East-West Center Alum David Stilwell Confirmed as Top U.S. Diplomat for Asia Pacific


HONOLULU (June 13, 2019) -- East-West Center alumnus David R. Stilwell was confirmed by 94-3 vote of the U.S. Senate today as the new U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Stilwell, a retired Air Force Brigadier General, received his master’s degree in Asian studies as an EWC grantee in the 1980s and later was an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Center.

David Stilwell nomination voteStilwell retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2015 at the rank of Brigadier General.  Before retiring, he served as Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs for Asia, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. where he was responsible for regional planning and policy, and for the implementation of the national security strategy, supporting the commanders of U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Central Command. Additionally, he provided politico-military advice to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense. Prior to that he served as Defense Attaché to the People’s Republic of China (2011-13). From 2008-2010, he served as Commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan, where he enacted national strategy in the region as an F-16 pilot and operational commander.  

General Stilwell entered the Air Force in 1980 as a Korean linguist. After a tour of duty in Korea, he attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, graduating in 1987 with a degree in Asian history. He then attended the University of Hawaii as an East-West Center participant, earning a Master's degree in Asian Studies and Chinese language in 1988.  He is proficient in Chinese and Korean and has limited capability in Japanese.