U.S. ‘pivot to China’ takes the spotlight at SMU’s 2014 Tower Center National Security Conference Nov. 5-6

Map of China courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.
Map of China courtesy of the CIA World Factbook.

SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies will examine the rise of China, and the U.S. response, during its 7th annual National Security Conference Nov. 5-6, 2014.

“How does China factor into U.S. strategy? No question matters as much for the future of U.S. national security,” says Joshua Rovner, the Tower Center’s director of studies. “During this year’s conference, we are bringing together a stellar lineup of speakers from the policy world, the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community and the military as well as some of the nation’s smartest and most provocative scholars specializing in China, East Asia and U.S. foreign policy.”

> Rovner in The Dallas Morning News: Never mind ISIS and Putin – Asia matters more to U.S. strategy

The conference opens Wednesday, Nov. 5, with a keynote dinner address by Thomas Fingar, former chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council and Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He is the author of Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press 2011). Fingar’s address, “China, Intelligence and U.S. Grand Strategy,” will delve into what the U.S. “pivot to Asia” means in terms of intelligence and foreign policy.

> More information on the Tower Center National Security Conference opening dinner

The second day of the conference, Thursday, Nov. 6, will feature three panel discussions. Panel one will examine grand strategy and the rise of China. Experts on Asian politics will assess how China and the United States view each other, as well as how regional states view the “pivot.” The second panel will explore the military dimensions of a conflict with China, including the possibility of nuclear escalation. The final panel will close with a discussion of defense industry implications.

> Find a complete list of 2014 Tower Center National Security Conference speakers and topics

“The United States has already declared that it wants to ‘pivot’ its attention from the Middle East to Asia, and it has increasingly focused on overcoming Chinese military innovations in the event of a crisis or war,” Rovner says. “But what the pivot means, and what it requires from the military are still unanswered questions. The armed services are struggling to determine whether to prepare for confrontation with a traditional power like China, or continue investing their time and energy in counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and small wars.

“The defense industry needs to determine what kinds of technologies to invest in and what kinds of weapons to build. Finally, the White House needs to answer basic questions about what to buy, where to send it, and how to support local allies without encouraging them to needlessly provoke China.”

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the SMU Tower Center blog.

> Visit SMU’s Tower Center for Political Studies online at smu.edu/towercenter