NBR Impact Update

December 2022–February 2023

Dear NBR Board/Chairman’s Council/Advisors/President’s Circle Members,

Last April, Sir John Sawers, former Chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), delivered a keynote address at an event we cohosted with Lau China Institute at King’s College London on NBR’s report on China’s digital ambitions and global strategy. In those remarks, he said,

    In reading the NBR report, several things struck me [including] Emily de La Bruyère’s analysis of how Chinese strategy is not just about commercial advantage and intelligence collection and cybersecurity, it’s about digitally empowered authoritarianism [and] Matt Turpin’s conclusion that China is building a digital platform and an infrastructure and creating an operating system for a new illiberal international order. Those findings should worry us all.

In February, I had the distinct privilege of moderating a discussion with Sir John in the first Chairman’s Council roundtable of the year, in which he offered his perspectives on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, implications for the United States in Europe and the Indo-Pacific, and outlooks for the year ahead.

In the first two President’s Circle dialogues of 2023, Biden administration official Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, and a senior National Security Council staff member joined me for off-the-record conversations with members and special guests.

In the year ahead, I look forward to hosting more exclusive engagements with prominent experts and public figures and drawing new members to the Chairman’s Council—our giving society for corporate engagement—and President’s Circle—a giving community united in common cause.

As many of you know, NBR announced in February that distinguished South Korean diplomat and strategist Ambassador Ahn Ho-young has joined our Board of Directors. We look forward to working closely together with Ambassador Ahn on a whole range of NBR research and fellowship programs, including our next generation fellows’ delegations to Seoul and our initiatives on enhancing U.S.-ROK technology cooperation and economic security.

Below please find my quarterly NBR Impact Update for the period from December 2022 through February 2023. Please share this quick reference on NBR’s impact with your own networks.

Bipartisan engagement on the hill

“To most effectively compete with China, the United States’ strongest tool is its network of allies. In emerging and foundational technologies, the United States cannot take on China on its own. In semiconductors, in particular, the United States and its allies specialize in different segments of the chip supply chain.”

Emily Weinstein, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology

  • NBR hosted three panels for the full bipartisan staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to inform its approach to competition with China in the 118th Congress. NBR’s director of congressional affairs Josh Nezam moderated three panel discussions for the committee covering emerging technology challenges posed by China, budding economic security challenges for the United States and Indo-Pacific allies, and U.S.-China competition in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia with a focus on China’s development, trade, and political influence.
  • In conjunction with the briefing on economic security, congressional affairs released a roundtable on the role of allies in the U.S. strategy for semiconductor supply chains with contributions from Andrew Grotto, Founding Director of Stanford University’s program on Geopolitics, Technology, and Governance, and NBR nonresident fellow Emily Weinstein, Research Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
  • Doug Strub (NBR), Emily de La Bruyère (Horizon Advisory), and Adam Segal (CFR) briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on digital authoritarianism, China’s digital influence, and cybersecurity challenges.

Informing U.S. trade policy

“The IP Commission has long argued that the best way to reduce the scale and scope of IP theft is to fundamentally change the calculus for individual bad actors, and subjecting them to targeted U.S. sanctions accomplishes that objective. This legislation is an excellent and long overdue first step. To put a stop to rampant IP theft will take effective implementation.”

Admiral (ret) Dennis Blair, IP Commission chair and member of NBR’s Board of Advisors

  • In January, NBR’s Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (IP Commission) welcomed President Biden’s signing into law of the Protecting American Intellectual Property Act of 2022, which directs the administration to compile a report identifying foreign individuals and entities who knowingly steal or use stolen U.S. trade secrets and mandates the imposition of sanctions against those violators. This bipartisan legislation achieves longstanding IP Commission recommendations to impose meaningful sanctions against foreign companies that use stolen American IP or benefit from the improper use of American IP.

Strengthening U.S.-Taiwan ties

“NBR has been paying attention to Indo-Pacific security issues for a long time, and often provides in-depth analysis. The guests in the delegation also have relevant research backgrounds. I believe that through the visit Taiwan and the United States can have more exchanges of views on Indo-Pacific security issues.”

President Tsai Ing-wen (English translation of remarks to NBR delegation)

  • An NBR delegation led by Admiral Philip S. Davidson, former Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, traveled to Taiwan for a week of high-level meetings and discussions from January 31 through February 4. The delegation met with President Tsai, Defense Minister Chiu, Secretary Koo, and Foreign Minister Wu, among other high-level officials. Other delegation participants included Tami Overby (Albright Stonebridge Group), Jim Schoff (Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA), and NBR representatives April Herlevi, Alison Szalwinski, and Rachel Bernstein.

Informing the U.S. national security community

“This NBR volume explores the party’s commitment to pursuing dominance in a much broader, all-domain strategy that aggregates all available economic, technological, military, and strategic effects. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is particularly interested in how the CCP plans to coordinate and integrate all the levers of national power in pursuit of the PRC’s regional and global objectives.”

Stephen D. Sklenka Lieutenant General, USMC; Deputy Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

  • February marked the release of Modernizing Deterrence: How China Coerces, Compels, and Deters, the compilation of papers presented at the 2021 PLA Conference convened by NBR and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s China Strategic Focus Group. The volume, on which I served as editor, features a foreword by Lieutenant General Stephen D. Sklenka, Indo-Pacific Command Deputy Commander. Taken together, the nine chapters reveal broad changes to the PRC’s deterrence strategy across conventional, strategic, asymmetric, and emerging domains.
  • In December, NBR released the report “Meeting China’s Emerging Capabilities: Countering Advances in Cyber, Space, and Autonomous Systems,” edited by the project’s principal investigator Bates Gill, Executive Director of Asia Society Policy Institute’s Center for China Analysis and a member of NBR’s advisory board.

Strengthening cooperation on energy security

  • Over the course of 2022, NBR worked with numerous partners across the Indo-Pacific to identify areas to strengthen existing cooperation or build new partnerships to achieve goals for energy and climate security. The Energy Security Program’s “Energy on the Hill” event in December examined perspectives from the United States and across Asia on key developments and milestones that took place in 2022 and highlighted priority areas for partnerships in 2023. Speakers included Sharon Burke (Ecospherics), Lesley Bearman Lahm (Asian Development Bank), Hiroyuki Suzuki (Japan Bank for International Cooperation), and Energy Security Program research director Mikkal Herberg (UC–San Diego).
  • In December, NBR hosted a roundtable discussion for the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre (APERC) with presentations on APERC’s annual energy outlook by David Wogan, Assistant Vice President and Senior Researcher at APERC, and Glen Sweetnam, Director for African and Middle Eastern Affairs in the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Both researchers shared updates and highlighted key projections and trends in the Indo-Pacific, including the region’s rapidly growing interest in nuclear power generation even as fossil fuels remain a large share of the APEC region’s energy supply.
  • In February, NBR held a breakfast conversation with Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State. The discussion addressed key issues around energy security and decarbonization targets as countries navigate the energy crisis exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Executive education & training the next generation 

“[As a Chinese Language Fellow] my exposure with NBR to different policymaking groups in Washington, D.C.,…opened a lot of doors that I wasn’t anticipating and it was a nice bonus on top of all that substantial knowledge [gained from the fellowship].”

Welsey Hill, 2019–20 Chinese Language Fellow

Watch for the forthcoming release this month of a new NBR report “Charting a New Course for the Pacific Islands: Strategic Pathways for U.S.-Micronesia Engagement” and other original, policy-relevant research from exciting new programs underway in 2023.

With gratitude for your ongoing support of NBR’s Next Generation programs and work on the critical issues that today’s leaders—in America and beyond—need to understand.


Roy D. Kamphausen
President, The National Bureau of Asian Research