Amidst COVID-19 and its fallout, policymakers are confronted with newly emergent issues alongside preexisting ones. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Korean Peninsula.
As the pandemic spreads, US-DPRK talks remain stalled, inter-Korean relations persist as mostly one-sided, and North Korea has continued to test and refine its military capabilities as well as ratchet up its rhetoric. Furthermore, COVID-19 has intensified a growing US-China strategic competition, competition which enhances the importance of democratic allies such as South Korea.
The Stimson Center and Stimson’s 38 North program, working with the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, presents a webinar to discuss the importance of the US commitment to the Korean Peninsula. Moderated by Dr. Clint Work, a Stimson Fellow, the webinar offers a virtual conversation with featured speakers, Gen. (Ret.) Vincent K. Brooks, former Commander, US Forces Korea (2016-2018), and Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, associate professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a Faculty Fellow for the Clements Center for National Security.
The webinar will offer informed commentary and engage audience members on the importance of the US relationship with the Korean Peninsula and the region as a whole. From a decades-old military alliance to deep economic ties and a large and vibrant Korean-American community, the linkages between the United States and Korea remain as important as ever.
General (Ret.) Vincent K. Brooks, President, Korea Defense Veterans Association (KDVA): Gen. Brooks is a career Army officer who recently retired from active duty as the four-star general in command of all US Forces in Korea, where he concurrently commanded United Nations Command as well as the Republic of Korea—US Combined Forces Command comprising over 650,000 Koreans and Americans under arms from 2016-2018. In 2003, while serving in the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, Brooks was chosen to serve as the deputy director of operations and primary spokesperson for the America's fighting force in the Middle East and Central Asia, the United States Central Command as it conducted combat operations against Iraq. Brooks also served as the commander for the US Third Army, the US Army portion of Central Command from 2011 to 2013, critical times in the reduction of forces in Iraq, the increase of forces in Afghanistan, the "Arab Spring," and the standoff against Iran. Highly experienced in command of increasingly larger and more complex organizations over his forty-two years of service spent mostly in leadership roles, Brooks led in assignments completed with the 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, the 2nd Infantry Division, the 3rd Infantry Division, the Third Corps, the Third Army, and the US Army in the Pacific. In his final assignment in South Korea, he served both the President of the United States and the President of the Republic of Korea. He also served at the Pentagon with both the Army headquarters as well as with the Joint Staff overseeing all the US military operations around the world. He is the President of the Korea Defense Veterans Association (KDVA).
Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT-Austin: Sheena Chestnut Greitens is associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT-Austin, where she is affiliated with both the Clements Center for National Security and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Her work focuses on American national security, East Asia, and authoritarian politics and foreign policy. Her first book, Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence (Cambridge, 2016) received the 2017 Best Book Award from both the International Studies Association and the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association. She has previously testified to Congress on security issues in the Indo-Pacific, and technological surveillance in China. Greitens previously served as assistant professor at the University of Missouri (2015-2020) and First Lady of Missouri (2017-18), where she helped lead the state's trade mission to South Korea and China. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University; an M.Phil from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar; and a B.A. from Stanford University.
Dr. Clint Work: Clint is jointly appointed to Stimson’s Security for a New Century program and 38 North. Prior to joining Stimson, he was an assistant professor at the University of Utah’s Asia Campus in South Korea and the regular foreign policy writer for The Diplomat Magazine’s Koreas page. He holds a Doctorate in International Studies from the University of Washington and a Master’s in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and his work focuses on the Korean Peninsula, US-Korean relations, East Asia, and US foreign policy. In addition to his academic publications, he has written for popular media, including the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, National Interest, Diplomat Magazine, 38 North, and Sino-NK. He has presented on US-Korea relations in both academic and public fora as well as briefed congressional staff on a bipartisan basis.