Cover of book China's Maritime Gray Zone Operations


China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations

Adam P. Liff
Release Date: March 15, 2019

China’s maritime “gray zone” operations represent a new challenge for the U.S. Navy and the sea services of our allies, partners, and friends in maritime East Asia. There, Beijing is waging what some Chinese sources term a “war without gunsmoke.” Already winning in important areas, China could gain far more if left unchecked. One of China’s greatest advantages thus far has been foreign difficulty in understanding the situation, let alone determining an effective response. With contributions from some of the world’s leading subject matter experts, this volume aims to close that gap by explaining the forces and doctrines driving China’s paranaval expansion, operating in the “gray zone” between war and peace.

The book covers China’s major maritime forces beyond core gray-hulled Navy units, with particular focus on China’s second and third sea forces: the “white-hulled” Coast Guard and “blue-hulled” Maritime Militia. Increasingly, these paranaval forces, and the “gray zone” in which they typically operate, are on the frontlines of China’s seaward expansion.

Brookings Institution Nonresident Senior Fellow Adam P. Liff authored the chapter “China’s Maritime Gray Zone Operations in the East China Sea and Japan’s Response.” This chapter examines major drivers behind, trends concerning, and consequences of China’s evolving maritime gray-zone operations in the East China Sea as well as Japan’s responses to China’s challenge.

Additional information about the book can be found here.