William M. Wise

William M. Wise, MA

Practitioner-in-Residence, Southeast Asia Studies Program
Southeast Asia Studies

Rome 621


  • Intelligence
  • Strategic and Security Issues
  • Terrorism
  • International Relations

Background and Education

Former deputy national security adviser to the vice president, chief of Policy at the US Pacific Command, and deputy director for Policy Planning (East Asia and Pacific) in the Office of the US Secretary of Defense, Colonel, USAF (Ret.); also held various positions in the US intelligence community; retired US Air Force colonel; adviser to the Hart-Rudman Commission on National Security in the 21st Century, the National Commission on Terrorism and the Deutch Commission on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; president of The Sorrento Group, a defense and foreign affairs consulting firm; MA, American studies, University of Hawaii

2015-03-27 00:00:00 
Spring 2017 
This is a new c...

This is a new course designed to study Asia from a different perspective. Typically, scholars look at the internal and external dynamics of Asian politics, economy and security from land, with the state as the center of inquiry. This course, developed with the advice and assistance of RADM (Ret.) Michael McDevitt, Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis, examines Asia from the vantage point of the surrounding seas. The role of the state is important, but maritime geography is the center of inquiry in this course. The rapid growth of seaborne international trade, discovery of undersea mineral resources and increasing value of depleted fish stocks, and emergence of territorial disputes involving maritime spaces has raised the strategic importance of the world’s oceans and seas. More than half the world’s maritime area is located in Asia.

The course will:

  • Provide an introduction to “maritime geography”
  • Describe and compare the political, economic and security interests of the stakeholders in the major maritime areas of Asia: Sea of Japan, East China and Yellow Seas, South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea
  • Apprise the policies of each stakeholder, including the U.S., in protecting and enhancing interests in Asia maritime areas
  • Examine the key issues involved with each of the five potential Asia maritime flashpoints that could lead to armed conflict
  • Conclude with an in-class exercise and discussion of the Trump administration’s prospective plans and policy in Maritime Asia

The Maritime Asia course is taught by Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt, US Navy (ret), William M. Wise, MA, and Dr. Marvin C. Ott, PhD.

01-30-2017 to 05-06-2017 | W 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM

Spring 2017 
Myanmar (Burma)...

Myanmar (Burma) is in the process of a challenging transition—from a centralized, authoritarian, military-run political system to a pluralistic “disciplined-flourishing democracy;” from a socialist, then dirigiste economy to one more market oriented and open to foreign investment; from a society characterized by personalized power to institutional norms; from centralized media and social control to one more open; from a single dominant ethnic group to a more multicultural system; and from a skewed foreign policy to a more balanced approach to international affairs. This attempt at transition, in less than half a decade, is virtually unprecedented in Asia. Such a complex set of changes is difficult, inviting a clash of vested interests, historical memories, foreign pressures, and advocacy and resulting in asynchronous growth and change. Myanmar/Burma: Challenges of Transition explores the nature of these challenges, their likely trajectories, the roles of foreign pressures and planning, and the lessons that might be drawn from such a complex process.

The course objectives are:

  1. To understand the internal and external dynamics of political, socio-economic, and security change in a Southeast Asian democratizing state.

  2. To examine the nature, process, and inherent difficulties of Myanmar/Burma’s democratic transition.

  3. To research and write an original paper on the challenges of transition in Myanmar of sufficient quality to merit submission to an academic journal. The course will be taught by a team of specialists on Myanmar.

*This is a cross-listed course that can fulfill a requirement for International Development and Conflict Management.

01-30-2017 to 05-06-2017 | M 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM