US Air Force Air War College Panel Presentation and Discussion

Tuesday, February 19th, 7:00pm
International Cultural Center

The Vietnam Center and Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive is proud to host a panel presentation and discussion with the United States Air Force Air War College on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at 7 PM at the International Cultural Center Auditorium, located on the campus of Texas Tech University. Three students from the Grand Strategy Program will present their research on US-Vietnamese relations and the renewed US focus on Asia and Southeast Asia as part of the U.S. Global Strategy and Foreign Policy. The formal presentations will be followed by a question/answer/discussion period. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the event. The presenters include:

Colonel Chee Mun Chew is currently the Singapore Defense Adviser for the United Kingdom. Prior to attending the Air War College, he was the Deputy Head of Air Operations of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in charge of operations planning and training for the RSAF. His previous staff experiences include long-term strategic planning, research and development, and weapon systems development for the RSAF. COL Chew’s command experiences include Group Commander of the Tactical Air Support Group and Squadron Commander of a helicopter squadron. COL Chew holds a Master's of Science in Management of Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he is also a graduate from the German Command and Staff College. COL Chew is proficient in English, Chinese and German. Col Chew will examine China's perspectives on the territorial disputes in the Asian Pacific. He will highlight some implications for the U.S. strategic pivot towards Asia. The recent developments in Asia Pacific's territorial disputes have revealed how China and its people would perceive and behave on issues related to territorial sovereignty and regional security. Understanding China's perspectives and behavior on such issues can better inform US strategic rebalancing efforts to enhance security in the Asia Pacific region.

Lieutenant Colonel Brian Bergeron, USAF, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1994 with a BS in political science. He has an MS in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. Lt Col Bergeron is a senior pilot with 1,600 hours flying the F-15C Eagle both in the active duty and the Oregon Air National Guard. Upon graduation from the Air War College, Lt Col Bergeron is projected to return to the cockpit as part of the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland, Oregon. Lt Col Bergeron will discuss the National Guard State Partnership Program (SPP); a 65-nation capacity building relationship that pairs U.S. states with a foreign country. This interaction enhances combatant commander and U.S. ambassador interests. Only 6 nations (Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, & Cambodia) of the 65 partners are in the PACOM AOR. In light of the US rebalance toward Asia during fiscally constrained times, a fully funded SPP focused on Asian partners is a low-cost, high yield initiative. The paper will examine: a rising China (briefly), the nature of the US rebalance and how it cements ties with regional allies, internal changes necessary for the SPP to be relevant in Asia, and ultimately, that the SPP should be expanded into Asian countries such as Vietnam.

Lt Col Ed Jeep, USAF, graduated from the Miami University, Ohio with a BA in English Literature in 1993. He has an MA in International Relations from the Ortega y Gasset Institute, and a Diploma of Advanced Studies from the University of Granada, Spain. Lt Col Jeep is a helicopter aviator with 3000 hours in the CH-46E. He commanded the “Purple Foxes” of HMM-364 and has served in East Timor, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Lt Col Jeep will discuss the idea that, by 2020, Vietnamese and American interests will be convergent enough to permit a US Navy base to be reestablished in Vietnam, hypothetically represented by Camh Ranh Bay. Lt Col Jeep examines this within the context of Chinese and Vietnamese history, discusses current and pertinent local, national, and regional politics, examines available writings by Vietnamese strategic thinkers on the topic, and finally discusses scenarios within which U.S. basing in Vietnam might be feasible and whether or not the U.S. should pursue such a strategy.

The AWC student presenters will be joined by Dr. Martin Loicano. Dr. Loicano is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Strategy at the Air War College. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University, specializing in Southeast Asia and China. Prior to joining the AWC faculty, he served with the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan from 2010-2012. Dr. Loicano previously taught at several universities in the Gulf South region as well as in Southeast Asia. His current research includes a monograph on security assistance in Afghanistan and a manuscript on the Republic of Vietnam's military diplomacy during the Vietnam War.