Brian Harding joined the U.S. Institute of Peace in May 2020 as a senior expert on Southeast Asia. He comes to USIP with more than 15 years of experience in Southeast Asian affairs in government, think tanks, and the private sector.

Prior to joining USIP, Harding was deputy director of the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he managed a range of projects focused on Southeast Asia’s political economy and U.S.-Southeast Asia relations.

Previously, he was director for East and Southeast Asia policy at the Center for American Progress, where he led an expansion of the their work on Southeast Asia and Japan.

From 2009 to 2013, he served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon as country director for Asian and Pacific security affairs. There, he managed defense relations with major U.S. partners in Southeast Asia and Oceania and played an instrumental role in several high-profile defense policy initiatives, including agreements to station U.S. Marines in Darwin, Australia, and littoral combat ships in Singapore.

In the private sector, Harding has advised many of the world’s most prominent companies and financial institutions on political risk and leadership dynamics in Southeast Asia, including in roles at Eurasia Group and Monitor 360.

Harding holds degrees from Middlebury College and The George Washington University and has studied at universities in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Kyoto, Japan. In Southeast Asia, he has also been a Fulbright research fellow in Indonesia and taught English in Nong Khai, Thailand.

Publications By Brian

What the Quad Leaders’ Summit Means for the Indo-Pacific Amid Rising Tensions with China

What the Quad Leaders’ Summit Means for the Indo-Pacific Amid Rising Tensions with China

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

By: Daniel Markey, Ph.D.; Carla Freeman, Ph.D.; Brian Harding; Mirna Galic; Vikram J. Singh

On September 24, President Biden hosted Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House for the first-ever in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit. The event marked a milestone for the group, which started as an ad hoc coordination mechanism for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The four leaders unveiled a slate of new initiatives on a range of pressing global issues — from climate change and COVID-19 to technology, infrastructure and education — as well as formalized plans to meet annually.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Why the New U.S.-U.K.-Australia Partnership Is So Significant

Why the New U.S.-U.K.-Australia Partnership Is So Significant

Friday, September 17, 2021

By: Brian Harding; Carla Freeman, Ph.D.; Mirna Galic; Henry Tugendhat; Rachel Vandenbrink

The United States and the United Kingdom have made the rare decision to share nuclear submarine propulsion technology with Australia in a move seen aimed at China. In a joint statement on September 15, the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced the formation of a trilateral partnership — AUKUS — that, among other things, seeks to “strengthen the ability of each to support our security and defense interests.” USIP’s Brian Harding, Carla Freeman, Mirna Galic, Henry Tugendhat and Rachel Vandenbrink discuss the significance of the decision and what to expect next.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Climate, COVID and China Drive U.S.-Pacific Islands Engagement

Climate, COVID and China Drive U.S.-Pacific Islands Engagement

Monday, August 9, 2021

By: Jennifer Staats, Ph.D.; Brian Harding

The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) held its 51st leaders meeting on August 6, with Fiji serving as virtual host. The PIF is comprised of 18 members, and the United States is among 18 PIF Dialogue Partners that participate in an annual post-forum dialogue. This year, President Joe Biden led the U.S. delegation and delivered his own address, a first for a U.S. president and a demonstration of the strategic importance of Pacific Island nations to U.S. priorities like climate change, COVID-19 and competition with China. USIP’s Jennifer Staats and Brian Harding discuss what PIF members and Washington want from each other and the major issues facing the region.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Economics & Environment

Myanmar Coup Weakens Southeast Asia Security and Cooperation

Myanmar Coup Weakens Southeast Asia Security and Cooperation

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

By: Brian Harding; Jason Tower

Southeast Asian governments have reacted to the coup in Myanmar in diverse ways that reflect divergent interests. Some, such as Singapore, have condemned the generals’ violence against anti-coup protesters. Others, including Vietnam, have strategic concerns behind their limited willingness to speak out. Cambodia may believe it benefits from the takeover as international attention shifts to Myanmar. They can all agree, though, that fallout from the coup is damaging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a time when the broader regional order is in flux.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

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