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Michael Pillsbury

Senior Fellow & Director of the Center for Chinese Strategy

Senior Fellow and Director for Chinese Strategy Michael Pillsbury is a distinguished defense policy adviser, former high-ranking government official, and author of numerous books and reports on China. During the Reagan administration, Pillsbury was Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning and responsible for implementation of the program of covert aid known as the Reagan Doctrine. In 1975-76, while an analyst at the RAND Corporation, Pillsbury published articles in Foreign Policy and International Security recommending that the United States establish intelligence and military ties with China. The proposal, publicly commended by Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and James Schlesinger, later became U.S. policy during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Pillsbury served on the staff of four U.S. Senate Committees from 1978-1984 and 1986-1991. As a staff member, Pillsbury drafted the Senate Labor Committee version of the legislation that enacted the US Institute of Peace in 1984. He also assisted in drafting the legislation to create the National Endowment for Democracy and the annual requirement for a DOD report on Chinese military power.

In 1992, under President George H. W. Bush, Pillsbury was Special Assistant for Asian Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, reporting to Andrew W. Marshall, Director of Net Assessment. Pillsbury is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Pillsbury is the author of China Debates the Future Security Environment (NDU Press, 2000), The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower, and editor of Chinese Views of Future Warfare (NDU Press, 1998). More information on his book The Hundred-Year Marathon is now available at

Pillsbury was educated at Stanford University (B.A. in History with Honors in Social Thought) and Columbia University (M.A., Ph.D.).

Featured Research

How China's Generals Already Gamed Xi's Meeting With Obama

Michael Pillsbury

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In the Media

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The Future of India-U.S. Defense Collaboration December 10th Event

U.S.-China Energy Cooperation: Risks, Opportunities, and Solutions November 16 event

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Media Coverage

Michael Pillsbury quoted in Washington Times on false assumptions about American aid to China

Michael Pillsbury’s book, The Hundred-Year Marathon on U.S.-China relations cited in The Diplomat

Michael Pillsbury quoted in Bloomberg News on China deploying surface-to-air missiles to the contested islands in the South China Sea

Michael Pillsbury quoted in Business Insider on Chinese defectors with access to secrets

Michael Pillsbury’s remarks at the legislature in Taipei on Taiwan and the U.S. rebalance to Asia written up in Taipei Times

Michael Pillsbury interviewed in The New York Times on U.S.-China policy

Michael Pillsbury and China’s Col. Liu Mingfu featured in Foreign Policy Magazine. See a video of the two here: Hollywood on the Potomac

Michael Pillsbury’s book, The Hundred-Year Marathon reviewed in the Weekly Standard

Michael Pillsbury’s new book, The Hundred-Year Marathon reviewed in National Interest

Michael Pillsbury’s new book, The Hundred-Year Marathon reviewed on Council on Foreign Relations’ blog

Mike Pillsbury’s new book The Hundred-Year Marathon reviewed in Newsweek

Michael Pillsbury’s The Hundred-Year Marathon reviewed in Wall Street Journal

Michael Pillsbury’s The Hundred-Year Marathon takes the #1 spot in the Washington Post and LA Times bestseller lists for hardcover nonfiction

Michael Pillsbury quoted in The Epoch Times on China’s aggressive threats

Michael Pillsbury quoted in Bloomberg News on Sino-U.S. espionage

Michael Pillsbury quoted in Bloomberg News on providing military support to Syrian rebels