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AFCLC Faculty Tackles Indo-Pacific Basing with Research Task Force

  • Published
  • By Mikala McCurry, AFCLC Outreach Team

Dr. Jessica Jordan, the Air Force Culture and Language Center’s Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Asia), is accelerating learning for Airmen and Guardians by facilitating a two-term research elective to explore military basing in the Indo-Pacific Region from August 2021 until February 2022.

Students from Air Command and Staff College and Air War College were selected through a competitive application process to partake in this yearlong exploration focused on answering the following research question regarding basing in the Indo-Pacific region, which was provided by the Strategic Planning and Policy Division of US INDOPACOM:

 Considering the 2030 threat environment in the Indo-Pacific, how must current concepts of basing change, and what factors must future base defense concepts address?

“Students will be expected to draw upon the historical, regional and geopolitical context to think through enabling and constraining factors related to capabilities so requirements for training and further experimentation will come into clearer focus,” Dr. Jordan said.

During this RTF, students will provide feedback to the USINDOPACOM strategy division through their end-of-course products. These products also have the opportunity to be published in academic journals, such as Air University’s Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs.

“Initial class meetings will examine factors relevant to understanding INDOPACOM as a region. The main section of the course considers Indo-Pacific examples of issues common to overseas U.S. military installations,” Dr. Jordan said. “Among other topics, we will consider the most common complaints fueling discontent among host national populations in a comparative frame to make sense of systemic dilemmas facing the U.S. presence.”

When developing this project, Dr. Jordan solicited the help of Air University librarian and AWC Liaison Vicki Watkins and the Air University Library team, who created a research guide focused on the Indo-Pacific Region for this course. Execution of the guide was supported by AU Library director Alisha Miles and assistant director Deborah Barone along with Bruce Cathey, who spearheaded an in-depth review of the guide prior to publishing. The Indo-Pacific Research Guide is available to the public here:

The guide presents the issues and concerns associated with U.S. military bases in foreign countries. Watkins and the Library team also developed a research database to which students in this course could subscribe. Miles and Barone both assisted in securing the database trial for the Ebsco Political Science Complete database selected for this course.

“These guides are developed using Springshare's Libguide, a web content management system, so it’s very easy to build a guide,” Watkins said. “As I receive requests for these guides, I develop them as part of my regular work.”

The guides include key terms and links to relevant Air University research, related books and documents, websites, journals and articles, databases and other electronic resources.

“This research guide is not a comprehensive listing of sources but is intended to be a starting point from which students can begin their research according to their specific needs,” Watkins said. “This saves the student time, so they are not starting from scratch. They can work off these subject guides to complete their research for their course or project.”

In addition to Dr. Jordan and Vicki Watkins, the team supporting the RTF includes Primary Consulting Scholar Dr. Ernest Gunasekara-Rockwell, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs; AU Supporting Scholars Dr. Amit Gupta, associate professor of International Security Studies; and Dr. Jared McKinney, chair of Strategy and Security Studies. The RTF is also supported by external experts Dr. Allen Hjelmfelt, Center for Naval Analysis Representative to INDOPACOM; Dr. Donovan C. Chau, adjunct faculty, Reubin O’D. Askew Department of Government; and Maj. Adam J. Kurzen, who is the INDOPACOM J5 point of contact.


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