an Explore Mars Event

May 7-8, 2024

Jack Morton Auditorium,

The George Washington University

Washington D.C.

Dean Cheng

United States Institute of Peace ( | Senior Advisor, China Program

Dean Cheng, Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies; Senior Adviser, United States Institute of Peace; Non-resident Fellow, George Washington University Space Policy Institute

Dean Cheng is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a Senior Adviser with the US Institute of Peace, and a non-resident fellow with the George Washington University Space Policy Institute. He recently retired after 13 years with the Heritage Foundation, where he was a senior research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs, and wrote on various aspects of Chinese foreign and defense policy.

Prior to joining the Heritage Foundation, he was a senior analyst with the China Studies Division (previously, Project Asia) at CNA from 2001-2009. Before joining CNA, he was a senior analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) from 1996-2001. From 1993-1995, he was an analyst with the US Congress’ Office of Technology Assessment in the International Security and Space Division, where he studied the Chinese defense industrial complex.

He is the author of the book Cyber Dragon: Inside China’s Information Warfare and Cyber Operations (NY: Praeger Publishing, 2016), as well as a number of papers and book chapters examining various aspects of Chinese security affairs. Recent publications include:

  • “China and Space: The Next Frontier of Lawfare,” in Lawfire (July 30, 2023). Examines likely Chinese legal warfare efforts as applied to outer space.
  • “Divergent US and Chinese Views of Information, Deterrence, and Future Warfare,” in The Journal of Policy and Strategy (II, #3, 2022). Examines Chinese writings on deterrence, especially nuclear, and highlights differences with American approaches and concepts.  
  • “A Comprehensive Approach to Space Deterrence,” The Strategy Bridge, with John Klein (March 31, 2021). Examines Chinese concepts of deterrence through space, and differentiates it from Western concepts of space deterrence.
  • “Space and Chinese National Security: China’s Continuing Great Leap Upwards,” in The PLA Beyond Borders, ed. by Joel Wuthnow, Arthur Ding, and Philip Saunders (Washington, DC: NDU Press, 2021). An examination of Chinese space activities beyond the GEO orbital regime, including cis-lunar, interplanetary, and deep-space activities.
  • “How China Has Integrated Its Space Program Into Its Broader Foreign Policy,” China Aerospace Studies Institute (2020). An examination of Chinese use of space to support its foreign policy, including through sales, international organizations, and other behavior.
  • “An Overview of Chinese Thinking About Deterrence,” in NL Annual Review of Military Studies 2020, ed. by Frans Osinga and Tim Sweijs (NY: Springer Publishing, 2020)

Mr. Cheng has testified before Congress on various Chinese security issues. He has spoken at the USSTRATCOM Deterrence Symposium, the USSTRATCOM Space and Cyber Symposium, and the National Space Symposium. He has also lectured at the US National Defense University, George Washington University, and MIT.