NBR Impact Update

September–November 2022

 
Dear NBR Board/Chairman’s Council/Advisors/President’s Circle Members,

Last week’s “Energy on the Hill” event, cohosted with the U.S. Japan Congressional Caucus, capped NBR’s season of return to in-person public events. Convening more than 100 representatives from government, business, academia and media, the event marked the launch of our eighteenth annual Energy Security Program report. The findings presented—covering increasing demand for critical minerals, international energy market decoupling, and energy mix diversification—are yet another example of NBR’s impressive track record of identifying critical issues and anticipating future challenges for U.S. policy toward Asia.

Beyond the Hill, NBR’s reputation as the go-to U.S. think tank focused on Asia policy is no less valued by America’s allies and partners in the region. In addition to our activities with Asian partners to produce research and host events described in this update, NBR experts have been interviewed and quoted by media outlets in Asia. In October a South Korean newspaper reached out to me for an interview on U.S.-China tensions after my participation in the Seoul World Knowledge Forum in September.

I was also grateful for the opportunity to visit with stakeholders in Tokyo in November, my first trip to Japan in three years. Meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs North America Bureau, Joint Staff J5, and the Ministry of Economics Trade and Industry, as well as conversations with Japan Bank of International Cooperation Chairman Tadashi Maeda (who will be our Chairman’s Council guest in the new year), among others, reminded me of the vital relationships we have in our staunch Japanese ally.

We were honored to welcome Cynthia Watson to our Board of Directors in September and in Dewardric L. McNeal to our Board of Advisors in November.

Below please find my quarterly NBR Impact Update for the period from September through November 2022. Please share this quick reference on NBR’s impact with your own networks.


Bipartisan outreach on the Hill


  • NBR launched its new Congressional Study Group & Dinner Series with senior bipartisan staff from the House and Senate. The event featured a discussion with Caroline Atkinson (former deputy national security advisor for international economics) and Robert Sutter (George Washington University) on the state of U.S.-Asia economic and trade relations.

Informed perspectives on Xi Jinping’s China


“[T]his book has benefited greatly from professional and scholarly responses from around the world, including those brought together here in the important work of Asia Policy and the National Bureau of Asian Research.”

—Kevin Rudd, former prime minister of Australia


  • The October issue of NBR’s journal Asia Policy featured a roundtable on former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s book The Avoidable War: The Dangers of Catastrophic Conflict between the U.S. and Xi Jinping’s China. Influential China experts Carla Freeman, Rory Medcalf, Joseph Liow, and Susan Thornton contributed essays, followed by a response from the author.

The “bigger picture” on security issues


“Let me join in the chorus of appreciation as your presentation was wonderful, Nadège. There has been a nice buzz in the air following your presentation, and it is has spurred many further questions/ideas (which to my mind is the sign of an excellent talk).”

—U.S. Commerce Department representative


The past three months have been quite busy with conferences, workshops, briefings, and media engagement:

  • As principal investigator of the multi-year project “Into Africa: China’s Emerging Strategy,” Nadège held private briefings for representatives of the State Department (African and Asian affairs), Defense Intelligence Agency/Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Department of Commerce (International Trade Administration). She was also invited to share some of the project findings before the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
  • NBR advisor Bill McCahill and senior project manager Rachel Bernstein joined Nadège and Alison to brief the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Joint Base Lewis McChord on how Taiwan fits into U.S-China relations and influences geopolitical trends in the Indo-Pacific. The briefing was also recorded for an international audience.
  • NBR organized a closed-door workshop in Seattle examining China’s Global Health Ambitions (a study sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency/Office of the Secretary of Defense), which brought together China scholars, scientists from national labs, biotech experts, and government representatives. The diversity of participants and topics examined prompted extremely engaging conversations.
  • NBR held a roundtable with a delegation from Japan’s Sasakawa Peace Foundation, including former chief of staff of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force, Admiral Tomohisa Takei (ret.); the former vice chief of Joint Staff, Lieutenant General Takashi Motomatsu (ret.); and former ambassador of Japan to Indonesia, Ambassador Masafumi Ishii. I participated in the discussion along with other NBR staff, including Admiral Jonathan Greenert (ret.), holder of NBR’s Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies, which allowed NBR to reconnect with old friends and important contacts in Japan’s national security community. We look forward to continued engagement with Sasakawa and our partners in Tokyo!

Fostering energy, science, and tech cooperation


  • In partnership with the Universiti Teknologi MARA, NBR hosted its annual Pacific Energy Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on “Understanding Southeast Asia’s Vision for Energy and Climate Security in the Indo-Pacific.” The Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment and Water, Malaysia, YBhg. Puan Boor Afifah Abdul Razak, provided opening remarks on Malaysia’s net-zero goals, and participants from six countries discussed pathways to increase investment and capacity building in Southeast Asia.
  • To examine potential areas for cooperation between the United States and South Korea on science and technology diplomacy, NBR hosted a roundtable discussion in Seattle that featured keynote remarks from Consul General Eunji Seo (Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Seattle) and presentations from Jennifer Audet (CleanTech Alliance). Sam Cho (Port of Seattle), Ian Oates (University of Washington), and Geoff Potter (Office of Governor Jay Inslee).
  • NBR senior director Ashley Johnson and colleagues traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of their project on Clean EDGE Asia. In Dhaka, they met with the Independent University, Bangladesh, to establish the first Clean EDGE Resource Center. In Hanoi, NBR gave a presentation to students and faculty at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology on priority issues in U.S. Asia policy.
  • NBR hosted a private virtual roundtable with the Synergia Foundation in Bengaluru on U.S.-India and Quad cooperation on critical and emerging technologies. Both Ambassador Pankaj Saran, former deputy national security advisor of India; and Ambassador (ret.) Atul Keshap, president of the U.S.-India Business Council and former principal deputy assistant secretary of state, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, provided remarks to an audience that included representatives from all four Quad members.
  • NBR assistant director Doug Strub organized a public event in Seattle on Japan’s digital transformation and U.S.-Japan cooperation in advancing the digital transformation in the Indo-Pacific. The event was attended by Japanese Consul General Hisao Inagaki and TECO Seattle Director-General Daniel Kuo-ching Chen.

Executive education & training the next generation


“Let me join in the chorus of appreciation as your presentation was wonderful, Nadège. There has been a nice buzz in the air following your presentation, and it is has spurred many further questions/ideas (which to my mind is the sign of an excellent talk).”

—PLA Executive Education Course participant


  • In November, NBR hosted its fourth iteration of its PLA Executive Education Course, consisting of 10 intensive seminar-style lectures, a working lunch with INDOPACOM Deputy Director for Intelligence Catherine Johnston, and a simulation exercise led by the course’s senior mentor Brigadier General Brian Davis (ret.). The diverse participants ranged from the UK and Dutch ministries of defense to U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Air Force, and think tanks around Washington, D.C. One participant commented, “The unexpected but most welcome benefit to this course was the value added by the diverse nationalities, professional expertise, and perspectives of the other course attendees.” The 2023 courses will be held on April 12–14, August 16–18, and November 1–3.
  • Chinese Language Fellowship Program 2022–23 fellows have arrived in Beijing and Taipei to continue their intensive language study, and NBR is currently accepting applications for the 2023–24 class.
  • The Gorton Center Advisory Committee will convene in early December to select the 2023 class of fellows for the Gorton Leaders Program. The new fellows will begin their term in late January 2023.

Watch for the mid-December release of a new report from NBR’s project China’s Military Modernization: Implications for Regional Security on China’s emerging cyber, space, and autonomous weapons capabilities and opportunities for regional cooperation with the United States.

With gratitude for your ongoing support of NBR’s Next Generation programs and work on the critical issues that today’s leaders—in America and beyond—need to understand.

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Roy D. Kamphausen
President, The National Bureau of Asian Research