WASHINGTON, November 22, 2010 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is pleased to announce the launch of a new initiative, the U.S.-ASEAN Strategy Commission. The high-level American initiative underlines growing recognition that Southeast Asia is vital to U.S. national security and economic interests and seeks to provide inputs for a long term US strategy for the region.

Co-chaired Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg, Chairman of the C.V. Starr Company and former Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator William S. Cohen, the commission will bring together thought leaders including top executives from American companies, former government officials, and civil society leaders.  The initiative will include an extensive review of American interests in Southeast Asia ranging from security and political to trade and investment to social cultural and people to people ties and then present a set of recommendations representing key elements of a long-term US strategy for Southeast Asia to the President and the Congress. 

The Commission will present its recommendations ahead of the U.S. hosting Asia’s leaders in Hawaii in November 2011 for the APEC Leaders’ Summit. CSIS Senior Adviser & Director of the Southeast Asia program Ernest Bower will direct the commission’s work.

“Southeast Asia is a very important part of the world for the United States. Stronger, more sustained American engagement in the region can lead to a stronger American economy and greater opportunity on both sides of the Pacific,” said Maurice Greenberg, one of America’s most experienced and Asia savvy chief executive officers. 

“We are getting a lot of things right in Southeast Asia,” said Secretary William Cohen, “but we need to take the extra step of truly understanding what the region means to the United States to and then connecting the dots in order to develop and communicate an enduring strategy for American engagement in the region. This Commission is setting about to help in that regard.”

“We are grateful to Hank Greenberg and to Secretary Cohen for their leadership in helping us to identify an important issue at a key moment,” said John Hamre, President and CEO of CSIS.  “With their fellow commissioners, their business and government know-how, their years of experience with the issues and people in Southeast Asia, and their enduring commitment to make America a stronger nation, we expect they will make an important and well timed contribution.”

The Commission is non-partisan and will engage a wide range of US and Asian experts, including a high level visit for consultations with Southeast Asian leaders and counterparts.  The commissioners are:

  • Mr. Richard Armitage, President, Armitage International
  • Mr. James Blackwell, President for Asia Pacific, Chevron
  • Mrs. Carla A. Hills, Chair and CEO, Hills and Company
  • Mr. George David, Chairman, United Technologies Corporation
  • Mrs. Henrietta Holsman-Fore, Chairman and CEO, Holsman International
  • Mr. Manolo Arroyo, President - ASEAN, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Admiral Timothy Keating, former PACOM Commander
  • Mr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO, Special Olympics
  • Mr. Edward Tortorici, Vice Chairman, First Pacific Corporation
  • Mr. Keith Williams, CEO, Underwriters Laboratories

For more information on the CSIS U.S.-ASEAN Strategy Commission, please contact Neal Urwitz at nurwitz@csis.org or (202) 775 3167.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to advance global security and prosperity by providing strategic insights and practical policy solutions to decision-makers.