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Adam Segal

Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program

Expertise

Technology and development in China and India; East Asian security; Chinese domestic and foreign policy; cyberconflict, cybersecurity

Programs

Asia Program

Bio

Adam Segal is the Maurice R. Greenberg senior fellow for China studies and director of the Program on Digital and Cyberspace Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An expert on security issues, technology development, and Chinese domestic and foreign policy, Dr. Segal was the project director for the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force report Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet. His book Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge (W.W. Norton, 2011) looks at the technological rise of Asia. His work has appeared in the Financial Times, The EconomistForeign PolicyThe Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs, among others. He currently writes for the blog, "Net Politics."

Before coming to CFR, Dr. Segal was an arms control analyst for the China Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. There, he wrote about missile defense, nuclear weapons, and Asian security issues. He has been a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for International Studies, the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Tsinghua University in Beijing. He has taught at Vassar College and Columbia University. Dr. Segal is the author of Digital Dragon: High-Technology Enterprises in China (Cornell University Press, 2003), as well as several articles and book chapters on Chinese technology policy.

Dr. Segal has a BA and PhD in government from Cornell University, and an MA in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

The Geopolitics of Cyberspace

During the Cold War, many of the most intense ideological and political struggles revolved around the organization of economic systems. Even among Western allies, there were differences over the state's role in the market, the distribution of benefits between labor and capital, and the degree of openness to international trade. The competition over economic systems of course continues but is now joined by a new conflict over the organization and ownership of data and information—how states create and regulate new information, defend it, and deploy it as a weapon against their adversaries. In my forthcoming book, The Geopolitics of Cyberspace, I describe this new conflict, explain how rising cyber power states are developing, and suggest a set of policies that improve the United States' ability to advance its interests in and through cyberspace. I direct CFR's Program on Digital and Cyberspace Policy,oversee a roundtable on cybersecurity,and have written about cyber threats to the oil and gas industry. I blog at Net Politics and was the projector director of a CFR Independent Task Force on U.S. policy toward cyberspace.

Cyberspace and U.S.-China Relations

Both the United States and China have identified cyberspace as critical to their economic and national security, and have adopted a number of domestic and international strategies in order to shape the Internet. At the same time, each country is likely to see the other as an important, if not the main, impediment to the pursuit of its interests in cyberspace. Washington and Beijing differ on the international governance of cyberspace, the definition and legitimacy of espionage, and the balance between the values of national sovereignty and the free flow of information. U.S. and Chinese technology companies battle over customers, international standards, and access to markets, the subject of my last book, Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge.Yet, the two sides have a shared interest in preventing third party attacks on critical infrastructure and in developing confidence building measures in the areas of cyber conflict. In my blog posts at Asia Unbound and Forbes,writings in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, and other media outlets, and by hosting a roundtable series, I explore how the two sides can stem the growing distrust and suggest workable policies.

Featured Publications

Task Force Report No. 70

Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet

The CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force report, Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet, finds that as more people and services become interconnected and dependent on the Internet, societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. To support security, innovation, growth, and the free flow of information, the Task Force recommends that the United States and its partners work to build a cyber alliance, make the free flow of information a part of all future trade agreements, and articulate an inclusive and robust vision of Internet governance.

See more in Global; Cybersecurity; Internet Policy

All Publications

Interview

Segal: Chinese Expressing Anger at North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il and Korean Military

Adam Segal interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

Adam Segal, a leading expert on China’s military and technological policies, says that North Korea’s decision to test missiles and explode a nuclear device in the face of Chinese warnings has produced “a great deal of tension” in relations between the two Communist countries. “So for the Chinese it’s not only a loss of face because they had been taking the lead in trying to bring North Korea back to the negotiation table, but I think there’s also a great deal of anger personally at Kim and the Korean military,” says Segal.

See more in Conflict Assessment; North Korea; China

Task Force Report No. 44

Chinese Military Power

The rise of China has long been a growing concern among U.S. foreign policymakers. Of particular concern is the strength of Chinese military power and its relation to U.S. military capability. This important report assesses the situation and concludes that China is at least two decades behind the United States in terms of military technology and capability. If the United States continues to dedicate significant resources to improving its own military forces, as expected, the balance between the United States and China, both globally and in Asia, is likely to remain decisively in America’s favor beyond the next twenty years.

See more in China

Book

Digital Dragon

Author: Adam Segal

Can China become a true global economic power? That depends on the evolution of the Chinese high-technology sector. The industry's success or failure will determine whether China becomes a modern economy or simply a large one, argues CFR Senior Fellow Adam Segal in the first detailed look at a major institutional experiment with high-tech endeavors in China.

See more in China; Technology and Foreign Policy

Recent Activity from Net Politics

Events

Internet Governance After Busan

Staff: Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program
November 20, 2014

This symposium is a half-day, multisession symposium to bring together leading policymakers and experts for analysis of the Internet governance landscape and to discuss new ideas for reform.

Roundtable Series on Cyberconflict and Cybersecurity

Staff: Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program
Director: James P. Dougherty, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Business and Foreign Policy
September 23, 2009—Present

This roundtable series brings together policymakers, scholars, and private sector specialists to explore the growing threats in cyberspace to the U.S. economy and security.

U.S.-Asia Update Roundtable Series

Directors: Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies, and Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and Director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program
July 1, 2007—Present

The U.S.-Asia Update Roundtable Series provides a forum for discussion of the major issues that shape Chinese domestic policies, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian regional dynamics. This series is made possible through generous support from the Starr Foundation.

CFR Events

Symposium ⁄ Washington

Session III: Busan: What Happened and What Comes Next?

Speakers:

Christopher Painter, Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, U.S. Department of State , Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, U.S. Department of State , Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce 

Presider:

Nuala O’Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Center for Democracy & Technology 

Closing Speaker:

Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Director, Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program, David Rockefeller Studies Program, Council on Foreign Relations
November 20, 2014 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. - Lunch and closing remarks, 12:45-1:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ Washington

The Future of Internet Governance

Speakers:

Lynn St. Amour, President and CEO, Internet Matters; Former President and CEO, Internet Society, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies and Project Directer of CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force, Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet, Council on Foreign Relations, Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Presider:

Catherine Lotrionte, Associate Director, Institute for International Law & Politics, Georgetown University
May 15, 2014 12:00-12:30 p.m. - Registration and Reception
12:30-1:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Guest Event ⁄ Washington

Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet: Report of the CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy in the Digital Age

Speakers:

John D. Negroponte, Vice Chairman, McLarty Associates; Former Deputy Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence; Task Force Co-Chair, Samuel J. Palmisano, Former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation; Task Force Co-Chair, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Project Director

Presider:

Vivian Schiller, Chief Digital Officer, NBC News
June 10, 2013 12:00-12:30 p.m. - Lunch Reception
12:30-1:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Guest Event ⁄ New York

Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet: Report of the CFR-Sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Policy in the Digital Age

Panelists:

John D. Negroponte, Vice Chairman, McLarty Associates; Former Deputy Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State; Former Director of National Intelligence; Task Force Chair, Samuel J. Palmisano, Former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation; Task Force Chair, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Task Force Director

Presider:

Jacob M. Weisberg, Chairman, The Slate Group
June 6, 2013 1:00-1:30 p.m. - Lunch
1:30-2:30 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Academic Conference Call

China, Cybersecurity, and Crisis Stability

Speaker:

Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
April 25, 2013 12:00-1:00 p.m. - (ET)

This meeting is on the record.

Listen

Corporate Meeting

The Business Impact of a Changing Cyber Landscape

Speaker:

Edward Amoroso, Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer, AT&T Services, Inc.

Presider:

Adam Segal, Ira A. Lipman Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security Studies Council on Foreign Relations
June 15, 2011 6:30-7:00 p.m. - Dinner Reception
7:00-8:00 p.m. - Meeting

This meeting is on the record.

Watch

Conference Panel Session

China 2025: Panel Two: China Goes Global

Moderator:

Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Panelists:

Evan A. Feigenbaum, Senior Fellow for East, Central, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations, Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, David H. Shinn, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University
October 19, 2009

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

General Meeting ⁄ New York

The U.S.-Chinese Economic Relationship: Symbiotic or Antagonistic

Speakers:

Zachary Karabell, President, River Twice; Author, Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends on It, Stephen S. Roach, Chairman, Morgan Stanley Asia; Author, The Next Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for a New Globalization, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

David R. Malpass, President, Encima Global, LLC
October 15, 2009 5:00-5:15 p.m. - Reception
5:15-6:15 p.m. - Meeting
6:15-6:45 p.m. - Cocktail Reception

This meeting is not for attribution.

ListenWatch

Guest Event ⁄ New York

Koppel on Discovery: The People's Republic of Capitalism

Speakers:

Ted Koppel, Managing Editor, Discovery Channel, Adam Segal, Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

David E. Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent, The New York Times
June 26, 2008 6:30-7:30 p.m. - Cocktail Buffet Reception
7:30-8:15 p.m. - Screening
8:15-9:00 p.m. - Discussion

This meeting is on the record.

ListenWatch

Press/Panels

Video Interview

Push for Cyber Diplomacy

Adam Segal appears on FOX Business news to discuss the push for cyber diplomacy in President Barack Obama's meeting with Xi Jinping in California this weekend.

Watch