Lost in Translation? US Defense Innovation and Northeast Asia


The United States must ensure that its military can adapt to an evolving threat environment to maintain its relative advantage vis-à-vis potential adversaries. Should the U.S. tackle this task unilaterally, however, the perception of relative U.S. decline will only aggravate uncertainties in Japan and South Korea about U.S. defense commitments. The U.S. can and should work with its Northeast Asian allies to address the challenges of disruptive technologies – and to understand the perceptions of these risks held by not only Japan and South Korea, but also China. Lost in Translation? U.S. Defense Innovation and Northeast Asia, the newest report from Stimson’s Japan Program, explores Northeast Asian views of these issues and recommends policy steps to minimize risk of conflict and alliance deterioration, and to link conversations across the Pacific. Join report authors Yuki Tatsumi and Alex Bollfrass with Thomas G. Mahnken, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, for an in-depth discussion of these critical issues. A light lunch will be served.

WHAT: The launch of Stimson’s new report Lost in Translation? U.S. Defense Innovation and Northeast Asia.
WHERE: The Stimson Center, 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC, 20036.
WHEN: Friday, July 14, 2017, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
RSVP: Click here to RSVP for the event.
FOLLOW@StimsonCenter on Twitter for event news and use #StimsonToday to join the conversation.


Alex Bollfrass, Nonresident Fellow, Stimson Center
Alex Bollfrass is a Nonresident Fellow at Stimson and a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs. His dissertation compares intelligence assessments of nuclear weapons programs, drawing on original archival research to explain the intelligence successes and failures of the former East German, British, and American intelligence agencies. He also researches the implications of changes in climate for human conflict and is applying advanced natural language statistical techniques to investigate the evolution of diplomatic rhetoric related to nuclear weapons. He is a Bradley Fellow and a Center for International Security Studies Fellow at the university. Bollfrass was previously a Visiting Scholar and Research Associate with the Stimson Center’s Nuclear Weapons and International Security Program, where he served as co-editor of two books on the technical and political obstacles to nuclear disarmament. He has held the Scoville Fellowship at the Arms Control Association and reported for Arms Control Today on nuclear and chemical weapons issues. He holds a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.P.A. degree in public policy from Princeton University.

Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken, President and CEO, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Dr. Thomas G. Mahnken is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He also is a Senior Research Professor at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and has served for over 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, including tours in Iraq and Kosovo. His government career includes service as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning from 2006 to 2009, where he helped craft the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review and 2008 National Defense Strategy. He served on the staff of the 2014 National Defense Panel, 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, and the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. He served in the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment and as a member of the Gulf War Air Power Survey. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. He is the author of numerous books, including “Strategy in Asia: The Past, Present and Future of Regional Security” (2014). He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in international affairs from SAIS, and was a National Security Fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies.

Yuki Tatsumi, Director of the Japan Program, Stimson Center
Yuki Tatsumi is the Director of Stimson’s Japan Program and a Senior Associate in the East Asia Program. Previously, Tatsumi worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as the Special Assistant for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. In September 2006, Tatsumi testified before the House Committee on International Relations. She is a recipient of the 2009 Yasuhiro Nakasone Incentive Award and in 2012 earned the Letter of Appreciation from the Ministry of National Policy of Japan for her contributions to advancing mutual understanding between the United States and Japan. A native of Tokyo, Tatsumi holds a B.A. in liberal arts from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan and an M.A. in international economics and Asian studies from Johns Hopkins University SAIS.

Photo credit US Navy

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