Australia’s 2020 Defence Strategic Update was, by the standards of such publications, a hard-hitting document. It had a particularly strong focus on grey zone activities, seen as increasingly troubling the Indo-Pacific and involving “military and non-military forms of assertiveness and coercion aimed at achieving strategic goals without provoking conflict”. Worryingly, the Update declared “grey zone activities directly or indirectly targeting Australian interests are occurring now”. The document directed Defence to be better prepared to respond to these activities today and into the future. 

The Update’s intent is high-level and deliberately does not discuss grey zones in detail. However, in a new research paper for the Air and Space Power Centre, I do just that, focusing on the largest country undertaking grey zone actions: China. Whether in the South China Sea, the East China Sea or on its border with India, China has employed innovative and imaginative grey zone tactics in its quest for a persistent strategic advantage over others.

Please click here to read the full “Bringing the grey zone into focus” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.