What is the nature of the Kim Family Regime and why is it important to the United States? There are five major issues surrounding Korea: war, instability, and regime collapse, human rights, proliferation and global illicit activities, and unification. South Korea and the US remain blood allies but there is always friction within the alliance that must be managed. While North Korea is an existential threat to South Korea it is in the US national interest to prevent conflict, and if it (or regime collapse) occurs to ensure that what follows is a secure, stable, economically vibrant, non-nuclear peninsula unified under a liberal constitutional form of government that might be called the United Republic of Korea.
David Maxwell, Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
David Maxwell is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is a 30-year veteran of the United States Army, retiring in 2011 as a Special Forces Colonel with his final assignment serving on the military faculty teaching national security strategy at the National War College.
He has served in various command and staff assignments in the Infantry in Germany and Korea as well as in Special Forces at Ft. Lewis, Washington; Seoul, Korea; Okinawa, Japan; and the Philippines, with total service in Asia of more than 20 years. He served on the United Nations Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea CJ3 staff where he was a planner for UNC/CFC OPLAN 5027-98 and co-author of the original ROK JCS – UNC/CFC CONPLAN 5029-99 (North Korean Instability and Collapse) and later served as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategy (J5) and the Chief of Staff for Special Operations Command Korea (SOCKOR). From 2000 to 2002 he commanded 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Okinawa, Japan. He has been the G3 and Chief of Staff of the US Army Special Operations Command. He commanded the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in 2006-2007. Following retirement from the Army he served as Associate Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University from 2011 through 2017.
He is a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies (ICAS) and on the Board of Advisors for Spirit of America. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), the International Council of Korean Studies (ICKS), the Council of US Korean Security Studies (CUSKOSS), the Special Operations Research Association, the Small Wars Journal, and the OSS Society. He teaches “Unconventional Warfare and Special Operations for Policy Makers and Strategists.”
He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and holds MMAS degrees from the US Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies and an MS degree in National Security Studies from the National War College of the National Defense University.