On October 17, the WH announced the President’s intent to nominate Air Force veteran David Stilwell to be the next Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP). The WH released the following brief bio:
David Stilwell of Hawaii, to be an Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State.
Mr. Stilwell is an Air Force veteran with more than 35 years of experience as a pilot, commander, and Korean linguist. He retired in 2015 with the rank of Brigadier General. Currently, Mr. Stilwell is the Director of the China Strategic Focus Group at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Previously, he served as Staff Officer for Joint Staff Plans and Policy (Asia) at the Pentagon and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Mr. Stillwell earned his B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and M.A. degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, U.S. Air Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He is the recipient of the Department of Defense Superior Service Award and speaks Korean, Chinese, and limited Japanese.
In December 2017, WH nominated career diplomat Susan Thorton to be A/S for EAP (see Career Diplomat Susan A. Thornton to be Asst Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP)). Her nomination became one more casualty of politics, particularly following the departure of former Secretary Tillerson. In July this year, she announced her retirement after a 27-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service (see Former State Department diplomat settles on historic Maine farm).
If confirmed, General Stilwell would succeed Daniel R. Russel who served from 2013 to 2017. Other prior appointees to this position include Winston Lord (1993–1997); Paul D. Wolfowitz (1982–1986); Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke (1977–1981); William Averell Harriman (1961–1963), and David Dean Rusk (1950–1951) to name a few.
Brigadier General David Stilwell, who reportedly views China as a strategic competitor of the U.S., is considered to be the likely replacement for outgoing Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton. https://t.co/SQ0wsD1tZj
— Taiwan Security Research 臺灣安全研究 (@taiwan_security) July 21, 2018
The nomination of an ex-Air Force General to be the next Assistant Secretary for EAP at State is a triple slap: first, Susan Thornton was qualified; second, it is another non-career pick; third, it militarizes diplomacy further. “Swagger,” my ass @SecPompeo
— james gibney (@jamesgibney) October 17, 2018