Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Macquarie University, Sydney
Strategic Studies, Military Technology, Arms Racing, Defense Innovation
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

Sheryn Lee joined the Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University in July 2015. She completed her PhD at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC), the Australian National University in 2017. Her dissertation examined arms racing theory and the modernization of naval and associated air capabilities in the Asia-Pacific (2001-2016). She was previously a non-resident WSD-Handa Fellow at Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and holds an AM in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Benjamin Franklin Fellow and Mumford Fellow. She was also a T.B. Millar scholar at the SDSC; and Robert O’Neill scholar at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS)-Asia in Singapore. She is also a regular contributor to East Asia Forum.

Her key research interests are strategic studies and international relations, arms racing theory, military modernization, defense innovation, and emerging/disruptive technologies. She is also interested in Taiwanese foreign and defense policy.

Recent Publications

Edited Books

Geography, Power, Strategy and Defence Policy: Essays in honour of Professor Paul Dibb (Canberra: ANU Press, May 2016). Co-edited with Desmond Ball.

Power and International Relations: Essays in honour of Dr. Coral Bell (Canberra: ANU Press, November 2014). Co-edited with Desmond Ball.

The Insurgent Intellectual: Essays in honour of Professor Desmond Ball (Singapore: ISEAS Publications, December 2012). Co-edited with Brendan Taylor and Nicholas Farrelly.

Book Chapters

“The evolution of Taiwan’s foreign policy,” in The Taiwan Problem: Challenges and Prospects, ed. Andrew T. H. Tan and Benjamin Schreer (Routledge, forthcoming July 2019).

“Contesting visions of “primacy”: The Australian perception of US decline in the Asia-Pacific,” in US Primacy in the Asia-Pacific: Trends and Policy Implications for the Australia-Japan Relationship, ed. Andrew O’Neil, Ian Hall and Michael Heazle (Edward Elgar, forthcoming July 2018).

“Introduction,” in Geography, Power, Strategy and Defence Policy: Essays in honour of Professor Paul Dibb, ed. Desmond Ball and Sheryn Lee (Canberra: ANU Press, May 2016), 1-15. 

“China’s Strategy Towards Taiwan,” in Security and Conflict in East Asia, ed. Andrew T. H. Tan (London: Routledge, May 2015), 111-120. 

“Introduction,” in Power and International Relations: Essays in honour of Dr. Coral Bell, ed. Desmond Ball and Sheryn Lee (Canberra: ANU Press, November 2014), 1-10.

“China-Taiwan Relations: Challenges and Prospects,” in East and Southeast Asia: International Relations and Security Perspectives, ed. Andrew T. H. Tan (London: Routledge, March 2013), 78-88.

“Introducing the insurgent intellectual,” in Insurgent Intellectual: Essays in honour of Professor Desmond Ball, ed. Brendan Taylor, Nicholas Farrelly and Sheryn Lee (Singapore: ISEAS Publications, December 2012), 3-8.

Journal Articles

“Correspondence: Is the Taiwan Strait Still a Flash Point?” International Security 41, no. 2 (Fall 2016): 192-197. Co-authored with Benjamin Schreer.

“Practical vs. identity regionalism: Australia’s APC initiative, a case study,” Contemporary Politics 20, no. 2 (April 2014): 1-20. Co-authored with Anthony Milner. 

“Burying the Hatchet: the sources and limitations of Japan-ROK security cooperation,” Asian Security 9, no. 2 (Summer 2013): 93-110.

“The Taiwan Strait: Still Dangerous,” Survival 55, no. 3 (June/July 2013): 55-62. Co-authored with Benjamin Schreer.

The willing ally?: Australian strategic policy in a contested Asia,” RUSI Journal 157, no. 5 (October/November 2012): 78-84. Co-authored with Benjamin Schreer.

“The Defining Divide: Cross-strait relations and the US, Taiwan, China strategic dynamic,” Security Challenges Journal 7, no. 1 (Autumn 2011): 79-89.


“Time to start worrying again? Cross-strait stability after the 2016 Taiwanese elections,” ASPI: Strategic Insights 104 (Barton: Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 9 March 2016). Co-authored with Benjamin Schreer.

“Crowded waters—Naval competition in the Asia-Pacific,” ASPI: Special Report 80 (Barton: Australian Strategic Policy Institute, July 2015). Reprinted in Australian Warship 91 (December 2015).

Book Reviews

“The Future of United States, China and Taiwan Relations. Basingstoke GBR: Palgrave MacMillan., ISBN: 9780230112780. 266 pages. £58. Cheng-Yi Lin and Denny Roy, eds., 2011,” Asian Politics & Policy 4, no. 2 (April 2012): 269-271.

Conferences and Presentations

Presentation for “Identifying common security challenges for Asia and Europe,” Joint Conference between Swedish Defense University and Department of Security Studies and Criminology at Macquarie University, Stockholm, August 22-23, 2017.

Delegate for Aus-CSCAP, “The Future of the Asia-Pacific: Issues and Institutions in Flux,” 31st Asia-Pacific Roundtable, Kuala Lumpur, May 22-24, 2017.

“Australia’s role in providing humanitarian assistance for world order,” Annual Conference of the Legal Studies Association of NSW, Sydney, March 31, 2017.

“Is US leadership/primacy declining in Asia?,” 6th Annual Australia-Japan Dialogue, Griffith Asia Institute, Tokyo, December 9, 2016.

“Beyond the arms race: Explaining the modernization of naval and associated air capabilities in the Asia-Pacific (2001-2016),” Coral Bell School of Asia-Pacific Affairs, Canberra, December 1, 2016.

“The Security Dimensions of Regional Arms Acquisitions,” Arms Racing Workshop, RSIS Military Transformations Programme and RSIS Maritime Security Programme, Singapore, November 18, 2016.

“The Asian Arms Race,” Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, September 4, 2016. (Panel with Bates Gill and Peter Hartcher, chaired by Simon Longstaff).

“An arms race with Asian characteristics?,” East-West Center 13th International Graduate Student Conference, Hawaii, February 15, 2014.

Media Coverage

Research has been cited and quoted in Channel 9 News, Australian Financial Review, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, South China Morning Post, and Aviation Week. Regular contributor to East Asia Forum.

  1. “Another indictment on Taiwanese democracy?,” East Asia Forum, April 22, 2017.
  2. “Tsai’s Latin America tour signals Taiwan’s uneasiness,” East Asia Forum, February 1, 2017.
  3. “Year in Review 2016: Taiwan’s Tsai expectations,” East Asia Forum, December 21, 2016. Reprinted as “Why Tsai will struggle to succeed,” TODAY (Singapore), December 23, 2016.
  4. “Tsai Ing-wen and Taiwan’s Stake in the South China Sea,” ASPI: The Strategist, May 23, 2016.
  5. “Year in Review 2015: Troubled times ahead for Taiwan?,” East Asia Forum, December 14, 2015.
  6. “The implications of the Xi-Ma meeting for cross-Strait relations,” E-International Relations, December 6, 2015.
  7. “The importance of the Joint Statement on the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership,” The Diplomat, November 26, 2015. Co-authored with Benjamin Schreer. Reprinted in Real Clear Defense, November 27, 2015.
  8. “The Xi–Ma meeting signals a new era in China–Taiwan relations,” East Asia Forum, November 13, 2015. Co-authored with Benjamin Schreer.
  9. “Asia’s Lethal Naval Arms Race,” ASPI: The Strategist. Reprinted in The National Interest, July 2, 2015, and Real Clear Defense, July 2, 2015.
  10. “Taiwan: voting for stable relations with China?,” East Asia Forum, June 10, 2015. Reprinted as “China’s waning influence on Taiwanese politics” in The Australian: Business Review – Business Spectator, June 11, 2015.
  11. “Year in Review 2014: KMT stumbling may mean the spectre of Beijing is losing its potency in Taipei,” East Asia Forum, January 1, 2015.
  12. “China, Taiwan stuck in the ‘friend zone’ on Pingtan,” East Asia Forum, March 12, 2014.
  13. “Year in Review 2013: Taiwan battles economic and cross-Strait tensions in 2013,” East Asia Forum, December 23, 2013.
  14. “Protestors show Taiwanese democracy is alive and kicking,” East Asia Forum, October 8, 2013.
  15. “Death of a conscript highlights Taiwan’s military woes,” East Asia Forum, August 28, 2013.
  16. “Taiwan-China relations under the new Chinese leadership,” East Asia Forum, December 13, 2012. Reprinted in OAV Insight Asia-Pacific (German Asia-Pacific Business Association), May 2013.
  17. ‘Taiwan’s election results raise Chinese expectations’, East Asia Forum, February 4, 2012.
  18. “The F-16A/B upgrades to Taiwan,” East Asia Forum, October 15, 2011.
  19. “The tenth Shangri-La Dialogue,” East Asia Forum, June 24, 2011.
  20. “US calculations on the F-16s sale to Taiwan,” East Asia Forum, March 18, 2011.
Country Focus
Taiwan, Japan, China

Research Areas

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