China's defense budget has grown over the past two decades to become the second largest in the world, though still far below that of the United States. The steady growth of the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) capabilities and effectiveness influence not only Beijing's security policies, but the behavior of states within, and increasingly beyond, East Asia, including the United States. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, whose experience with the Chinese military includes assignments as the U.S. defense attaché and assistant army attaché to the People's Republic of China (PRC), will discuss the PLA's modernization efforts and address the evolving role of the military in the PRC's comprehensive national security strategy.
Karl Eikenberry is the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University (FSI). Within FSI he is an affiliated faculty member with the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. He is also and an affiliated researcher with the Europe Center. Prior to his arrival at Stanford, he served as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan from May 2009 until July 2011, where he led the civilian surge directed by President Obama to reverse insurgent momentum and set the conditions for a transition to full Afghan sovereignty.