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Dr. Larry M. Wortzel

Area(s) of Expertise: China, Asia, intelligence issues, foreign policy, national security, and military strategy

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Photo LARRY M. WORTZEL is a leading authority on China, Asia, and national security. He is a commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. In 2015, he was appointed as an adjunct research professor at the U.S. Army War College. He is a retired U.S. Army colonel who spent much of his 32-year military career in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1970, he joined the U.S. Army after serving 3 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He studied Mandarin Chinese and was assigned to the Army Security Agency. By 1973, he graduated from the Infantry Officer Candidate, Airborne, and Ranger Schools. After his infantry officer service, in 1978, he shifted back to military intelligence and served with the U.S. Pacific Command’s intelligence center, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Army Intelligence and Security Command. He was an assistant Army attaché from 1988 to 1990 and Army attaché from 1995 to 1997 in China. From 1997 to 1999, Dr. Wortzel was director of the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, and a professor of Asian studies. He served as the director of the Asian Studies Center and vice president of foreign policy and defense studies at the Heritage Foundation. He has written or edited 11 books and many papers and journal articles about China, such as Class in China: Stratification in a Classless Society; China’s Military Modernization: International Implications; Dictionary of Contemporary Chinese Military History; and his 2013 book, The Dragon Extends its Reach: Chinese Military Power Goes Global. Dr. Wortzel is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii.

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SSI books and monographs by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel

  • Taking the Fight to the Enemy: Chinese Thinking about Long-Distance and Expeditionary Operations

    July 14, 2016

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    View the Executive Summary

    This Letort Paper examines a genre of military publications inside the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that advocates the development of the capacity to hold a distant enemy’s population and homeland at risk in a conflict. This Paper also assesses a series of military exercises and changes in force posture that would make the PLA more capable of expeditionary operations.

  • The Chinese People's Liberation Army and Information Warfare

    March 05, 2014

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    View the Executive Summary

    The Chinese government plans to establish a new air defense intercept zone which will include the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands, sovereignty over which is disputed by Japan, China, and Taiwan. Due to complaints of cyber penetrations attributed to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, U.S. Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State are devising new means to protect intellectual property and secrets from the PLA’s computer network operations.

  • China's Nuclear Forces: Operations, Training, Doctrine, Command, Control and Campaign Planning

    May 11, 2007

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    This monograph documents new thinking in China on how and when to use nuclear weapons. China’s nuclear forces are mainly retaliatory in nature, but there is a debate about using preemptive force among China’s strategic thinkers.

  • Shaping China's Security Environment: The Role of the People's Liberation Army

    October 18, 2006

    Edited by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    This volume addresses the role of the Chinese military in shaping its country’s security environment.

  • Chinese National Security: Decisionmaking Under Stress

    October 01, 2005

    Edited by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    If there is one constant in expert analyses of the history of modern China, it is the characterization of a country perpetually in the throes of crises. While China at the mid-point of the Twenty-first Century's first decade is arguably the most secure and stable it has been in more than a century, crises continue to emerge with apparent frequency. Consequently, the study of China's behavior in conditions of tension and stress is of considerable importance to policy makers and analysts around the world.

  • Civil-Military Change in China: Elites, Institutes, and Ideas After the 16th Party Congress

    September 01, 2004

    Edited by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    In November 2002, the Chinese Communist Party held its 16th Congress and formally initiated a sweeping turnover of senior leaders in both the Party and the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The meeting heralded not merely a new set of personalities in positions of political and military power, but also the emergence of a new generation of leaders. Who are these individuals, and what does their rise mean for the future of China and its military?

  • The Lessons of History: The Chinese people's Liberation Army at 75

    July 01, 2003

    Edited by Ms. Laurie Burkitt, Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    With the armed forces of the People's Republic of China (PLA) celebrating its 75th anniversary on August 1, 2002, it only seemed appropriate and timely to take stock of the world's largest military. The PLA has officially been in existence for three-quarters of a century, and its history is one filled with turmoil and warfare.

  • China's Growing Military Power: Perspectives on Security, Ballistic Missiles, and Conventional Capabilities

    September 01, 2002

    Edited by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    The nine chapters in this volume, all written by leading experts, cover a diverse set of important topics: East Asian perspectives on China's security ambitions, the status of the Chinese ballistic missile program and regional reactions to U.S. missile defense initiatives, and China's ever-improving conventional military capabilities.

  • The Asia-Pacific in the U.S. National Security Calculus for a New Millennium

    December 01, 2000

    Authored by Dr. Andrew Scobell, Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    The authors of this monograph survey the challenges to U.S. national security that confront this diverse and dynamic region, highlighting the particularly volatile situation that continues on the Korean peninsula.

  • The Chinese Armed Forces in the 21st Century

    December 01, 1999

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    Each chapter author was challenged to envision some aspect of the Chinese armed forces into the next century. The goal was to paint a realistic view of how domestic and international pressures would shape both Beijing's and Taipei's security environment.

  • The Future U.S. Military Presence in Asia: Landpower and the Geostrategy of American Commitment

    April 01, 1999

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel, Major General Robert H. Scales.
    The United States strategic framework in the Pacific has three parts: peacetime engagement, which includes a forward presence; crisis response, which builds on forward-stationed forces, the "boots-on-the ground" and, if necessary, fighting and winning any conflict that might develop.

  • China's Military Potential

    October 01, 1998

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    This monograph provides an appraisal of the ability of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to build a credible military force in the 21st century. Colonel Wortzel concludes that China could become a military power in every sense, but the greater likelihood is that the PRC will be overcome by internal problems. Nonetheless, the growth in China's military potential bears careful watching.

  • The ASEAN Regional Forum: Asian Security without an American Umbrella

    December 01, 1996

    Authored by Dr. Larry M. Wortzel.
    U.S. Asian policy today is a curious blend of seemingly firm bilateral commitments and occasionally startling ambiguities. if the United States is to maintain regional stability in Asia, Colonel Larry Wortzel, the U.S. Army attaché in Beijing, argues, it must make multilateral dialogues like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum a major tenet of its Asian policy.