AFRI to host Asia-Pacific Symposium|
by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs
10/21/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Air Force Research Institute will host the Asia-Pacific Symposium at Maxwell Dec. 6-7 at the Squadron Officer College. The event, titled "The Asia-Pacific Century: Overcoming the Strategy Gap," coincides with the institute's research emphasis on the Air Force's long-range strategy in the Indo-Pacific, according to Adam Lowther, program director for the symposium.
"The 21st century is being called the 'Asia-Pacific century.' American economic and security interests are shifting from Europe to Asia," Lowther said. "If the Air Force is going to be best positioned to defend those interests, AFRI must increase its focus on an increasingly important region."
Lowther said he hopes the conference will help the institute develop policy in the region.
"Our goal in hosting the conference is to bring together leading subject-matter experts and practitioners to discuss the future of the Asia Pacific," Lowther said. "In doing so, we seek to develop a foundation of understanding of the region so we can develop a long range strategy for the Air Force as it attempts to serve the nation's interests in the region."
The symposium will host senior Air Force leaders and scholars to discuss economic, political and security issues shaping Asia. These key experts will address attendees in panels. After each panel, attendees will have discussion groups to further delve into symposium topics, said John Farrell, an adviser for the symposium and Air University faculty member.
"As opposed to straight presentations, AFRI will seek to capture the in-depth experience and expertise of those who attend by placing each person in a breakout group where they will discuss a series of questions related to each of the symposium's four panels. The results of these discussions will then be incorporated into AFRI's research and published in the conference proceedings," Farrell said.
Highlights of the symposium will include key note speeches from AETC Commander Gen. Edward Rice and former Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. (ret.) Carrol "Howie" Chandler. Panelists will also feature top Asian scholars, according to Lowther.
"The panel will provide an opportunity for leading scholars from Asia to tell an American audience what role they think the U.S. should play in the region," he said.
Farrell said he hopes symposium attendees and panelists will shed some light on challenges and opportunities arising in the region.
"The Asian Pacific region has always been vital to U.S. defense strategy. The United States has been involved in four major conflicts in the region over the past century," Farrell said. "Southeast Asia is now considered the second front in the global war against terror. In addition, the ascendancy in power of China and India makes the region a critical area in terms of economic and military power."
While there is still time to register for the event, Farrell said spots are filling up fast. Husband Auditorium only has seating for about 200 attendees, so those planning to attend should register as soon as possible.
Registration information is available at http://afri.au.af.mil/asiapac/.