Retired U.S. Army lieutenant general will discuss U.S.-China relations

China’s rivalry with the United States — military, security, economic, cyber and technological — will take center stage as the 2021 Peace and War Virtual Summit starts Wednesday.

The seven-week summit, presented by Norwich University’s John and Mary Frances Patton Peace and War Center, includes virtual lectures and discussions by guest speakers and Norwich faculty. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Charles W. Hooper, a renowned U.S.-China relations expert, will deliver the summit-starting keynote address.

Except for Hooper’s prerecorded remarks, set to livestream at 9 a.m. Wednesday, all featured addresses will include question-and-answer sessions. See the full schedule and details here.

The seven-week summit, presented by Norwich University’s John and Mary Frances Patton Peace and War Center, includes virtual lectures and discussions by guest speakers and Norwich faculty.

In a summit-introducing video, Norwich University President Mark C. Anarumo said globally ascending China has reached a crossroads with the United States, leaving potential for conflict and collaboration.

The summit will focus on three areas: Economic Zone (EEZ)/maritime disputes in the South/East China Seas; Taiwan-North Korea conflicts; and relentless cyberattacks; U.S.-China trade conflicts; and shared responsibility for managing climate change, financial instability, the war on terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

As detailed in his Defense Department biographical webpage, Hooper, a 41-year Army veteran, focused much of his career on Indo-Pacific region U.S. policy, specifically the bilateral U.S.-China relationship, before retiring in June.

hooper in china 2008 min
Charles W. Hooper, then a U.S. Army brigadier general and U.S. defense attaché, joined Guan Youfei, deputy director for the Chinese Ministry of Defense’s foreign affairs office, to watch U.S. airmen unload relief supplies at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in China on May 18, 2008. (Photo by Tech. Sgt. Chris Vadnais/U.S. Air Force.)

Hooper, who like Anarumo hails from New Jersey, is the former director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a 20,000 person self-funding public enterprise generating more than $50 billion in annual revenue. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University.

Hooper completed two attaché assignments lasting a collective seven years in Beijing. He also served as the senior country director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and taught Chinese foreign policy to rising U.S. military leaders at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Hooper is now senior counselor for the Cohen Group, a Washington, D.C., advisory agency providing business development, regulatory affairs, deal sourcing and capital-raising advice and assistance to corporate leaders.

Hooper’s Defense Department page said he in 1975 became one of the first West Point cadets to study Mandarin Chinese; he remains fluent. Hooper’s National Bureau of Asian Research webpage details his command and staff assignments in the U.S. Army Armor Center, the 25th Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, and the U.S. Army Recruiting Command. 

Legacy of accomplishment

At Hooper’s physically distanced Washington, D.C. retirement ceremony, U.S. Army Gen. James C. McConville described Hooper as one of the Army’s most accomplished foreign area officers ever.

“We draw our greatest strengths as a fighting force from our relationships with our allies and partners,” McConville said. “They are caretakers of those relationships, they live in those countries, they speak the language, they’re experts in history, culture and foreign relationships.

hooper vets day
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Charles W. Hooper speaks at a Veterans Day demonstration at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 2019. (Photo by U.S. Army.)

“Hoop developed a community with the Army that is so successful that it has served as a model for our sister services’ development of their own area officer professionals.”

In an August interview with Defense News, Hooper discussed technology’s importance in maintaining those foreign-nation ties. This is particularly true, he said, with China, and Russia becoming near-peer challengers to the United States as an exporter of arms, especially drones.

“We cannot afford to have delays in when we introduce new technology and when we consider exporting them,” he said. “There are inherent challenges here, between conducting the cost-benefit analysis of risk versus gain, but we have the talent and the ability to rapidly assess these, and to … provide our partners their defense articles and services that they want and that they need, and that will make them better allies and partners for the United States.”

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