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PacNote #4 – Announcing David Santoro as Pacific Forum’s Next President

The Pacific Forum is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. David Santoro as its incoming President. As Pacific Forum’s current Vice President and Director for Nuclear Policy, David brings a wealth of expertise and experience in foreign and national security policy analysis and program management.

David joined Pacific Forum in 2011 and has since managed several of the Forum’s track-2 and track-1.5 dialogues, notably those on strategic and nuclear policy issues. He has also written extensively on these issues. He is the author of Treating Weapons Proliferation (Palgrave, 2010) and co-editor of Slaying the Nuclear Dragon: Disarmament Dynamics in the Twenty-First Century (University of Georgia Press, 2012), and he has a forthcoming volume on US-China Nuclear Relations: The Impact of Strategic Triangles (2021). His current research focuses on strategic competition with China, nuclear policy issues, and US alliances and partnerships.

David will take the helm in June, succeeding Robert “Bob” Girrier (RADM, USN, ret.), who served as president from June 2018. Following over 30 years of maritime experience, Bob is credited with leading the Pacific Forum through its transition to operations as a completely independent corporate entity and a period characterized by steady program growth. Bob will remain involved with the Forum as a member of its board of directors.

In addition to Bob, David will be following in the footsteps of the late RADM Lloyd R. “Joe” Vasey (USN, ret), the Forum’s founder and inspiration, as well as Joe’s successors: Dr. Amos “Joe” Jordan, James Kelly, and Ralph Cossa.

“We’ve experienced growth over these last three years, despite the challenges of COVID-19, and with David’s experience and reputation, both at the Forum and throughout the region, we’re set up for continued success,” Bob noted, adding that “Pacific Forum’s recent recognition as one of the Top Think Tanks in 2020 (worldwide) is indicative of the trajectory we’re on.”

“I’m thrilled and honored to take over the leadership of the Pacific Forum and to work together with its team to further advance analysis of Indo-Pacific strategic dynamics as well as promote dialogue with and among regional states and other key stakeholders,” David said. “I’m also thankful for Bob’s leadership over the past three years.”

The Pacific Forum, founded in 1975, is a private, non-partisan foreign policy research institute governed by a Board of Directors chaired by former Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, with guidance from an International Advisory Board co-chaired by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Assistant Secretary of Defense and noted scholar Dr. Joseph Nye.

The Forum’s programs encompass current and emerging political, security, economic, business, and oceans policy issues. It works to help stimulate cooperative policies through analysis and dialogue undertaken with the Indo-Pacific’s leaders in the academic, government, and corporate areas.

The Forum is guided by Joe Vasey’s vision “to find a better way” to resolve conflict and promote cooperation and mutual understanding throughout the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.