In November, the Royal Thai Armed Forces’ Strategic Studies Center of the National Defence Studies Institute hosted their inaugural Senior Security Studies Course in Bangsaen, Chonburi. The intensive one-week course for senior Thai security sector leaders emphasized the impact of change in the region as well as capacities to manage change for both leaders and institutions.
Center leadership and faculty members from The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies located in Honolulu, Hawaii, supported this first senior course hosted by SSC as lecturers and facilitators.
In the opening ceremonies, General Narain Siripubar, Commanding General of the National Defence Studies Institute, stated that many of the participants were hand-selected by the Chief of the Defence Force to attend the course, which he hopes will be a new standard for the development of personnel.
Twenty-one participants from a variety of government organizations attended the course. Participants represented various offices and institutions within the Ministry of Defense as well as the Royal Thai Police.
Air Vice Marshall Poomjai Leksuntarakorn, SSC Director, discussed the security environment in his opening remarks and the complex challenges of security studies. “In this course,” he said, “we see DKI APCSS as a partner. Senior Security officers will gain a deeper understanding of the region and the challenges and opportunities. It will also enhance the exchange of ideas and the networking between senior leaders attending the course.”
During the course these senior leaders reviewed a comprehensive array of emergent and over-the horizon security issues such as geopolitical competition, environmental degradation, cyber threats, and regional governance.
According to DKI APCSS Director, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Pete Gumataotao: “The United States and Thailand enjoy a long committed alliance. This first Senior Security Studies Course is an excellent example of how our countries can work together to build cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific Region. We proudly count more than 400 Thai security sector professionals as part of our alumni network and I look forward to working with the Strategic Studies Center in the future.”
The relationship between SSC and DKI APCSS goes further back than just this event. Gen. Boonsrang Niumpradit – former Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Defence Forces (2006-2008) and current Senator – was among those who helped inaugurate the Center in Honolulu 25 years ago in his role as Director of the then Strategic Research Institute.
In his opening ceremony keynote address, Gen. Boonsrang discussed the history of the Strategic Studies Center and its evolution from the original research institute. He stressed the importance of these Centers in dealing with post-cold war traditional and non-traditional security challenges. The partnership between SSC and DKI APCSS is a welcome further step in evolution that will strengthen bilateral bonds between Thailand and the U.S. and advance the cause of cooperation, security and stability in the region.
For more information on the Royal Thai Armed Forces Security Studies Center go to sscthailand.org