National Security Institute Publishes New NSI Decision Memo: “Chinese Naval Aggression in the South China Sea”

February 11, 2021
Contact: Emily Williams


National Security Institute Publishes New NSI Decision Memo:
“Chinese Naval Aggression in the South China Sea”

Arlington, VA – China’s rising prowess in the South China Sea is a significant security threat and the National Security Institute (NSI) at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School’s latest NSI Decision Memo, “Chinese Naval Aggression in the South China Sea,” by NSI Visiting Fellow James M. Freeman, recommends that the U.S. move quickly to maintain its naval advantage over China.

This Decision Memo is the latest release from NSI China 2020, NSI’s initiative which focuses on understanding and countering China’s increasing ideological, economic, military, and strategic influence.

This Decision Memo:

  • Describes China’s determined effort to command the South China Sea.
  • Highlights the threat China’s actions pose to regional and U.S. national security.
  • Argues for a reimagining of U.S. naval warfare.
  • Provides actionable recommendations for the U.S. and its allies to regain the advantage and better ensure regional and global security.

“With our recent renewed focus on the INDOPACOM area of responsibility, specifically the South China Sea as it relates to the Taiwan straits and Chinese denial operations of open water navigation,” said author James M. Freeman.  “This area of discussion seemed timely and relevant.”

“In the first weeks of the Biden Administration, the South China Sea has quickly reminded the world of its prominence as a flashpoint for escalating tensions and of its potential for great power conflict as China sends warplanes and the United States sends a destroyer into the Taiwan Strait, and as two U.S. carrier fleets conduct joint exercises in the SCS,” said NSI Director of Policy John Lipsey.  “In this NSI Decision Memo, James Freeman raises critical questions about whether China has already gained command of the SCS by putting these expensive assets at risk and how challenges the U.S. Navy to reimagine its warfare capabilities by tacking toward more dispensable unmanned and subsurface systems.”

The paper is available here.

James M. Freeman’s bio can be found here.

About the National Security Institute
The National Security Institute serves as a platform for research, teaching, scholarship, and policy development that incorporates a realistic assessment of the threats facing the United States and its allies, as well as an appreciation of the legal and practical challenges facing U.S. intelligence, defense, law enforcement, homeland security, and cybersecurity communities.  NSI draws on the experience of its fellows, as well as its highly distinguished advisory board and faculty, to produce timely research and policy materials that deliver insightful analysis and actionable recommendations to senior policymakers in the White House and key departments and agencies, as well as those on Capitol Hill.

About George Mason
George Mason University is Virginia’s largest public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls more than 33,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states.  Mason has grown rapidly over the past half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility.

About the Scalia Law School
The Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University is defined by three words: Learn. Challenge. Lead. Students receive an outstanding legal education (Learn), are taught to critically evaluate prevailing orthodoxy and pursue new ideas (Challenge), and, ultimately, are well prepared to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields (Lead).  It has been one of America’s top-ranked law schools for the last fifteen years.