Advancing Security Cooperation through Executive Education

By Carvelli, Michael | Military Review, July-August 2017 | Go to article overview

Advancing Security Cooperation through Executive Education


Carvelli, Michael, Military Review


The Asia-Pacific region contains more than half the world's population, two of the three largest economies, and several of the world's largest militaries. (1) As such, it is becoming the world's political and economic center of gravity. The United States' priority is to strengthen cooperation among partners in the Asia-Pacific, leveraging their significant and growing capabilities to build a network of like-minded states that sustains and strengthens a rules-based order and addresses regional and global challenges. (2) The mission of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) is to build capacities, networks, and shared understanding by educating, engaging, connecting, and empowering security professionals in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. It is incumbent upon leaders in all branches of the military to properly capitalize on security cooperation educational opportunities so that U.S. forces can continue to improve their ability to work in concert with allied and partner nations.

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Security cooperation (SC) comprises all activities undertaken by the Department of Defense (DOD) to encourage and enable international partners to work with the United States to achieve strategic objectives. (3) SC encompasses all DOD interactions with foreign defense and security establishments. This includes all DOD-administered security assistance (SA) programs that build defense and security relationships, promote specific U.S. security interests, develop allied and friendly military capabilities for self-defense and multinational operations, and provide U.S. forces with peacetime and contingency access to host nations. (4)

Within the realm of SC, there are several tools available to the DOD to leverage relationships, equipment, and institutions. Leveraging shared experiences and education through the International Military Education and Training program is one way in which the DOD exercises soft power, or the "ability to achieve one's goals without force." (5) Joseph Nye states, "When we learn how to better combine hard and soft power, then we will be what I call a smart power" (6) The ability to vary the mix of hard and soft power enables the DOD to respond to individual events, needs, and necessities globally, as required. Academic forums, including senior service colleges, centers of excellence, and regional centers, provide flexible and adaptable venues to adjust SC strategies in response to domestic and foreign training requirements.

Within the DOD, there are five Centers for Regional Security Study, or regional centers (RCs), that utilize unique academic forums to build partner capacity by focusing on security leaders across the globe. (7) The RCs accomplish their mission through resident and in-region programs, including conferences, seminars, courses, bilateral workshops, alumni outreach events, and research publications. DKI APCSS is one of the five RCs, along with the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (GCMC), the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (WJPC), the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), and the Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (NESA). Each RC is aligned with a DOD geographic combatant command (GCC) as follows:

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* GCMC--European Command

* DKI APCSS--Pacific Command

* WJPC--Northern and Southern Commands

* ACSS--Africa Command

* NESA--Central Command

It is significant to note that RC alignment is not restrictive regarding each GCC's area of responsibility. By design, RCs help to bridge the seams between the six GCCs.

Guidance for the conduct of SC is issued through several offices within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. This guidance ensures all activities are aligned to achieve maximum effects across regional and transnational issues. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy provides policy oversight and annual guidance to RCs, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs provides regionally focused guidance for Asia-Pacific as a component of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. …

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