Welcome to Indo-Pacific Defense FORUM’s issue on influence and interference.
This edition explores the web of influence activities conducted by nations across the Indo-Pacific in this era of Great Power Competition. Distinguishing between beneficial and detrimental forms of influence — and knowing when the latter crosses the threshold of interference — are key to ensuring a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and the security and prosperity of the region.
Interference occurs when nations conduct covert, deceptive, and coercive activities to affect other nations’ economic, political, and civil processes to erode regional security and stability. Technologies, such as applications for surveillance and control, increasingly factor into influence and interference operations. We must work together with our allies and partners to counter unacceptable forms of foreign influence and interference that infringe on national sovereignty.
In this issue, FORUM probes the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) engagement in influence and interference operations that harm the region and the world. The opening article reveals how CCP officials and their proxies are filling key leadership positions in international organizations to garner more support for the CCP’s agenda. Complementary articles investigate how the CCP’s campaigns to control the global narrative are backfiring, causing targeted audiences to question the party’s credibility, and why Hollywood filmmakers face pressure to portray the CCP in a positive light.
This edition also offers solutions to curtail CCP aggression and assertiveness in its influence operations and beyond. Researchers Ashley Townshend and Dr. David Santoro explore how regional deterrence and countercoercion efforts are strengthened by enhanced cooperation between Australia, the U.S. and other like-minded partners. We also look at how Indo-Pacific nations are moving away from their heavy reliance on Chinese supply chains to build resiliency when responding to future crises (such as pandemics).
I hope these articles energize regional conversations on military technology. I welcome your comments. Please contact the FORUM staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with your perspectives.
All the best,
Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command