauthored thirty-seven articles. 


Erickson is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2012 the National Bureau of Asian Research awarded him the inaugural Ellis Joffe Prize for PLA Studies. During academic year 2010-11 Erickson was a Fellow in the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program in residence at Harvard’s Center for Government and International Studies. From 2008-11 he was a Fellow in the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ Public Intellectuals Program, and served as a scholar escort on a five-Member Congressional trip to China. For over a decade, Erickson has managed NWC’s scholarly research relationship with Japanese counterparts. In 2014 Erickson helped to escort the Commander of China’s Navy and his delegation on a visit to Harvard. He subsequently helped to establish, and to escort the first iteration of, NWC’s first bilateral naval officer exchange program with China, which he continues to support.


Erickson has taught courses at NWC and Yonsei University. He advises a wide range of student research and theses at NWC, Harvard, and other institutions; and provides curricular inputs to NWC and other schools. In 2013, while deployed in the Pacific as a Regional Security Education Program scholar aboard USS Nimitz, he delivered twenty-five hours of presentations. Erickson has lectured extensively at government, academic, and private sector institutions throughout the United States and Asia. He has briefed a broad array of senior policy-makers and principals, including the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, his Executive Panel, the Secretary of the Navy, and U.S. naval leadership throughout the Asia-Pacific; as well as the Deputy Secretary of Defense, other Executive Branch officials, and multiple Members of Congress. He has testified before the House Foreign Affairs CommitteeHouse Armed Services Committee, and U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Erickson has provided inputs for, and reviews of, multifarious government programs, simulation exercises, and reports. 


Erickson received his Ph.D. and M.A. in international relations and comparative politics from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a B.A. in history and political science. He has studied Mandarin in the Princeton in Beijing program at Beijing Normal University’s College of Chinese Language and Culture; and Japanese language, politics, and economics in the year-long Associated Kyoto Program at Doshisha University. Erickson previously worked for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a Chinese translator and technical analyst. He gained early experience working briefly at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong, the U.S. Senate, and the White House. Proficient in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Japanese, he has traveled extensively in Asia and has lived in China, Japan, and Korea.


Erickson’s research—which focuses on Asia-Pacific defense, international relations, technology, and resource issues—has been published widely in English- and Chinese-language edited volumes and in such peer-reviewed journals as China QuarterlyJournal of Contemporary ChinaAsian SecurityJournal of Strategic StudiesOrbisAsia PolicyPacific Focus, China Security, and Acta  Astronautica; as well as in Foreign Affairs, The Washington QuarterlyThe National InterestThe American InterestForeign PolicyWar on the RocksJoint Force Quarterly, IHS Jane’sGeopolitics of Energy, Global Health GovernanceRSIS Commentary, and Peking University’s China International Strategy Review (Chinese- and English-language editions) and International and Strategic Studies Report. Erickson has also published annotated translations of several Chinese articles on maritime strategy. His coauthored Foreign article, “Not-So-Empty Talk: The Danger of China’s ‘New Type of Great-Power Relations’ Slogan,” has been read widely in U.S. and Asian policy circles. Erickson’s National Interest article “Showtime: China Reveals Two ‘Carrier-Killer’ Missiles” received more than 65,000 page views in its first 24 hours online. His RealClearDefense piece “What Sort of Navy America Needs” registered 60,000 page views in its first day online.


Erickson is the author of the book Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Development (Jamestown Foundation, 2013). He is coauthor of two other books: Gulf of Aden Anti-Piracy and China’s Maritime Commons Presence (Jamestown, 2015; available from Brookings Institution Press) and Assessing China’s Cruise Missile Ambitions (National Defense University Press, 2014). He has coauthored three additional volumes: Charting China’s International Security Activism (Center for a New American Security, 2015) and the CMSI monographs Chinese Antipiracy Operations in the Gulf of Aden (2013) and Chinese Mine Warfare (2009). Erickson is the editor of, and a contributor to, two volumes: a study of China’s military and commercial shipbuilding industry (Naval Institute Press, forthcoming) and History of Rocketry and Astronautics: Proceedings of the 47th History Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (2015). He is coeditor of, and a contributor to, eight volumes: Basing and Forward Presence in the Asia-Pacific (2014); the five-volume Naval Institute Press book series, “Studies in Chinese Maritime Development,” comprising Chinese Aerospace Power (2011), China, the U.S., and 21st Century Sea Power (2010), China Goes to Sea (2009), China’s Energy Strategy (2008), and China’s Future Nuclear Submarine Force (2007); as well as the CMSI volume China’s Near Seas Combat Capabilities (2014), and the NWC Newport Paper China’s Nuclear Force Modernization (2005). 


Erickson’s work has been cited widely in scholarly publications and reports from the U.S. government and think tanks such as CSIS and RAND. He has been quoted extensively in numerous newspapers, magazines, and online sources, including Science, WiredThe BBCThe Financial Times, Aviation Week & Space Technology, The Nelson Report, BloombergThe Economist, Xinhua, China Daily, The New YorkerTimeDer Spiegel, The Washington PostFortune, The Times of India, El País, NewsweekThe Straits TimesDefense NewsLe MondeChina Radio InternationalAerospace America, and The New York Times. Erickson’s work is also featured in a broad range of print, television, radio, and Internet media. Erickson has published op-eds with CBS and the Asahi Shimbun (Japanese- and English-language editions), and has appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, CCTV, NHK, Al JazeeraVoice of AmericaAustralian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and The John Batchelor Show. He tweets via @AndrewSErickson and is listed among The China Studies Twitterati 50.


Erickson is co-founder of China SignPost™ 洞察中国 <>, a research newsletter and web portal that covers key developments in Greater China, with particular focus on natural resource, technology, industry, and trade issues. He has coauthored 91 China SignPost™ reports. Analyses have anticipated limitations in the implementation and efficacy of Xi-era reforms (#81), China’s recent stock market slump (#89), and a long-run S-curved slowdown in China’s economic growth rate and overall development trajectory (#44). Links to these, and Erickson’s other publications, can be found at China Analysis from Original Sources 以第一手资料研究中国 <>, a website that posts and curates analyses—many based on Chinese-language sources not previously assessed by foreign observers—to offer insights into China and its impact on the world.


***Please note: unless otherwise specified, the views posted, reposted, or otherwise expressed on Dr. Andrew S. Erickson’s research websites, social media accounts, and other electronic and print sources are his alone and should not be construed to represent the official policies or estimates of the U.S. Navy or any other organization of the U.S. government. Additionally, retweets via Twitter do not imply endorsement in any way. Neither tweets nor retweets should be construed as political statements.***

Click here for Chinese-language (中文) version of biography.


  • China’s military and foreign policy
  • Japan/Asia-Pacific security and international relations
  • Chinese defense science, technology, and industry
  • Maritime and aerospace technology development, history and current status
  • Energy, resources, and geostrategy
  • Military basing and power projection
  • Sino-American relations and contemporary policy issues
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