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U.S. Diplomacy and Security in Korea 2021


Former Ambassador and Admiral Harry Harris, UNC/CFC/USFK Commander General Robert Abrams, Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift will sit down with Korea Society Board Director and former UNC/CFC/USFK Commander General Walter “Skip” Sharp for a discussion exploring Northeast Asia geopolitical and Korean Peninsula security and diplomatic opportunities and challenges from the perspectives of the longstanding ROK - U.S. Alliance. Featuring introductory remarks by Young Woon Kong, President of the Strategic Planning Division of Hyundai Motor Group. Limited in-person audience by invitation, and live webcast.

The Korea Society is grateful to Premium Sponsor Hyundai Motor Company for its generous support of The Inaugural Van Fleet Policy Signature Event.


U.S. Diplomacy and Security in Korea 2021
Korea Society Inaugural Van Fleet Policy Signature Event

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 | 2:30 PM

The Korea Society
350 Madison Avenue, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10017



Robert B. "Abe" Abrams

Retired from active duty on 31 August 2021 with over 39 years of service. An Armored Cavalryman, General Abrams earned his commission from the United States Military Academy in 1982. Following the Armor officer basic course, he spent his formative years in a Division Cavalry Squadron with a mission on the East-West German border. He commanded at every level, and led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. General Abrams has extensive combined and joint operations experience. He also commanded the Army’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. His joint experience includes serving as a strategic war planner for the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as the Director of the Joint Center of Excellence for Improvised Explosive Defeat. General Abrams also served as the Senior Military Assistant to the 24 th Secretary of Defense. As a four-star General for over 6 years, General Abrams served as the 22d Commander of United States Army Forces Command, the Army’s largest formation comprised of over 229,000 active duty Soldiers, and provided training and readiness oversight of the US Army National Guard and US Army Reserve. In total the Forces Command team included 776,000 soldiers and 96,000 Civilians. General Abrams most recently served as the Commander United Nations Command, US-ROK Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea. General Abrams holds a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy, a Master of Science from Central Michigan University, a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and has attended a wide variety of military schools. General Abrams received numerous awards and decorations over his 39 year career including the Order of National Security Merit-Tongil Medal presented by the President of the Republic of Korea. In 2020 GEN Abrams was named the Honorary ROCK of the year by ROCKS. He is the founder and CEO of Robert B. “Abe” Abrams, LLC specializing in consulting and advisory work. Happily married, he and his wife are proud parents of two children, and grandparents to two grandchildren. Abe is a functional fitness enthusiast who also enjoys golf, follows college basketball closely and gets March Madness annually. He remains an ever-optimistic fan of the Washington Football Team and Army Football.


Harry Harris

Admiral (Ret.) Harry Harris was nominated by President Trump on May 23 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 28, 2021 as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. Harris commanded the U.S. Pacific Command, now known as the Indo-Pacific Command, from May 2015 to May 2018. He is the first Asian-American to hold four-star rank in the U.S. Navy. He also commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Sixth Fleet, and Joint Task Force Guantanamo. From 2011 to 2013, Harris served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s representative to the Secretary of State. In this role, he traveled to over 80 countries with the Secretary and participated in most of the Secretary’s meetings with foreign leaders. He was also designated as the U.S. Roadmap Monitor for the Mid-East Peace Process (Oslo Accords). Harris’ personal decorations include the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the CIA’s Agency Seal Medal and Ambassador’s Award, and numerous DoD and Navy awards. He received South Korea’s Tong-il Order of National Security Merit in 2014 and the Gwanghwa Order of Diplomatic Service Merit in 2021. A 1978 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he holds master’s degrees from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Council of American Ambassadors.


Young Woon Kong

Young Woon Kong began his career at Hyundai Motor Group in 2005 and has served as President of the Strategic Planning Division since December 2018. In this role, he oversees Hyundai Motor Group’s global government affairs, public relations and legal departments. As head of the Group’s government affairs operations, President Kong directs public policy initiatives in key markets around the world – including Brussels, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Seoul and Washington, D.C. President Kong was honored to serve as a Visiting Researcher at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in 2005. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Seoul National University in 1989.


Walter L. Sharp

General Walter “Skip” Sharp was born in Morgantown, West Virginia while his father was fighting in the Korean War. He graduated from West Point in 1974 and has a M.S. degree in operations research and system analysis from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. General Sharp commanded the United Nations Command, Republic of Korea-United States Combined Forces Command and United States Forces Korea from 2008 to 2011. He also commanded troops in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Uphold Democracy in Haiti and the Multinational Division (North) of the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia. General and Mrs. Sharp live in the Washington, D.C. area. He is the Chairman of BOD for the Military Officers Association of America and is a Director on The Korea Society BOD. He also consults for and is on the BODs of several U.S. companies. General Sharp is involved in Northeast Asia and Korea strategy and policy discussions at several Washington, D.C. area Think Tanks.


Scott Swift

Admiral Swift served in the U.S. Navy for more than 40 years, rising from his commission through the Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate program to become a Navy light attack and strike fighter pilot. He commanded at all levels including F/A-18 weapons school, aircraft carrier-based squadrons, Carrier Air Wing, Carrier Strike Group and the U.S. Seventh Fleet forward deployed to Japan, finally completing his uniformed career as the 35th Commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet in 2018. During his years of service, he participated in combat Operations Praying Mantis, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and received a master’s degree from the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and the U.S. Naval War College. As founder of The Swift Group LLC, previous MIT Center for International Studies Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow, MIT Research Affiliate, Senior Fellow at the Center for Naval Analysis, Adjunct Professor at the Naval War College, US Naval Institute Board Member and Spirit of America Advisory Board Member, Admiral Swift continues to explore opportunities to serve where his interests, abilities, experience and national need align.