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China’s Maritime Operation: The ‘Gray Zone’ in Black and White | The Diplomat
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China’s Maritime Operation: The ‘Gray Zone’ in Black and White | The Diplomat

Much has been made lately of China’s maritime operations in the “gray zone,” referring to operations achieving military objectives like island seizure while using non-military forces, namely China’s Coast Guard and Maritime Militia (the China Maritime Studies Institute has extensive resources here, in particular this), in order to avoid conflict. U.S. leaders and scholars worry about the implications of the presence on the battlefield of civilians, or troops posing as civilians (for example here, here, and most recently here). But why all the concern about the seemingly minor threat of non-military forces?

According to Michael J. Mazarr of RAND, “several major powers are making extensive use of gray zone campaigns” and “some new technologies have made them more effective than ever,” leaving the United States “grappling with the practical implications of gray zone strategies.

Source: China’s Maritime Operation: The ‘Gray Zone’ in Black and White | The Diplomat