Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ed Smith continues to live up to his promise to visit as many Asia-Pacific countries as he could in his first year as director of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. To wrap up the year he traveled Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei bringing the total number of countries he visited to 17.
These visits are part of a plan to continue to assess regional security practitioner executive educational and professional development needs.
While in these countries, he met with senior official to discuss widening the pool of APCSS resident-course attendees beyond government officials to include “regional influencers” regularly involved in Asia-Pacific security issues such as non-government organizations and media representatives. Most regional officials supplying fellows to APCSS programs also supported short-duration courses to ensure the right leaders could routinely be released to attend.
An important part of these visits is hearing from the host countries how APCSS can tailor programs to meet regional needs. Cambodian officials suggested APCSS co-host a multi-national conference in Cambodia addressing SE Asia land and sea border control and related regional trafficking challenges, and a Brunei official suggested a seminar there addressing improvements to that government’s inter-agency coordination of disaster management. Both requests for support will be developed into outreach events conducted within the next year.
The launching of the new APCSS Stability, Security, Transitions and Reconstruction (SSTR) Course was also discussed and well supported by officials from all three countries. All expressed their support for this kind of timely, hands-on case-study dialogue and practice among likely multi-national and multi-lateral partners. APCSS emphasis on sharing best practices related to high-level inter-agency coordination was repeatedly cited as unique value added.