US-PRC Defense and Military Relations: Looking Back, Looking Forward

with Dr. David M. Finkelstein
Apr 18, 2024, 4:30 pm6:00 pm
Robertson Hall Bowl 002
Open to the Public



Event Description

When President Biden and President Xi Jinping met in San Francisco in November 2023, one of their important agreements was to restore US-PRC military relations, which had been suspended by the PLA in August 2022 after former House Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. In this talk, Dave Finkelstein will provide an overview of the various challenges US-PRC defense and military relations have faced over the past four decades, assess where the defense relationship is today, and offer views on what it needs to accomplish going forward.

About the Speaker

David M. Finkelstein is currently a Vice President at the Center for Naval Analyses in Arlington, Virginia, and the founding director of CNA’s China & Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Division. With over three dozen analysts, it is the largest Asian security analysis organization among all the federally funded research and development centers in the United States.

Finkelstein is counted among the nation’s foremost specialists in Asian security affairs, with a special focus on interpreting developments in the People’s Republic of China.

He brings over four decades of experience from a diverse set of vantage points—the US military, the Intelligence Community, academia, and the international think tank community. Both in and out of government, his career has been driven by providing leaders with the analyses necessary to make informed decisions and helping them better understand both the risks and opportunities attendant to their interests and equities. It has been his great honor to render analytic support and advice directly to the highest-serving US government officials, including a President of the United States, cabinet officials, service chiefs, combatant commanders, intelligence officials, members of Congress, as well as private sector corporate boards and leaders.

Finkelstein is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, received a PhD in Chinese and Japanese history from Princeton University, and studied Mandarin at Nankai University in Tianjin, China.

Previously a career US Army officer, he is a graduate of the Command & General Staff College, US Army War College, the JFK Center for Military Assistance and Unconventional Warfare, and the US Army Airborne School. On active duty he held various command and staff positions in field units including the Joint Security Force in Panmunjom, Korea—an infantry battalion in the Demilitarized Zone. His several China and Asia-related positions included duty in the Pentagon as Director for Asian Analyses on the Joint Staff, multiple tours of duty with the Defense Intelligence Agency, and on the faculty at West Point teaching world history, Chinese history, Japanese history, and the history of warfare in Asia.

Dr. Finkelstein is a member of the National Committee for US-China Relations and served as a consultant and contributing author to the National Geographic Atlas of China. He regularly leads seminars at the Foreign Service Institute, the US Army War College, and the National Bureau for Asia Research. He also serves on the editorial board of Parameters, the journal of the US Army War College. His extensive publications record includes a historical monograph, co-edited volumes, and peer-reviewed journal articles. His historical study, Washington’s Taiwan Dilemma, 1949-50: From Abandonment to Salvation (GMU Press, 1993 and Naval Institute Press, 2014) broke new ground at the time based on newly declassified government sources.

His articles, essays, and opinion pieces have been published in Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, The Hill, Parameters, War on the Rocks, China Daily, The Korea Times, and others. He is often sought out by the US and international media for expert opinion and analysis of developments in Asian security affairs. He travels often to Asia and maintains an extensive global network of security specialists.