Thirty academic and defense education leaders from 12 nations gathered at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies Feb. 3 to 5 to brainstorm a path toward creation of a formal maritime security cooperation course.
DKI APCSS conducted the event titled “Maritime Security Cooperation: Engagement through Education” in response to the U.S. government’s increasing emphasis on building international cooperative capacity for shared maritime security. The workshop served as the first step in development of a curriculum that will facilitate a common understanding of the Asia-Pacific region’s maritime issues and promote collaboration among practitioners.
“Though Asia has always been a maritime region by geography, it has not always been maritime-oriented in its approach to security,” noted Kerry Lynn Nankivell, DKI APCSS professor and academic lead at last week’s workshop. “The world is changing though, and Asian governments are re-evaluating the importance of both their maritime capacities and their maritime partnerships. In the educational dimension, our workshop was part of this ongoing re-evaluation of where we stand as a maritime community and where we ought to go next.”
Nankivell added that there is unanimous recognition in the region that maritime security is central to economic prosperity, the security of borders and trade, and regional relationships.
In the interest of enhancing MARSEC through education, workshop participants strove to meet two objectives: recommend key themes for educational engagements on maritime security and identify effective, field-appropriate teaching methods. In this context, they discussed best practices gleaned from established professional maritime security education offerings. They also explored priority education needs based on perspectives of participants from each of the 12 nations represented. Finally, participants looked at the region’s key maritime threats and risks to include piracy, terrorism, environmental damage, smuggling and trafficking, and the consequences each bring.
“I think we went a long way in the space of three days to help the (DKI APCSS) staff develop a curriculum,” said Dr. James Boutilier, international engagement advisor for Canada’s Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters. Boutilier, a DKI APCSS alumnus of Senior Executive Course (SE 99-1), said the group evaluated how to best educate mid-level professionals to be more effective in dealing with maritime security challenges, which are both traditional and increasingly non-traditional in terms of transnational sea crime.
Gloria Jumamil-Mercado, with the Development Academy of the Philippines, added that she “savored” everything that was discussed, primarily because “I’m about to open a maritime security course for the Coast Guard in my country. The board decided to hold it for a month until I finished this workshop to enrich (our) program, and I think we did.”
Nankivell related she was humbled by the number of DKI APCSS partners and friends in the region that took part to help inform the Center’s approach to capacity building and engagement around maritime issues.
“Our programs are always enriched through the feedback of our stakeholders in the U.S. and in the region. Our leadership and faculty will take the insights gained from this workshop and integrate them into our wider maritime program.”
This program includes the “Building Maritime Shared Awareness in Southeast Asia” workshop series. The first was held at the request of U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in May 2015, and the second iteration is scheduled for May this year.
Mercado, an alumna of the Advanced Security Cooperation course (ASC 14-1) said she believes DKI APCSS is the proper institution to build cooperation in maritime security. “I’ve seen it work in the ASC…you actually build a community—or maybe a family— that understands a common language in security cooperation.”
Mercado and Boutilier were among representatives from Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the United States. The event was one of many DKI APCSS outreach programs designed to strengthen partnerships among Asia-Pacific nations in security-related fields.
DKI 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. DKI 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 9,800 alumni representing over 122 countries and territories have attended DKI APCSS courses and workshops.