The Royal Thai Armed Forces’ Strategic Studies Center of the National Defence Studies Institute hosted their second Senior Security Studies Program, May 17-21, 2021, in Bangkok.  The intensive one-week program for senior Thai security sector leaders emphasized key geopolitical and security trends in the region as well as capacities to manage these for both leaders and institutions.  Center leadership and faculty members from The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies supported the program as lecturers.

In the opening ceremonies, General Siravuth Wongkantee, Commanding General of the National Defence Studies Institute, emphasized the importance of the partnership with the United States and DKI APCSS in developing and making available to participants a high-quality program addressing the professional development needs of senior leaders. Participants represent various offices and institutions within the Ministry of Defense, Royal Thai Police, National Institute of Development Administration, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Department of Special Investigation, Secretariat of the Cabinet, Secretariat of the Prime Minister, and the Supreme Court.

Air Vice Marshall Poomjai Leksuntarakorn, SSC Director, highlighted the complexity of the security environment in his opening remarks and the array of challenges facing Thailand.  In this program, he said, senior security officers will gain a deeper understanding of these issues and opportunities for Thailand.  The program will also enhance the exchange of ideas and networking among senior leaders in attendance.

During the course these senior leaders reviewed emergent and over-the horizon security issues such as climate change and environmental degradation, geopolitical competition, economic sustainability and resiliency, transnational organized crime, technology and cyber threats, and space diplomacy.

According to DKI APCSS Director, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Pete Gumataotao: “A comprehensive understanding of security focused on strengthening sustainable and resilient societies will be key to an enduring free and open Indo-Pacific.  The continuing development of the Senior Security Studies Program is an excellent example of how allies such as Thailand and the United States can work together to build cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific Region.  We congratulate the security sector professionals participating in this program, and I look forward to working with the Strategic Studies Center in the future.”

There is a long historical relationship between SSC and DKI APCSS. Keynote speaker Gen. Boonsrang Niumpradit, former Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Defence Forces (2006-2008), was among those who helped inaugurate the Center in Honolulu 26 years ago in his role as Director of the then Strategic Research Institute.

In his address, Gen. Boonsrang reminded participants of this connection and stressed the importance of such deep relationships in dealing with the challenges of the 21st century.

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