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Authored by Thomas M. Molino.
n November 1998, Science Applications International Corporation's (SAIC) Center for Global Security and Cooperation, in conjunction with the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), cosponsored its first Asia security conference at the NPS in Monterey, California. Entitled the Annual Conference on Pacific Security Today, the conference sought to focus on Asia-Pacific security issues by opening a dialogue among government policymakers, scholars, and military leaders. The cosponsors of the Annual Conference on Pacific Security Today placed a high emphasis on dialogue and an open exchange of ideas at this initial meeting, with the objective of increasing understanding of the challenges facing participants in the upcoming Asian Century. The Asia-Pacific region is endowed with a wide variety of unique cultures, diverse languages, multifaceted religions, and complex political systems. Each of these elements has an impact on foreign and security relations in the region, thereby underscoring the need to use open dialogue as a tool for assessing and addressing the intricacies of Asia-Pacific security issues. The cosponsors believe that the conference achieved its intended objectives. Most importantly, it opened channels of communication for the exchange of ideas and viewpoints that can help those involved in the Asia-Pacific security arena more fully understand the complex issues before them. Furthermore, this conference set the foundation for future meetings, which will tackle such topical issues as the aftermath of the Asian economic crisis and U.S.-Chinese cooperation in the Pacific. Future conferences will also include additional representatives from the Pacific Rim.