Young Minds” initiative brings together hand-selected, young officers from the
ROK and U.S. navies and challenges them to develop innovative solutions to
further enhance the ROK-U.S. alliance of the future.
“This initiative will use their talent for the long-term betterment of our alliance, providing recommendations to senior leaders for implementation and execution,” said Capt. Henry S. Kim, chief of staff, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea.
The “Great Young Minds” initiative was inspired by the ROK Minister of National Defense Song, Young-moo, who, after taking office earlier this year, outlined a series of priorities, one of which is to “deepen the ROK-U.S. alliance.”
This new and exciting initiative will provide a forum for bright junior officers to team-build and collaborate, inspiring thoughtfulness, creativity and imagination, Kim said.
“‘Great Young Minds’ is the latest in a series of efforts designed to strengthen the ROK-U.S. Navy partnership. With vital support, great vison and leadership from ROK Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Um, Hyun-seong, and ROK Navy Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Jung, Jin-Sub, we have dramatically increased Navy-to-Navy cooperation since U.S. Naval Forces Korea moved our headquarters from Seoul to Busan last year,” said Kim. “Through more than 30 separate initiatives, we have enhanced the combined readiness of our navies and contributed greatly to our ability to “fight tonight” should the Republic of Korea be threatened.”
“The ROK-U.S. Navy relationship has always been strong, and today we are stronger than ever, but we cannot rest on these recent successes,” said Kim. “As we look to enhance one of history’s most successful alliances, we must think creatively and generate new, fresh ideas to chart the way ahead. The “Great Young Minds” initiative will help us get there: it will empower ROK and U.S. Navy junior officers to directly influence the very alliance that they will someday lead together.”
The first group of participants is nine officers led by Lt. Cmdr. Kim Bo-kyu, ROK Naval Academy graduate from COMROKFLT’s operations coordinate directorate (N52), and Lt. Jin, Asia-Pacific region foreign area officer in CNFK’s combined activities branch (N7) department, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and former flag aide to a U.S. Navy admiral.
Team members include Lt. Kim, Jung-hwan, who graduated second in his class from the ROK Naval Academy and is currently part of COMROKFLT’s manpower directorate; Lt. Heo-Eun-seok, a master’s graduate of the French Naval Academy and current ROK flag aide to CNFK; and Lt. j.g. Son Hae-rim, Officer Candidate School graduate and current first lieutenant onboard ROKS Il-Chun-Bong (LST 688).
Also on the team are graduates from the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy: Lt. Cmdr. Casey Two Bears, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and current Olmsted Scholar at Yonsei University; Lt. Yoo Jin-Hong, main propulsion officer onboard ROKS Incheon (FFG 811); Lt. Jae (John) Lee, Korean-American presently serving in the CNFK planning directorate (N5); and Lt. j.g Polly Kisin from CNFK’s intelligence directorate who has her master’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.
“These ROK and U.S. Navy officers comprise a small sample of the best and brightest minds our navies have to offer,” said Kim. “They were selected for this initiative because they have each demonstrated strong leadership and initiative and have great potential for future service to our navies and our nations.”
“I am excited for our future and I hope that you are, as well. Katchi Kapshida!”