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

When China established its first ADIZ in the East China Sea on November 23, 2013, the move was widely seen as a practice run before establishing one in the South China Sea to strengthen its controversial territorial claims. However, examining China’s use of its ADIZ the way its treatment of those of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan has evolved over the past seven years reveals that China’s East China Sea ADIZ has effectively given China new latitude to extend its influence in Northeast Asia.

Since 2013, China has committed more than 4,400 intrusions into the ADIZs of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Often, Chinese forces violate multiple countries’ ADIZs on their flights, flying routes that consecutively transgress South Korea’s and Japan’s ADIZs or Taiwan’s and Japan’s. While each country has so far managed the issue in its own way by scrambling jets, discussing the issue with China in bilateral meetings, and publicizing some information about the intrusions, the issue has become a regional one impacting all three countries.

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.

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Temporary Work Visa Holders in the United States, By the Numbers

The Trump administration is expected to unveil an executive action in the near future that would significantly restrict temporary (“nonimmigrant”) work visa categories.  While there are multiple public data sets available from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State relevant to these visa categories, they are unfortunately not sufficient to answer these basic questions with great precision: How many individuals enter the country each year, for the first time, using each of these visa categories? How many individuals are already in the United States at any given moment, having previously entered using each of these visa categories?

The goal of this report is to synthesize the relevant data and clearly present what it can—and cannot—reveal about the number of individuals potentially impacted by work visa restrictions. You can read the full report here.

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Conventional Deterrence of North Korea

The debate over whether North Korea could be deterred was eclipsed by the onset of negotiations in 2018. Yet, the last three years have been marked by rapid advancements in the regime’s military capabilities and apparent evolution in its military strategy, which now relies on the threat of preemptive attacks against allied conventional forces to limit damage to the regime. Many of the standard assumptions that have underwritten U.S.-ROK deterrence posture are now obsolete. The deterrence balance on the peninsula is now between DPRK nuclear forces and allied conventional forces. Allied deterrence posture that depends on the threat of nuclear use or invasion will be insufficient to deter the regime from attempting to impose a fait accompli to forcibly achieve limited objectives. The alliance must place conventional deterrence at the center of its planning to ensure that U.S. conventional forces can effectively supplement South Korea’s ability growing ability to defend itself from limited aggression. The proposed posture requires closer coordination and additional capability, a difficult but necessary step at a time when the alliance faces severe friction.

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Air-launched Ballistic Missiles

In 2018, Russia and China both tested an uncommon type of missile that flew a ballistic trajectory but could be launched from an aircraft. Air-launched ballistic missiles (ALBM) are just one curiosity at a time when many countries are rapidly expanding and upgrading their missile inventories, but the tests raised some understandable questions: Is this a new capability? If a country has ground- and sea-launched ballistic missiles, or air-launched cruise missiles, why does it need an ALBM? What is it for?

Examining the phenomenon of air-launched ballistic missiles provides insight into not only the planning of the countries developing these systems, but also the diversity and complexity of missile systems.

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Nuclear Monitoring and Verification in the Digital Age: Seven Recommendations for Improving the Process

The goal of this Task Force report is to offer findings and make recommendations regarding nonproliferation monitoring and verification in general; our observations are grounded in large part on the Task Force’s continued attention to nonproliferation developments such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the P5+1 and Iran, nuclear developments in North Korea, and other nonproliferation challenges.

The Task Force seeks in this report to examine some of the significant developments in the current digital age as they relate to nonproliferation monitoring activities by both governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO), to include:

  1. the accelerating quality and quantity of available imagery and other forms of remote sensing available outside governments;
  2. the growing volume and availability of worldwide transactional data related to commerce; and
  3. the ease of communicating findings, observations, and assertions about illicit activities related to nuclear programs and proliferation (with varying degrees of accuracy and truthfulness) through an increasing number of traditional and newer social media outlets.
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The Nonproliferation and Disarmament Challenges of Naval Nuclear Propulsion

A so-called loophole might allow a non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS) to use a naval reactor program to acquire nuclear weapons by taking nuclear material outside of safeguards and then potentially diverting some of that material. Additionally, nuclear-armed states with nuclear-powered warships might use their naval reactor programs to justify keeping a substantial inventory of highly enriched uranium (HEU)3 that could be quickly converted to nuclear weapon use or low enriched uranium (LEU) that could also be converted, but with more steps required to boost the LEU to HEU. Recognizing these and related nonproliferation and disarmament challenges, this report presents a proposal for the 2020 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference: a naval reactor quid pro quo (QPQ) for nuclear- armed states4 and NPT non-nuclear weapon states. Download

Nuclear Dynamics in a Multipolar Strategic Ballistic Missile Defense World

This report examines the nuclear dynamics and implications for strategic relations in a world where four nuclear-armed states are developing strategic ballistic missile defenses (BMD). These states are the United States, Russia, China, and India. Each state appears to have the common rationale of wanting at least limited protection against ballistic missile attacks, and all will respond with various countermeasures to ensure that their nuclear deterrents are viable as they react to missile defense developments in other countries. In addition, we have found that each state has differing motivations for strategic BMD. Download

France’s Choice for Naval Nuclear Propulsion: Why Low-Enriched Uranium Was Chosen

This special report is a result of an FAS task force on French naval nuclear propulsion and explores France’s decision to switch from highly-enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU). By detailing the French Navy’s choice to switch to LEU fuel, author Alain Tournyol du Clos — a lead architect of France’s nuclear propulsion program — explores whether France’s choice is fit for other nations. Read or download now.

Use of Microbial Forensics in the Middle East/North Africa Region


In this report, Christoper Bidwell, JD and Randall Murch, PhD, explore the use of microbial forensics as a tool for creating a common base line for understanding biologically-triggered phenomena, as well as one that can promote mutual cooperation in addressing these phenomena. A particular focus is given to the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, as it has been forced to deal with multiple instances of both naturally-occurring and man-made biological threats over the last 10 years. Although the institution of a microbial forensics capability in the MENA region (however robust) is still several years away, establishing credibility of the results offered by microbial forensic analysis performed by western states and/or made today in workshops and training have the ability to prepare the policy landscape for the day in which the source of a bio attack, either man-made or from nature, needs to be accurately attributed.

A full PDF version of the report can be found here.