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Dr. David Lai

Area(s) of Expertise: Asian political and military affairs, especially China and Korea; democratization; comparative communism and post-communism; civil-military relations; strategic culture.

Photo DAVID LAI, renown Professor of Asian Security Studies, covered U.S.-China and U.S.-Asian security relations. He also made special contributions to the study of Chinese strategic thinking and military operational art, receiving acknowledgements from Dr. Henry Kissinger, General (U.S. Air Force Ret.) Steve Lorenz, Dr. Joseph Nye, Jr., Dr. Graham Allison, and many in the U.S. diplomatic and defense communities.

SSI books and monographs by Dr. David Lai

  • Avoiding the Trap: U.S. Strategy and Policy for Competing in the Asia-Pacific Beyond the Rebalance

    February 06, 2018

    Edited by Dr. David Lai, Professor John F. Troxell, Mr. Frederick J. Gellert.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Trump administration has recently called for a free and open Indo-Pacific, essentially replacing the Obama-era “Rebalance.” This U.S. Army War College report provides prescient analysis and policy recommendations on how to proceed down the path while simultaneously managing the rise of China.

  • U.S.-China Competition: Asia-Pacific Land Force Implications A U.S. Army War College Integrated Research Project in Support of U.S. Army Pacific Command and Headquarters, Department of the Army, Directorate of Strategy and Policy (HQDA G-35)

    November 01, 2016

    Edited by Prof. William G. Braun, III, Dr. David Lai.
    View the Executive Summary

    This report examines U.S.-China gray zone competition in the Asia-Pacific and the development of land force relevant recommendations to improve the U.S.’s competitive edge.

  • The Chinese People's Liberation Army in 2025

    July 28, 2015

    Edited by Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Dr. David Lai.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Chinese People’s Liberation Army of 2025 is the 2014 edition of an ongoing series on the People’s Liberation Army co-published by the Strategic Studies Institute, the National Bureau of Asian Research, and the United States Pacific Command. This volume builds on previous volumes and identifies potential trajectories for PLA force modernization and mission focus, and how these potential changes could impact external actors.

  • Assessing the People's Liberation Army in the Hu Jintao Era

    April 22, 2014

    Edited by Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Dr. David Lai, Mr. Travis Tanner.
    View the Executive Summary

    How has President Hu Jintao contributed to China’s military modernization?

  • Asia-Pacific: A Strategic Assessment

    May 28, 2013

    Authored by Dr. David Lai.
    View the Executive Summary

    The U.S.-China power transition has become a defining factor in the Asia-Pacific, conditioning the calculation of policy among the Asia-Pacific nations. A rising China brings mixed blessings—opportunities for development, but risks for conflict.

  • Learning by Doing: The PLA Trains at Home and Abroad

    November 30, 2012

    Edited by Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Dr. David Lai, Mr. Travis Tanner.
    The papers presented in this latest volume in a series on the PLA are a timely and critical look at an evolving and expanding Chinese military and provide context for the changes we may see as the PLA continues to modernize.

  • The United States and China in Power Transition

    December 19, 2011

    Authored by Dr. David Lai.
    Historically, systematic power transitions were settled in war. Can China and the United States avoid a deadly contest and spare the world another catastrophe? What can we expect from China and the United States with respect to the future of international relations?

  • Chinese Lessons from Other Peoples' Wars

    November 17, 2011

    Edited by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. David Lai, Mr. Roy Kamphausen.
    The 2010 People's Liberation Army (PLA) conference focused on the lessons learned by the PLA from the military actions and experiences of non-Chinese armed forces over the past 30 years, which the PLA can apply to its own strategic planning.

  • The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China's Military

    July 06, 2010

    Edited by Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Dr. David Lai, Dr. Andrew Scobell.
    In 2009, the People's Republic of China, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, and the PLA Air Force celebrated their 60th anniversaries. Behind China’s economic development, the PLA parades, and the spectacular celebration fireworks, the world clearly saw an ambitious China edging its way to the center stage of international economic, political, and military affairs. However, a few other major events in the last 2 years came just in time to remind the Chinese leaders, and the world as well, that China still faced a challenging future.

  • Beyond the Strait: PLA Missions other than Taiwan

    April 30, 2009

    Edited by Mr. Roy Kamphausen, Dr. David Lai, Dr. Andrew Scobell.
    On September 26, 2008, over 70 leading experts from academia, government, the military and policy thinktanks assembled at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, to look beyond the Chinese People's Liberation Army's (PLA) primary focus on Taiwan and to the evolving new roles of the PLA. The conference could not have been timelier, given the PLA’s active involvement in events during 2008, including earthquake relief, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, space activities, and blue water naval operations.

  • Learning from the Stones: A Go Approach to Mastering China's Strategic Concept, Shi

    May 01, 2004

    Authored by Dr. David Lai.
    The author introduces a new approach to learning about the different ways of strategic thinking and interaction in Chinese culture. It is through learning the Chinese board game called go,that is a living reflection of Chinese philosophy, culture, strategic thinking, warfare, military tactics, and diplomatic bargaining. The author suggests that a little knowledge of go will take U.S. leaders a long way in understanding the essence of the Chinese way of war and diplomacy.