Reality Check: Chinese Military Spending in Context and Alternatives to a Bloated U.S. Defense Budget

This webinar, co-sponsored by the Quincy Institute, was hosted by the Costs of War Project.

In a “reality check” conversation on the United States’ and China’s military budgets, a panel of experts discussed the Brown University Costs of War project’s latest report, “Chinese Military Spending in Context,” written by William Hartung of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. The report author was joined by Shuxian Luo, assistant professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, and Rorry Daniels, Managing Director of the Asia Society Policy Institute, to offer recommendations on peaceful alternatives to escalating rhetoric, naval buildup, and bloated military spending. Elizabeth Beavers, Vice President for Public Affairs at the Quincy Institute, moderated.


William Hartung

William D. Hartung is a Senior Research Fellow for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His research focuses on the arms industry and U.S. military budget. He has been a featured national security expert on 60 Minutes, NBC Nightly News, PBS Newshour, and CNN, and his articles on security issues have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the World Policy Journal. His report, “Reality Check: Chinese Military Spending in Context,” is the latest research from the Costs of War project of Brown University’s Watson Institute of International & Public Affairs.

Shuxian Luo

Shuxian Luo, is assistant professor (tenure-track) in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa, and a non-resident China Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Her research interests include maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, Chinese foreign policy, and U.S.-China relations, especially crisis management. Her current book project, tentatively titled “Taking it to the Sea: Escalation Decisions and Strategies in China’s Maritime Disputes,” develops an analytical framework to explain when, why, and how China escalates incidents at sea arising from its maritime territorial and boundary disputes in the 21st century.

Rorry Daniels

Rorry Daniels is the Managing Director of Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), where she leads and oversees strategy and operations for ASPI’s projects on security, climate change, and trade throughout Asia. She is also a Senior Fellow with ASPI’s Center for China Analysis. Her most recent research project audited the U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue to evaluate its process and outcomes. She regularly writes and provides analysis for major media outlets and newsletters on security issues in the U.S. and the Asia Pacific.

Elizabeth Beavers

Elizabeth Beavers is the Vice President for Public Affairs at the Quincy Institute and a national security legal scholar. In 2019, she launched a consultancy that has worked behind the scenes to strengthen leading national advocacy organizations in their work to lobby lawmakers, organize and train grassroots activists, and change the public narrative on matters of peace and security. Elizabeth also teaches remotely as an adjunct professor of counterterrorism law at the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce School of Law.