Christopher R. Lew

President and Co-Founder of Water Dragons Consulting, Senior China Policy Analyst at SAIC, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland University College, and Major in the United States Army Reserve

Professional Experience

Christopher R. Lew specializes in Chinese politics, economics, military affairs, and history. His current work with Water Dragons Consulting involves navigating the Chinese political-economic landscape and networks through the use of advanced analytics while his support of U.S. Pacific Command through SAIC involves interpreting northeast Asian decision-making processes. As a part-time assistant professor at the University of Maryland University College, he teaches courses in modern East Asian history and contemporary China.

Previously, he served as a Principal Threat Intelligence Analyst at Mandiant, during which he participated in and co-authored the APT1 Report. He has also worked as an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, a Senior Intelligence Analyst with the Department of Defense, and a Mandarin Chinese linguist for SMC Consulting. Chris previously taught part-time at the Eliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University in 2009.

In addition to his civilian work, Chris is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve. He has served a combined 18 years in the active and reserve components. As an enlisted soldier, he served in the armor and public affairs fields, and, as an officer, he worked in the military intelligence branch. In 2005-06, Chris commanded the Analysis and Control Team of the 2/28th Brigade Combat Team in Ramadi, Iraq. During that time, he helped identify and establish the conditions for the Al Anbar Awakening, which served as a turning point in the campaign for western Iraq. Chris' most recent military tours have been with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and as a Defense Attaché at various embassies in the Asia-Pacific region.

He has authored two books, The Third Chinese Revolutionary Civil War: An Analysis of Communist Strategy and Leadership (2009) and the second edition of the Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Civil War (2013). He also contributed various entries to China at War: An Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Chinese History. In February 2013, he presented a groundbreaking look at Chinese Advanced Persistent Threats during the BSides cyber security conference held in San Francisco. He has also served as a panel chairman and presenter at various conferences held by the Society of Military History and Association of Asian Studies.

Chris has spent two years living abroad in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and has visited frequently over the last decade for work-related trips. In 1999, he was an English teacher in Changchun, China, and in 2000 he worked as a senior staff writer for the now defunct Beijing Scene, a weekly arts and culture magazine covering the avant garde in Beijing. He returned to China in 2003-04 as a visiting scholar at Nanjing University in order to conduct archival research. More recently, he participated in official trips to the PRC in 2007 and 2010 as part of his work for the U.S. government.


Chris received his Ph.D and M.A. in History from the University of Pennsylvania in the fields of Modern China, Late Imperial China, Modern Japan, and Military History. For his B.A., he attended Towson University and majored in History and English.




Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Civil War. Second Edition. (Scarecow Press, 2013)

APT1: Exposing One of China’s Cyber Espionage Units. (Mandiant, 2013) – Co-Author

China at War: An Encyclopedia. (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2012) -- Contributor

Encyclopedia of Chinese History. London: Routledge, pending publication – Contributor

The Third Chinese Revolutionary Civil War. (Routledge, 2009)

“Zhongguancun: China’s Silicon Valley?” Gorilla Asia, Oct. 2000.

“Deconstructing Wang.” Beijing Scene, Vol. 7, Issue 6, 2000.

“Bebop in Beijing.” Beijing Scene, Vol. 7, Issue 4, 2000.

“The Weight of History: The Sino-Vietnam War.” Towson Journal of Historical Studies, Fall 1999.



  Chinese Military Thought and History
  Modern China