Mercedes Trent


Mercedes Trent is a Research Associate for the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, where her work covers security strategy in Northeast Asia. Previously, she worked for Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and the Japan Center for International Exchange.

She received her MA in Security Policy Studies from the George Washington University. She earned her BA in Asian Studies from Western Kentucky University. She spent four years working in Japan and Taiwan before returning to the U.S. in 2018. She speaks Japanese and Mandarin and is learning Korean.

Mercedes’s research interests focus on alliance structure, nuclear deterrence, U.S. strategy in the Indo-Pacific, and force posture development with regional concentration on Northeast Asia. She is a 2020 CSIS Nuclear Scholar and a Pacific Forum Young Leader.

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Twitter: @Mercedes_Trent


  • Northeast Asia
  • Alliance management
  • Defense posture trends in Northeast Asia
  • PLA modernization


  • BA Asian Studies
  • MA Security Policy Studies


  • Over the Line: The Implications of China’s ADIZ Intrusions in Northeast Asia

    This report uses data gathered from multilingual sources to explore China's motivations behind these intrusions as well as the implications for Japanese, South Korean, Taiwanese, and U.S. forces operating in Northeast Asia. 

  • The History of U.S. Decision-making on Nuclear Weapons in Japan

    The tight U.S.-Japan security alliance built from the American Occupation has historically set up Japan as an ideal staging ground for U.S. weapons systems. Though Secretary Esper and most proposals for intermediate-range missiles in Asia refer to conventional weapons, because of their strategic importance, many Japanese are likely to read these proposals as part of a long and politically fractious history of US weapons deployments to Japanese territory that included nuclear weapons.

  • Japan and South Korea Are Learning the Wrong Lessons From China

    The use of Chinese economically coercive tactics by Japan and the South Korean public are complicating resolution of their diplomatic dispute, legitimizing Chinese coercion, and undermining trilateral security cooperation.

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