Honolulu – In an effort to advance regional cooperation in professional military education, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security studies conducted a three-day workshop here Jan. 7-9. Titled “Command and Staff Colleges in the Asia-Pacific: Towards a Shared Vision for Cooperation,” the event brought together 28 participants from 10 nations representing 18 command and staff colleges in the region.
“This was an extraordinary group, in aggregate responsible for the education of nearly 12,800 future military leaders annually,” said APCSS’ Dr. Al Oehlers, academic lead for the workshop. “Having them all together in one room, actively networking with each other and collaboratively developing shared projects for the future was a real privilege.”
Command and staff colleges are a critical component in professional military education. The
schools provide mid-grade officers with advanced skills and knowledge in leadership, communication, and analytical skills needed to succeed in higher command and staff appointments. Some schools operate at the post-graduate level and award master’s degrees in a broad range of studies.
January’s workshop was consistent with Association of Southeast Nations’ Defense Ministers Plus ambitions to develop stronger PME linkages throughout the region. The event laid a foundation for future collaboration on issues such as curriculum exchanges, faculty development and visits, virtual and online learning, and a dedicated web portal to support cooperative ventures among participating Colleges.
To facilitate collaboration, workshop facilitators strived to achieve:
– Enhanced understanding among attendees of the education philosophies, methodologies, curricula and administrative practices used across the region.
– Identifying a range of potential engagements among colleges (bilateral and multilateral) to enhance interaction and collaboration.
– Specific projects and way-ahead next steps for the next 12 to 18 months to advance their objectives.
APCSS’ Dean of the College of Security Studies, Carleton Cramer, said a key workshop focus was candid discussion on schools’ international components. Most or all represented colleges integrate and exchange faculty and fellows from other nations. “We looked at how schools are implementing international perspectives within their overall programs. I think we had a consensus that this perspective is important in developing the next generation of leaders,” related Cramer.
Workshop participants hailed from Brunei, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States. Australian representatives participated via VTC. Each briefed general college structure and operations, details on their international outreach programs, and initiatives they’ll implement.
One of three Vietnamese participants, Senior Col. Khac Dao Tran described the event as a “very good opportunity for senior officials to not only lay a foundation for personal contacts, but also (dialogue) between the armed forces.” Tran, who is chief of training and education for Vietnam’s Army Academy, added that cooperation among colleges is another venue for enhancing peace, stability and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.
Cramer said the event established and matured institutional relationships previously non-existent. He hopes to further these relationships by enlarging the outreach to include faculty and students from each college’s international program in a week-long workshop within the next year.
The event was one of many APCSS executive education programs designed to strengthen partnerships among Asia-Pacific nations in national security-related fields.
APCSS is a Department of Defense institute that addresses regional and global security issues. Military and civilian representatives from the United States and Asia-Pacific nations participate in a comprehensive program of executive education, professional exchanges and outreach events, both in Hawaii and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The Center supports the U.S. Pacific Command by developing and sustaining relationships among security practitioners and national security establishments throughout the region. APCSS’ mission is to build capacities and communities of interest by educating, connecting and empowering security practitioners to advance Asia-Pacific security. It is one of the Department of Defense’s five regional security studies centers.
Since opening in 1995, more than 9,100 alumni representing over 122 countries and territories have attended APCSS courses and workshops.