Rob York


Rob YORK is Program Director for Regional Affairs at Pacific Forum. He is responsible for editing Pacific Forum publications, including the weekly PacNet series, the triannual Comparative Connections journal, and the in-depth Issue & Insights series. Prior to joining Pacific Forum, Rob worked as a production editor at The South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. A PhD candidate in Korean history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Rob has established himself as a commentator on inter-Korean and Hong Kong affairs, as a regular contributor to NK News and The Daily NK and having been published at The South China Morning Post, War on the Rocks, the Foundation for Economic Education, Korean Studies, and The Journal of American-East Asian Relations, as well as conducting numerous interviews in various media outlets. His research agenda at Pacific Forum includes trade and its relationship with security, media analysis, countering disinformation, and human rights.

Robert P. Girrier

Robert GIRRIER (RADM USN Ret.) is former President of the Pacific Forum. He currently sits as member of the Forum’s Board of Directors.

A naval leader with over thirty years’ maritime experience and extensive operations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific, Europe and Middle East, he commanded two carrier strike groups, a destroyer squadron, destroyer, and a mine countermeasures ship. His operational assignments culminated as Deputy Commander Pacific Fleet and as the Director of Operations for U.S. Pacific Command. Efforts focused on directing theater-wide operations and day-to-day engagement; building high-level allied and partner relationships & capacity; developing strategy, planning for contingencies and executing crisis response. He led the stand-up of the Navy Staff’s first-ever office of Unmanned Warfare Systems. In that position he built organizational momentum and made value case for unmanned & manned systems working in collaboration – and more capably – across increasingly connected environments.

David Santoro

David SANTORO is President of the Pacific Forum. He specializes in strategic deterrence, arms control, and nonproliferation. Santoro’s current interests focus on great-power dynamics and US alliances, particularly the role of China in an era of nuclear multipolarity. His new volume U.S.-China Nuclear Relations – The Impact of Strategic Triangles was published by Lynne Rienner in May 2021. Santoro also leads several of the Forum’s track-1.5 and track-2 strategic dialogues.

Before joining the Pacific Forum, Santoro worked on nuclear policy issues in France, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In the spring of 2010, he was also a Visiting Fellow at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and, in 2010-2011, he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Santoro is co-editor, with Tanya Ogilvie-White, of Slaying the Nuclear Dragon (University of Georgia Press, 2012) and author of Treating Weapons Proliferation (Palgrave, 2010). His essays have been published in several foreign policy monograph series and journals, including The Nonproliferation Review, Proliferation Papers, Survival, and The Washington Quarterly, and his op-eds have appeared in The Bangkok Post, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Japan Times, PacNet, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. 

Carl W. Baker


Carl Baker is a senior advisor for Pacific Forum. He previously served as the organization’s Executive Director. He is a member of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific (CSCAP) and engaged in promoting security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region as a participant in several CSCAP Study Groups. Current focus areas include preventive diplomacy, multilateral security architecture, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear security. Previously, he was on the faculty at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies and an adjunct professor at Hawaii Pacific University. Publications include articles and book chapters on U.S. alliances and political developments in South Korea and the Philippines. A retired U.S. Air Force officer, he has extensive experience in Korea, having served as an international political-military affairs officer for the UN Military Armistice Commission and as a political and economic intelligence analyst for U.S. Forces Korea. He has also lived for extended periods and served in a variety of military staff assignments in Japan, the Philippines, and Guam. A graduate of the U.S. Air War College, he also holds an M.A. in public administration from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Iowa.

Ralph A. Cossa


Ralph COSSA has been with the Pacific Forum since 1993, first as Executive Director, then (2021-2018) as President, and now as President Emeritus and WSD-Handa Chair in Peace Studies. He is a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum’s Experts and Eminent Persons Group and a founding member of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific’s Steering Committee. Mr. Cossa is a political/military affairs and national security specialist with more than 50 years of experience in formulating, articulating, and implementing US security policy in the Asia-Pacific and Near East–South Asia regions. Mr. Cossa served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1993, achieving the rank of colonel and last serving as special assistant to the commander of the US Pacific Command. He previously served as Deputy Director for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies and earlier as a national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. 

Mr. Cossa holds an MBA from Pepperdine University, an M.S. in strategic studies from the Defense Intelligence College, and a B.A. in international relations from Syracuse University. He also received an honorary PhD in international relations from the University of Cambodia.