High-level leaders from 29 locations and one regional organization were tasked with exploring solutions to transnational terrorist and humanitarian challenges as part of the Nov. 13 to 18 Transnational Security Cooperation course (TSC 16-2) at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS).
Thirty-four security professionals took part in this senior executive course designed for military officers at the general officer level and civilian equivalents in the security sector. Fellows include officials in law and justice, defense, foreign relations, finance, maritime security and members of the academia.
Fellows engaged in topical discussions on complexity in problem-solving as well as an overview of salient transnational issues in the Asia-Pacific region’s evolving security environment. The group was then split into two teams, with one focused on a transnational terrorist threat and the other challenged with a humanitarian crisis involving a communicable disease among a refugee population. Team members were challenged to collaborate in evaluating factors contributing to the threat and to design multilateral strategies ranging from short-term crisis management to possibilities for long-term conflict resolution.
The emphasis, said course manager Dr. Saira Yamin, was to encourage leaders from diverse sub-regions and political cultures to jointly assess threats and make recommendations for national and multilateral solutions. Transnational problems require national, regional and often globally coordinated responses that must be planned for in advance. Dialogue and cooperation can be difficult when there is a perception of threat and deficit of trust between nations.
“Engaging in dialogue with the ‘other side’ and keeping open lines of communication is often harder than confrontation. Conflicts have a tendency to spiral out of control and wars can be costly and difficult to terminate. We provide Fellows with an environment – an academic safe house – where they are able to exchange their perspectives freely, to reflect on new ideas, and to integrate the ideas of all stakeholders in designing optimal solutions to complex challenges. We hope to demonstrate that building relationships and the path to dialogue is a process that is worth the investment in planning, preparation and mobilization of valuable institutional resources. Building common ground by focusing on shared values and interests is fundamental to building security in an increasingly interdependent regional environment.”
TSC is designed to enhance Fellows’ analytical skills while helping to build a network of senior security practitioners in the region. In essence, the course aims to strengthen regional leadership capacity through critical thinking and multilateral cooperation to address existential transnational threats.
TSC 16-2 Fellow Brigadier General Iftikhar Hassan Chaudhary from Pakistan described the TSC experience as “perfect” – one that exceeded his expectations. “It was a wonderful opportunity (for leaders) to get together from all over the Asia-Pacific (to) exchange their views in a very, very frank and safe manner. It has been very rewarding.”
Joining Brigadier General Chaudhary in TSC 16-2 were Fellows from Australia, China, Japan, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the United States and Vietnam among others.
TSC is one of six formal courses at DKI APCSS. The center is a Department of Defense institute that addresses regional and global security issues. Military and civilian representatives, most 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 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 10,400 alumni representing over 122 countries and territories have attended DKI APCSS courses and workshops