Oriana Skylar Mastro

Assistant Professor of Security Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; and Captain, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Asia-Pacific Cell (A8XS-APC), Pentagon
Areas of Expertise:
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Military & War

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About Oriana

Mastro’s area of research focuses on military operations and strategy, war termination, and Northeast Asia. She examines in particular Chinese strategic thinking and military modernization. She has worked on U.S.-China security and defense issues at U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Department of Defense as well as at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, RAND Corporation, Project 2049 Institute and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). She is also a captain in the United States Air Force Reserve where she works at the Pentagon as an Asia-Pacific strategist. She is also a member of National Committee on United States-China Relations and CSIS Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program.



Assessing the Threat: The Chinese Military and Taiwan’s Security (edited with Michael D. Swaine, Andrew N.D. Yang, and Evan S. Medeiros) (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2007).
Provides a comprehensive look at the dangers of military escalation in the Taiwan Strait, the latest advances in capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army, and China’s security relationship with the United States and the Asia-Pacific.
"Signaling and Military Provocation in Chinese National Security Strategy: A Closer Look at the 'Impeccable' Incident of March 2009" Journal for Strategic Studies 34, no. 2 (2011): 219-244.
Explains the "Impeccable" incident and its aftermath in the context of Chinese coercive diplomacy. China’s strategy, designed to motivate the U.S. to cease surveillance operations near its militarily sensitive areas in the South China Sea, included three components: (1) the use of military provocation, (2) a coordinated media campaign, and (3) a challenge to U.S. interpretations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).
"Air Power Trends in Northeast Asia: Implications for Japan and the U.S. Japan Alliance," (with Mark Stokes), Project 2049, July 31, 2011.
Analyzes the shift in aerospace power in the region with a focus on key developments in Russian, North Korean, Japanese and Chinese capabilities. Furthermore, it assesses likely Japanese performance in regional scenarios against North Korea and China and lays out implications for the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance.
"Chinese Ship-Based Air Defense Systems" in China’s Strategy for the Near Seas, edited by Andrew Erickson (Naval Institute Press, 2012).
Identifies China's current ship-based air defense systems, how they have evolved in the last decade and how the Chinese believe their systems compare to those fielded by other navies. Through exploration of Chinese-language trade journals, this chapter also describes Chinese beliefs about their vulnerabilities in terms of ship-based air defense architecture, doctrine, and concept of operations.
"Noninterference in Chinese Foreign Policy: Understanding the Gap between Principle and Practice" in China and International Security: History, Strategy, and 21st Century Policy, edited by Donovan Chau and Thomas Kane (Praeger, 2012).
Evaluates the contemporary role and interpretation China's noninterference principle in foreign policy and identifies the conditions under which policymakers can expect further changes in Chinese foreign policy behavior, especially in its immediate neighborhood and the developing world.

In the News

"Kim Jong Un’s Secret Visit to China, Explained by an Expert," Oriana Skylar Mastro, Interview with Alex Ward, Vox, March 29, 2018.
Oriana Skylar Mastro quoted in Joel Gehrke, "Russia: Kim Jong Un Visit ‘an immediate prospect’" Washington Examiner, March 29, 2018.
Oriana Skylar Mastro quoted in Herald Live, "China Torn on Trump, Kim Talks" Herald, March 13, 2018.
Oriana Skylar Mastro quoted in Mark Porubcansky, "What If We've Been All Wrong about China's Attitude toward North Korea?" Minn Post, February 16, 2018.
Oriana Skylar Mastro quoted on China's relationship with North Korea in Yochi Dreazen, "Here’s What War with North Korea Would Look Like" Vox, February 8, 2018.
Oriana Skylar Mastro quoted in Dwarne Harmon, "North Korea Says United Nations Missile Test Sanctions are an 'Act of War'" Newburgh Gazette, December 26, 2017.
"Yes, North Korea Could Drive a Wedge between the US and South Korea," Oriana Skylar Mastro (with Arzan Tarapore), Washington Post, January 12, 2018.
Oriana Skylar Mastro's research on U.S. relations with China and North Korea discussed in Matthew PenningtonOriana Skylar Mastro, "U.S., China Hold Low-Key Military Talks amid North Korea Tensions," San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2017.
"Why China Will Become a Global Military Power," Oriana Skylar Mastro, Lawfare, January 11, 2015.
"China's Military is about to Go Global," Oriana Skylar Mastro, The National Interest, December 18, 2014.
"China's ADIZ - A Successful Test of U.S. Resolve?," Oriana Skylar Mastro, Lawfare Blog, December 15, 2013.
"In Search of "Dexter": Why You Can't Buy Pirated DVDs in China Anymore," Oriana Skylar Mastro, The Atlantic, October 26, 2012.
"China's Air Force: Ready for Take Off?," Oriana Skylar Mastro (with Michael S. Chase), The Diplomat, November 6, 2012.
"New CMC Vice Chairmen Strong Advocates for Joint, Modern Chinese Military," Oriana Skylar Mastro (with Michael S. Chase and Benjamin S. Purser and III), The Jamestown Foundation's China Brief, November 16, 2012.
"How to Deal with North Korea," Oriana Skylar Mastro (with Minxin Pei), Financial Times, December 13, 2006.
"False Start," Oriana Skylar Mastro, The New Republic, December 15, 2006.
Guest to discuss Chinese-Japanese relations over the uninhabited, oil-rich islands in the East China Sea on Voice of America's "Pros and Cons", Oriana Skylar Mastro, September 24, 2010.
Guest to discuss Chinese-North Korean relations on Voice of America's "Pros and Cons", Oriana Skylar Mastro, June 25, 2010.
Guest to discuss U.S.-Chinese relations on Voice of America's "Pros and Cons", Oriana Skylar Mastro, August 20, 2010.