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Nobody Asked Me But…Dispatch a U.S. Naval Attaché to Vietnam

By Lieutenant Commander Dan Shanower, U.S. Navy

It is clear that under present conditions the Vietnamese government may be quite receptive to U.S. naval representation in-country. Similarly, our own national interests also make this the right time to nominate a Naval Attaché to Vietnam. The first order of business would be to build trust between the U.S. mission, the Vietnamese Navy, and appropriate civilian ministries. The attaché also would be helpful in ensuring that the interests of Americans involved in maritime exploration and offshore development were protected.

Finally, while the relationship matures slowly, near-term port calls by U.S. Seventh Fleet ships could quickly cement the bonds of friendship as Vietnamese naval officers and other government officials tour U.S. Navy ships and receive the customary briefings and ballcaps. In an era of fiscal restraint and diminished operating funds, there also is value in exploring aircraft and ship refueling agreements, and as we begin the next century, small-scale passing exercises and crew exchanges may be possible. The first step, however, is securing full-time representation of the U.S. Navy in Hanoi.

Lieutenant Commander Shanower is a naval intelligence officer assigned to the Joint Intelligence Center at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan. 


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