By Capt. Joshua TaftMarch 6, 2018
FORT SHAFTER -- U.S. Army-Pacific is preparing to host its second iteration of the Regional Leader Development Program-Pacific, or RLDP-P.
The program develops Pacific-based mid-level officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians with regional instruction and strategic leadership development to excel in positions of greater responsibility in Pacific-aligned positions.
"Investing in the development of leaders that are agile, adaptive and innovative is a requirement for today's operational environment," said the USARPAC commanding general, Gen. Robert B. Brown. "By providing our Soldiers the education, training and regional experience beyond the institutional military basics, we yield a more strategic, adaptive and professional leader in the future who can win in a complex world."
The program consists of four phases that aim to provide graduates with a comprehensive understanding of strategic regional complexities, familiarization with the Indo-Asia Pacific region diplomacy, and economic and cultural diversity.
The first phase of the course strikes at the very core of talent development. RLDP-P has partnered with both the Office of Economic Manpower Analysis at the U.S. military and the Army G1 Talent Management Task Force to assess its students and provide them with professional feedback that will enhance their military careers.
"Leaders need to know their personal and professional strengths and weaknesses," said Lt. Col. Christopher Bachl, USARPAC's Leader Development Division director, "and by evaluating our students' abilities, we will not only be able to provide them feedback on their strengths and weaknesses, but also direct them to specific career paths and positions based that complement assessed talents."
RLDP-P has also partnered with the East-West Center in Manoa, Hawaii, to provide tailored leadership instruction geared toward the Pacific area of responsibility (AOR).� The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the U.S., Asia and the Pacific through cooperative study, research and dialogue.
RLDP-P students this year will partake in strategic leadership electives at the East-West Center to refine their expertise on contemporary issues confronting nations in Indo-Asia Pacific.
Phase II of RLDP-P includes two elective classes from the Command and Staff Officer Course in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Military Power in U.S. Pacific Command and Asia-Pacific Strategic Studies.
"Military Power in USPACOM is designed to improve student awareness and knowledge of the actual and relative military strength of nations in the Indo-Asia Pacific," said Lt. Col. Ted Johnson, the course instructor.
"While the primary focus of this seminar is Military Power in the USPACOM AOR, it also seeks to improve student knowledge of the Indo-Asia-Pacific and its diverse geography, military history, ongoing and potential crisis area, and the strategies and military capabilities of selected key regional nations."
Asia-Pacific Studies is designed to improve student awareness and knowledge of the region and its diverse geography, cultures, economies and political systems, and it examines U.S. interests and objectives, country-to-country, and regional relationships, and U.S. policies and programs in the Asia-Pacific.
Together, these courses combine to present an all-encompassing survey of the Asia-Pacific Region and are designed to give students an understanding of and appreciation for duty as a PACOM staff officer.
Phase III of the program incorporates an 18-day in-country immersion into three countries in the Indo-Asia Pacific. Students apply their newly acquired strategic understanding of the AOR to exchange ideas with foreign think tanks, defense attaché officers, foreign military officers, state department officials and members of non-governmental organizations.
"Our visit to Timor L'este was one of the most eye-opening experiences I've had in the Army," said Capt. Katherine Taylor of 10th Regional Support Group in Okinawa, Japan, who participated in USARPAC's inaugural RLDP-P last year. "This course allowed me to look at my experience (past and present) with new, enhanced perspective and greater understanding."
This year the RLDP-P is planning on traveling to Australia, Singapore and Vietnam.
RLDP-P's fourth phase is optional for participants, but highly encouraged to promote a career of lifelong learning. Following completion from the first three phases of the RLDP-P, participants are encouraged to personally enroll in a master's education program and continue to study the region through distance learning at a reduced cost with financial assistance from the post-9/11 bill or tuition assistance program.
The RLDP-P has partnered with Webster University to award 15 credits towards a Master of Arts degree in International Relations (a 36-credit program) upon completing Phases I through III.
USARPAC launched the inaugural RLDP-P in August 2017. Forty-one students graduated from the program, including two Airmen, two Sailors, one Marine and one Coast Guardsman. This year the program will also include attendance from international partners.