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Experts discussing security in Asia

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's considered the first of its kind on Guam and next month a dozen distinguished intelligence analysts and national security experts are set to meet on island to discuss the nation's role in an emerging Asia security environment.

Next month, the Guam U.S. Asia Security Alliance will be holding a two-day conference featuring leading US Asian security and intelligence experts. GUASA board member John Thomas Brown said, "These experts are the people that the government turns to and asks these questions of and they need to have the discussions themselves."

The conference will be a roundtable discussion exploring key questions regarding past and present postures of US forward deployed forces in the Pacific and implications for future security of the region.

Among the dozen panel experts set to participate include former assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research Carl Ford Jr. as well as Center for new American Security's senior advisor and senior director of its Asian Program Dr. Patrick Cronin.

Board member Juan Carlos Benitez says GUASA simply is hosting the platform, one that normally would be held either in the nation's capitol, Hawaii or Japan. "What I think is extra special of the conference coming to Guam is it will allow the people of Guam for the first time to actually listen to that discussion and understand the different points of view that are being weighed and taken into consideration in Washington," he said.

But why GUASA and not the Government of Guam, like the Guam Legislature or the Governor's Office? "It doesn't work the same way if it's a government conversations," he explained. "It solidifies what they can say or not say and it all of a sudden become static. It's Only when you start looking at what they call the thinktank community when you say we're coming here to express diverse views on policy and ideas."

And why now? "Look at US Policy, it's shifting now, because our neighborhood has shifted and has changed 2622 so now the policy experts are looking at talking with each other where our country should go toward 2632 that's why they're coming now," he said.

And while there will be an opportunity for people to raise questions during the roundtable and a press conference was held in advance, no media will be allowed at the actual event. GUASA members says this is at the request of the speakers adding they don't want statements used for political gain or taken out of context. The two-day conference is September 5 and 6 at the Hyatt Regency Guam. 

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