About AMTI

The center of gravity in world affairs has shifted to Asia. No other region will do more to determine whether the 21st century will be a peaceful and prosperous one. For this reason, it is imperative that Pacific nations do everything in their power to reduce the risk of inadvertent or accidental conflict.

The maritime environment in East Asia contains both promise and peril. The Indo-Pacific region is host to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes, facilitates huge volumes of regional trade, and boasts abundant natural resources. Competing territorial claims, incidents between neighboring countries, and increasing militarization, however, raise the possibility that an isolated event at sea could become a geopolitical catastrophe. This is all occurring against a backdrop of relative opaqueness. Geography makes it difficult to monitor events as they occur, and there is no public, reliable authority for information on maritime developments.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative seeks to change this. AMTI was conceived of and designed by CSIS. It is an interactive, regularly-updated source for information, analysis, and policy exchange on maritime security issues in Asia. AMTI aims to promote transparency in the Indo-Pacific to dissuade assertive behavior and conflict and generate opportunities for cooperation and confidence building. Because AMTI aims to provide an objective platform for exchange, AMTI and CSIS take no position on territorial or maritime claims. For consistency, all geographic locations are identified using the naming conventions of the United States Government as determined by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

The foundation of AMTI is the integrity of the information we present. AMTI aggregates information from news sources, as well as specially designated research and nonprofit organizations, public sector institutions in Asia, and individuals. There may be rare instances where AMTI will be asked to keep the source of a particular piece of information confidential. We will do so in select cases provided the information passes our rigorous vetting process and serves the interests of the project.

Before posting any material, the AMTI team will scrutinize all information using a multistage vetting process. That process will be guided by the following four questions:

  • Is the source of the information credible? Could they reasonably know what they claim to know?
  • Is there corroborating evidence? Do other reliable sources provide similar accounts of the same event or occurrence?
  • Does evidence exist that is directly contradictory to this account? If so, how credible is the source of that evidence, and can it be corroborated by additional sources?
  • If contradictory but credible accounts of the same event exists, how do scholars with deep knowledge of the countries involved interpret the events?

There may be circumstances when AMTI cannot confidently de-conflict contradictory but credible accounts of the same event. In such cases, we will be guided by our advisory board as to whether to post the event showing multiple, plausible accounts, or await further information.

The editorial contributors to AMTI conduct their analysis in their personal capacity using the judgment and expertise they have acquired as scholars and officials. All contributors have complete intellectual independence in their commentary, and have been invited to share their personal and national perspectives. The goal of AMTI is not to promote a particular point of view, but to serve as a clearinghouse for divergent views that are based on the same set of facts.

AMTI draws on funds including those provided by a Brzezinski Institute on Geostrategy start-up grant, internal funding from the CSIS Korea Chair, and the collective contributions of the regular CSIS Japan Chair corporate sponsors. CSIS is in the process of soliciting additional funding and is open to support from all governments in Asia, as well as corporate and foundation support. AMTI also appreciates contributions from various partners, including Japan and the Philippines. To learn more about how to support AMTI, please contact us.

For more information about AMTI, please contact the Initiative Director, Gregory Poling, at AMTI@csis.org.

AMTI Leadership

Christopher B. Johnstone
Senior Adviser and Japan Chair

Christopher B. Johnstone is senior adviser and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to joining CSIS, Mr. Johnstone served in government for 25 years in a variety of senior positions with a focus on U.S. policy toward Japan and the Indo-Pacific.

Gregory Poling

Gregory Poling

Gregory B. Poling is senior fellow and director of the Southeast Asia Program and director of AMTI. He is a leading expert on the South China Sea disputes and conducts research on U.S. alliances and partnerships, democratization and governance in Southeast Asia, and maritime security across the Indo-Pacific.

Harrison Prétat
Deputy Director and Fellow

Harrison Prétat is deputy director and fellow with the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at CSIS. His research interests include maritime disputes, U.S.-China relations, economic engagement in Asia, and challenges to international institutions in the twenty-first century.

Monica Sato
Research Associate

Monica Michiko Sato is a research associate with the Asia Maritime Security Initiative. Her research interests include maritime security, environmental impacts of state activities in the South China Sea, and U.S.-ASEAN relations.

Advisory Board

Victor Cha, Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair, CSIS
Craig Cohen, Executive Vice President, CSIS
John J. Hamre, President, CEO, Pritzker Chair, CSIS
Christopher B. Johnstone, Senior Adviser and Japan Chair, CSIS
Nicholas Szechenyi, Deputy Director for Asia and Senior Fellow, Japan Chair, CSIS
Bonny Lin, Senior Fellow for Asian Security and Director, China Power Project, CSIS
Seth G. Jones, Senior Vice President; Harold Brown Chair; and Director, International Security Program, CSIS
Murray Hiebert, Senior Associate, Southeast Asia Program, CSIS
Jude Blanchette, Senior Adviser and Freeman Chair in China Studies, CSIS
James A. Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow, Strategic Technologies Program, CSIS
Richard M. Rossow, Senior Fellow and Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies, CSIS

Development Team

AMTI is a product of the Andreas C. Dracopoulos iDeas Lab, the in-house digital, multimedia, and design agency at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

About CSIS

Established in Washington, D.C. nearly 60 years ago, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas that address the world’s greatest challenges. CSIS is ranked the number one think tank in the United States by the University of Pennsylvania’s annual think tank report. To learn more about CSIS, visit www.csis.org.

Questions? E-mail us.