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Defense Transparency in Northeast Asia

IGCC established the Northeast Asia Defense Transparency Project to promote greater transparency and confidence building among defense establishments in Northeast Asia. The project encompasses two major activities:

  • The Defense Transparency Index (DTI), which measures transparency among six states in and around Northeast Asia in eight areas.
  • Multilateral Track II dialogues that bring together military, defense ministry, academic, and policy analysts from Northeast Asia and other international security research institutions in the United States and Europe. Consultations have taken place at the Defense Information Sharing forum of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue.

Defining Defense Transparency

Although defense transparency is a widely employed term, there has been surprisingly little effort to define what it means, perhaps because it is so complex and politically charged. The Defense Transparency Project has produced the following definition to capture its different dimensions and goals:

Defense transparency is an ongoing process in which governments credibly transmit timely, relevant, and sufficient information about their military power and activities, budgetary matters, and intentions to allow other states and domestic audiences to assess the consistency of this information with declared strategic interests and institutional obligations to reduce misperception, ensure good governance, and build mutual trust.



Workshop on Japanese Approaches to Defense Transparency and the Lessons for Northeast Asia
March 29–31, 2012
Tokyo, Japan 
Supported by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the Canon institute for Global Studies

Workshop on Defense Transparency in Northeast Asia
April 28–29, 2011
La Jolla, CA

Agenda and Speaker Biographies


IGCC Defense Transparency White Papers  

2014 Defense Transparency White Paper 
2013–14 Defense Transparency Index data [Excel file]
2012 Defense Transparency White Paper Summary

2012 Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 2012-1: Japan’s Approaches toward Defense Transparency: Perspectives from the Japanese and Chinese Defense Establishments
John FEI
Policy Brief 2012-2: Japan’s Defense White Paper as a Tool for Promoting Defense Transparency
Policy Brief 2012-3: Japan’s National Defense Planning for New Security Environment: The 2010 National Defense Program Guidelines

Policy Brief 2012-4: Japanese Bureaucratic Transparency
Policy Brief 2012-5: The Role of the Japanese Diet in Promoting Defense Transparency
Jeffrey KWONG
Policy Brief 2012-6: Chinese Perspectives on Japan’s Defense Transparency
TENG Jianqun

2011 Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 2011-1: The Republic of Korea’s Perspective on Defense Transparency
Beomchul SHIN

Policy Brief 2011-2: Harnessing the European Experience in Defense Transparency
Christian LE-MIERE

Policy Brief 2011-3: A Civilian Perspective on Defense Transparency in the Republic of Korea: The More, the Better?

Policy Brief 2011-4: Measuring Transparency in Military Expenditure: The Case of China

Policy Brief 2011-5: Defense Transparency: Seeking a Definition for a Paradoxical Concept

Resources for Researchers

Think Tanks and Research Repositories

Center for East Asia Policy Studies (Brookings Institution)
China Data Center (University of Michigan)
Chinese Military Power web page
Congressional-Executive Commission on China
Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Pacific Forum
Global Taiwan Crisis information
Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Military Policy Awareness Links (MiPAL): China
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (in Chinese)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (in English)
National Security Archive, China and the Bomb project
National Security Archive, Sino-U.S. relations project
National Security Archive, Kissinger’s Secret Trip to Beijing, 1971
National Bureau of Asian Research, Strategic Asia Program
National Bureau of Statistics of China (in English)
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
Office of the Director of National Intelligence (has China-related conference reports)
State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (white papers) (in Chinese)
State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China (in English)
Taiwan Security Research
U.S.-China Business Council
U.S.-China Security and Economics Review Commission
U.S. Department of State, Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of Defense, Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies
Wilson Center Cold War International History Project

Interstate Relations Data

Correlates of War project (including Militarized Interstate Disputes data set)
International Crisis Behavior Project
Paul Hensel's International Relations data site
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (arms sales, military spending data)