The Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies recently concluded its Indo-Pacific Orientation Course (IPOC) 23-3, from Nov. 13-17. This event marked a milestone in the center’s history as its largest in-person course, with 157 Fellows participating. Holding the course entirely in person, moving away from previous virtual formats due to COVID-19, contributed to this record attendance.
The course included a diverse group of 55 women and 102 men, reflecting 35% female participation. According to course manager Dr. Bill Wieninger, this gender ratio demonstrates the course’s robust and inclusive nature. Participants hailed from 11 countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Korea, New Zealand, Japan, France, and Canada. This diversity fostered rich discussions on regional security challenges.
Significant structural changes were implemented in this iteration of the IPOC to enhance the learning experience. A key innovation was the introduction of inter-agency working groups. Participants could select from six security topics: Taiwan, the South China Sea, building partnerships and allies, climate change, and governance. The most popular choice was “strengthening bilateral and multilateral alliances,” underscoring the growing emphasis on international defense collaboration.
“People coming to our course recognize the importance of defense partnerships,” Wieninger said. “Integrated deterrence involves interagency and international collaboration with partners and allies. This shows our defense community values these aspects highly.”
To allow for deeper content engagement, course managers reduced seminar time. They introduced advanced and introductory electives, catering to varying participant knowledge levels. Wieninger noted the importance of an engaging learning environment and highlighted increased diverse engagement in plenary sessions. The course’s lively and interactive approach was well-received, contributing to a dynamic and enjoyable atmosphere.