APCSS director retired Army Lt. Gen. Ed Smith recently visited Pakistan and Bangladesh to discuss upcoming events and opportunities as well as get feedback on APCSS programs. The 10-day trip took place in September with positive results.
According to Lt. Gen. Smith, “Many obvious and some not so obvious security-sector challenges impact both Pakistan and Bangladesh, directly and indirectly. Having the opportunity to discuss them firsthand in country with key officials has helped APCSS analyze how it can best assist in its in-residence and outreach educational and leader development programs.”
According to Lt. Col. John Gasner, chief of the APCSS alumni and outreach branch, “everyone praised APCSS’ new strategic direction, including the ideas of reducing course lengths; broadening the prospective pool of course participants to include NGOs and media personnel; adding the Security, Stability, Transitions and Reconstruction course; and most of all, expanding the APCSS mission to include outreach education.”
In Pakistan, the director met with key members of the U.S. embassy country team, principal host-nation government officials and leaders of various educational institutions and think tanks, all of whom enthusiastically supported APCSS and its programs.
Pakistani officials encouraged APCSS to present an outreach event in Pakistan, recommending several possible topics for discussion, including border control and integrating national and international security priorities.
According to Gasner, “We will study the possibility of providing such an outreach event probably in support of the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center.” Lt. Gen. Smith and Lt. Col. Gasner also met with APCSS and NESA alumni for a roundtable discussion and reception. “The alumni are enthusiastic about forming a joint alumni association,” said Gasner.
In Bangladesh, representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense energetically supported APCSS and its programs. Both expressed desire for enhanced cooperation with APCSS, including faculty visits and in-country seminars/workshops.
They also visited educational and research organizations such as the National Defense College and the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) to discuss possible future collaborations.
Lt. Gen. Smith also met with APCSS alumni for a roundtable discussion and reception during which he and U.S. Ambassador Patricia Butenis inaugurated the Bangladesh APCSS Alumni Association.